Buying your freehold

To purchase the freehold of the block from the council:

  • You must be a leaseholder
  • You must have a long lease (21 years or more) and must hold 100% of the equity
  • Two thirds (66%) of the flats in the block must be sold on long leases to qualifying tenants
  • 50% or more of the total number of qualifying tenants in the block must join in the purchase. Where there are only two flats in the block both flats with qualifying tenants must participate.

Do note that a leaseholder will not be a qualifying tenant if they own more than two flats in the block. This will be the case whether they own jointly, with others or in their own name.

Providing the above criteria are met the council can accept the leaseholders' wish to purchase the freehold.

Once the group has bought the freehold, leaseholders can decide how to manage their block and will take over the council's responsibilities.

How to apply

This will involve completing an application form and allowing the council to undertake an inspection and valuation of the flats in the block.

Once this has been done, we will be able to send an offer letter to explain the terms and conditions under which the council will sell the freehold.

It should be noted that if you wish to accept the offer you will need to appoint a solicitor to deal with the legal work on behalf of the leaseholders.

Types of freehold applications

There are two types of freehold applications, voluntary and statutory.

Voluntary application

(Operated under general ministerial consents granted by the government)

Qualification for the voluntary scheme requires all properties in the block to be on long leases and all leaseholders must apply. If these criteria are satisfied, the leaseholders must submit an FH1 voluntary application completed and signed by all leaseholders.

An inspection of all properties will be undertaken and valuation produced by the council's appointed surveyor.

An offer letter will be issued advising of the terms and conditions relating to acceptance or withdrawal.    

Statutory application

(Operated under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993)

If any of the leaseholders do not wish to apply or a council tenant lives within the block, you must submit a statutory form Section 13 notice from the Home Ownership Team.

An inspection of all properties will be undertaken and valuation produced by the council's appointed surveyor. 

The council will reply to your Section 13 notice with a counter notice (Section 21 notice) accepting your terms or putting forward a counter proposal by any given deadline.

The Section 21 notice and any other accompanying documents will advise you of the terms and conditions relating to acceptance or withdrawal.

Frequently asked questions

Can I buy the freehold (enfranchise) of my flat on my own?

No, purchasing the freehold is a collective process and requires both leaseholders if there are only two flats in the block or more than 50% of the leaseholders if there are three flats or more.

Does a company have to be set up?

Not in all cases. The freehold transfer can have no more than four names present on it; if there are more than four leaseholders wishing to apply or have an interest in the freehold title they will need to set up a company.

The leaseholders will need to arrange this themselves as the council has no involvement in this aspect of the transaction. If there are less than four names there is no requirement to set up a company. However the leaseholders can still do this if they wish.

How much will the freehold cost?

We are unable to give a definitive figure in response to this question. Providing you complete a voluntary application an inspection will be carried out and the costs provided in the form of an offer letter.

What are the overall costs?

The overall costs will consist of the agreed figure for the freehold plus the council's legal and valuation costs. You will be advised of the valuation and legal costs, depending on the type of application.

Can I get my own company to do the valuation report?

No, all inspections are carried out by the council's valuation service.

How long will the process take?

There is no realistic time that can be given as there are various factors that will dictate. In the event that an application were to progress without difficulty the application will take approximately three to six months.

What are my options when I receive my offer letter?

You can either accept or decline the offer or the leaseholders may wish to enter into discussions with the valuer.

Can I buy the loft space?

If a leaseholder of the upstairs flat wishes to purchase the loft space, they should contact the relevant Area Housing Team.

Can I extend my lease without purchasing the freehold?

If a leaseholder wishes to extend their lease they should contact the Landlord Services Team on 020 8871 8361.