Leasehold enfranchisement, also known as collective enfranchisement, is a joint process by which a group of flat owners purchase the shared freehold of a building.
There are various names for this process:
- Leasehold enfranchisement
- Collective enfranchisement
- Freehold purchase
- Buying share of freehold
In a block of flats the freeholder owns the whole building and the land it stands on outright forever i.e. they own the ‘title absolute’ in perpetuity.
The leasehold flat owners have bought the right to occupy their flat for a certain period of time. The freeholder has a superior interest in the flat for a longer period of time, and at the end of the lease the property reverts to the freeholder.
Leaseholders pay maintenance fees, ground rent, service charges and buildings insurance, as well as having limited control over the management of their property.
Leasehold enfranchisement is when a group of leaseholders club together in a joint process to purchase the freehold of the entire block from the landlord.
It is not possible to buy only your flat individually because the whole building must be purchased. It is therefore a collective process, giving you a share of the freehold.