Can a neighbour grab my freehold?

Our lawyer, Fiona McNulty, clarifies the position of a leaseholder who is being cut out of the freehold purchase by other tenants through a collective enfranchisement
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Freehold purchase cartoon
© Merrily Harpur

Question: I own one of three leasehold flats in a converted building, each lease having 90 years left and owning an equal share of the freehold. Two leaseholders want to purchase the freehold by collective enfranchisement, cutting me out. I have been offered payment for my share of the freehold, or a new 999-year lease.

I am unhappy with the new lease. Can I insist on being part of the process? If not, can they force me to change my lease?

Answer: If both of the other leaseholders are taking part in the collective enfranchisement, then they are likely to be able to proceed without having to invite you to take part. Compensation will be payable for the loss of the freehold and a specialist valuer will be able to tell you how much this compensation should be.

The terms of your lease cannot be changed unless you agree. It is possible to apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to vary the terms of a lease, especially if it fails to make proper provision for repair and maintenance of the flat or building, or for recovery of expenditure.

Take legal advice on the terms of your lease to see whether the proposed changes are something that could potentially be forced on you. If you agree compensation, then you can apply to the new freehold company for an extended lease at any time. You would have to pay for a new lease, and the cost would go up substantially when your lease has less than 80 years to run.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the property team at Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons Solicitors

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