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Buying the freehold

If a group of leaseholders and the building where their flats are situated meet certain conditions, they have the right to purchase the freehold of their building together. This is known as ‘enfranchisement’.

To buy the freehold of your building, there must be two or more flats in the building and at least two-thirds of all the flats in the building must be owned by qualifying tenants.

For example, if there are four flats in the building, at least three must be owned by leaseholders who are qualifying tenants.

If there are only two flats in the building, both flats must be owned by ‘qualifying tenants’.

Qualifying tenants

A qualifying tenant owns a long lease.

If you were first granted your lease under Right to Buy, you will be a qualifying tenant. You do not need to be the original Right to Buy purchaser.

However, you are not a qualifying tenant if you own more than two of the flats in the building or if you have sublet your flat on a long lease (over 21 years).

If your building doesn't qualify, you can still apply to extend your own lease.

Council-owned flats

If there are any flats in the building still owned by the council, the new freeholder has to lease the flats back to the council. This will protect the rights of any council tenants who live in the building.

If you are thinking of buying the freehold with the other leaseholders in the building, we strongly advise you discuss how you plan to manage the building, arrange buildings insurance, organise repairs and other related matters.

Find out if your building qualifies

We can give you informal advice on whether your building qualifies, and also a general idea of the price based on previous sales. However, we cannot tell you exactly what you would have to pay.

Further information can be obtained by contacting the Sales Team in Home Ownership on 020 7527 7705.

Serve a legal notice

To start the formal process of buying the freehold of your building, you must serve a legal notice, called an ‘initial notice’.

Once you have given us the notice, you will have to pay our costs even if you do not go on to buy the freehold.

The notice must include the following:

  • details of the property that you want to buy, including a plan
  • a statement that the building qualifies
  • names and addresses of all the qualifying tenants and details of their leases
  • name and address of the buyer
  • price you propose to pay.

We recommend that you get professional legal and valuation advice to make sure the notice is valid.

Council response

You must give us at least two months from the date of serving the notice to respond.

We will serve a 'counter notice' that could:

  • say if we accept your proposals
  • add other conditions
  • disagree that you have the right to purchase the freehold.


Negotiations happen after the council response. If after certain time limits there is no agreement, either side can apply to the First Tier Tribunal who will make a decision that will be binding on both parties.

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act has been passed into law and will come into force on 24 July 2024 but not all provisions of the Act will be implemented immediately. The full text of the Act is not yet available, but it is understood that several provisions including valuation rates to arrive at the price for an extension will require separate consultations and secondary legislation, which is likely to be done in stages. The council will update this page once the Act has been published and it has had time to consider the relevant changes.

Leaseholder reforms become law (GOV.UK)
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