Avoiding endless service charge disputes during freehold purchase

Organising the collective enfranchisement process in order to purchase the freehold on your block of flats can be both an exciting and draining time, with the amount of work required to succeed often seeming quite daunting. However, there are some things which should be avoided in order to help the process to run much more smoothly and efficiently.

One of the most draining aspects of the freehold acquisition process can be the ongoing service charge disputes. Often, residents’ associations can be affected by tunnel vision which stops them from seeing the bigger picture in the purchase of the freehold. Naturally, residents will be unhappy about what they see as unreasonable service charges but it is vital that these concerns are put to bed so that the process of collective enfranchisement can continue successfully. Engaging in endless fights with your freeholder over service charge disputes may well lengthen the whole process and lead the residents’ association into an ongoing battle which may never end.

Legal advisors and solicitors experienced in collective enfranchisement will be able to explain that residents’ associations that continue to run around in circles chasing service charge disputes with claims and counter claims will hardly ever be successful in their efforts to purchase the freehold on their block of flats. Largely speaking, this is a waste of energy which can be better focused on the greater good of collective enfranchisement. Remaining focused on the final goal is vital to ensuring the success of the process and is particularly important when working with residents’ associations or large groups of people as the focus can often be easily lost, making the whole process much more bloated and inefficient than it needs to be.

It is worth noting that if you are about to exercise your right to buy the freehold of your block and aren’t aware of any service charge disputes, you may well come across some during the process. As part of buying the freehold, the leaseholders must pay to the freeholder any unpaid and outstanding service charges-because they are buying the whole legal entity of the building including its assets and liabilities. It is vital, then, that the cash flow process is carefully managed in order to ensure that the funds are available for the service charges at the end of the process and that these charges are expected and anticipated properly.

It should be agreed in writing at the start of the process that the residents’ association will not pursue service charge disputes during the process and that each participant in the freehold purchase process will be responsible for his or her service charges. It should be stated that the aim of the residents’ association is solely to ensure the collective enfranchisement and not to waste time on pursuing other, smaller goals. It can be difficult for all residents to agree to this as they will naturally want to pursue what they see as unfair charges, but as long as everything is laid out clearly in writing before the process begins, it will ensure that the whole process runs much more smoothly than it otherwise might do.

When organising a group of people around a lengthy legal process like freehold purchase, trying to get the right advice across can be challenging and difficult. It is for this reason that hiring a solicitor specialising in freehold purchase work might well save you a lot of money in the long run as well as a lot of hassle. By consulting an experienced solicitor you will ensure that your residents’ association has all of the relevant information to hand and can take advantage of the advice that your solicitor can offer through their experience of the process with other residents’ associations.

Thinking of Freehold Purchase? Contact us today

Acquiring the Freehold of your block can prove really complex and you are going to need really good legal advice. Our specialist teams can help you wherever you live. Contact our solicitors today for a FREE first phone consultation on  your Freehold Purchase;

  • Call us on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544
  • Or use the contact form below

Gain Greater Security With the Acquisition of Your Freehold

The one place you want to feel safe and at home in is of course your home. Many people who own their own homes – a house perhaps, or a bungalow – get this feeling every time they walk through the front door and close it behind them – because houses are usually owned outright – on a freehold basis. But if you happen to own a flat under a leasehold agreement, you may feel slightly differently about it.

When you buy a flat with a lease you are, in effect, simply buying the right to stay in the flat for a set length of time at most. So in essence your purchase is somewhere between renting a property and owning it outright. Even when you have paid your mortgage off you won’t own the flat – you will still lease it. If the lease happens to be quite short by this time, you will probably feel insecure as to what the future may hold.

Acquisition of Your Freehold – the benefits

You can see then how beneficial it can be to think about buying the freehold to your flat. You cannot do this alone but if enough other people in your block of flats are interested in freehold acquisition as well, you should definitely consider it, especially if you and/or the other leaseholders have a short lease. Buying your freehold [or freehold enfranchisement as tenants clubbing together to buy the freehold jointly is also known] does give you more benefits with regard to your security.

It is not just the fact that you don’t have to worry about the length of the lease when you opt to purchase the freehold of your block. You also have the advantage of knowing you have more options should you ever decide to sell your flat. If you look to sell the flat in the future, you will doubtless find it easier to sell if you have a freehold to offer rather than if you just own a lease. Share of freehold properties are more attractive to prospective buyers. This is particularly true if the lease on the flat has been considerably shortened by the time you try to sell, as many seller’s with a short lease experience difficulty selling the flat due to mortgage lenders being unwilling to lend on short leases. As such, the flat may have become impossible to mortgage and, hence, unsaleable.

A freehold acquisition is seen as being far more valuable to the flat owner. The share in the freehold can be transferred to the buyer on completion of the sale. People are generally willing to pay more for the freehold to a property than they will for a comparable property that only has a leasehold interest. This is another fact in favour of the security that such an agreement offers.

If you can meet the legal requirements needed to exercise your right to buy your freehold, it is certainly something you should give serious consideration to. You will understand why it offers more in the way of security both now and in the future.

Considering Freehold Acquisition? Contact our specialists today

Buying the Freehold of your block of flats can prove complex. You are going to need specialist legal advice. Our expert team can help you wherever you live. Contact our solicitors today for a FREE first phone consultation on your Freehold Acquisition;

  • Call us on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544
  • Or use the contact form below