What are the costs involved in enfranchising? Well, they are based on various factors including the amount and the level of ground rents, or the length of the unexpired terms of the leases. It's particularly important to bear in mind that if any of the participating flats have leases of less than 80 years unexpired it will be necessary to pay a 'marriage value'. This is the reason why it's better to press on with enfranchisement sooner rather than later. You will also have to pay the landlord's costs and there may be payments in respect of the conveyance like Land Registry fees and incidental searches. Good news is that there is no longer any Stamp Duty Land Tax for collective enfranchisement purchases.

Do I need a formal valuation when enfranchising? Not entirely necessary but it would be helpful. The notice which is served on the freeholder must include the anticipated purchase price, be careful however as a price which is unrealistic could invalidate the notice. More probably than not, the freeholder will employ a specialist valuer, so it makes sense that the tenants have a valuer to negotiate on their behalf. Not many surveyors specialise in enfranchisement, so make sure you look for the right one, qualified in this area.

How much time will the process take? It will most likely take 2-3 months in order for you and your fellow tenants to get organised, this involves getting legal advice and a valuation. From the service of the notice to the landlord the time scale can go from a few months if everything runs smoothly, to 18 months if the freeholder disputes the claim and you need the services of a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.

How do I 'get organised'? The normal process is for a residents committee to be formed and for one or two of the key people to drive the matter forward. As opinions of other tenants must be taken in account, it's a good idea to invite a solicitor to attend a meeting of the committee. He or she will answer questions, explain what is involved and advise. Check that the solicitor is an experienced enfranchisement lawyer.

Don't feel timid about getting everyone strictly organised; whoever is the 'leader' of the tenant team, needs to be firm and professional. Any records should be kept updated and the members of the scheme kept involved and working to an organised schedule. It is often quoted that for this kind of process to run smoothly it should be operated like a military campaign. So get everyone together and go for success!

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