Council or housing association as freeholder

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    Council or housing association as freeholder

    Hi all,

    I do not have any appetite to buy ex-local stock and look to buy period property in London.

    This is personal preference (lots of ex local supply and prefer victorian stock in a period property with 2-3 flats in the block).

    Recently I have been looking at leasehold flats in Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth and have viewed some flats which look private but have found out the freeholder is the council or a housing association.

    If I was to buy one of these are there any rights I am not entitled to under the landlord and tenant act?

    EG, can I still enfranchise and buy a share in the freehold? Do I still get the statutory right after 2 years to extend the lease? Are there any red flags or value deterrents I should be aware of with having the council as the freeholder in a victorian period propertY.

    I had always thought these properties were private. It is a bit counterintuitive paying a premium for a period property over an ex-la if the freeholder is the council and the other tenants are not private.

    Please let me know any differences in my rights as long leasehold tenant if I was to buy a leasehold flat with the council as . a freeholder versus a normal leasehold with an individual freeholder.

    Leasehold property is problematical.
    Leasehold property with the council as freeholder should be avoided at all costs. You will get fleeced.


      I do not know. I trust you will be using a solicitor and I would ask him/her to have the questions answered. Then you will have the security of an answer from a person you can identify and go back to.
      I have found forums very helpful but if making a major decision you need to have professionally qualified opinion. Ask to see the lease, there may be answers there.
      I know to my cost leasehold may be problematic, depending on people. Freehold may give problems, depending on people.
      Good Luck.


        Social landlords are excluded from some housing legislation. I don't think that they are excluded from the one you specifically mentioned, but there is no guarantee of enfranchisement in the private sector, and may reports of enfranchisement that has gone wrong because the leaseholders are unable or unwilling to manage properly.

        The big risks tend to be with service charges. Such properties tend to allow improvements on the service charges, and I think cases of satellite TV systems being objected to by leaseholders have gone to You and Yours. They will do the improvements they want for their social tenants. Also they tend not have reserve funds, and tend not to consider leaseholder personal cash flow in scheduling expensive works.

        They tend to use long term qualifying agreement and some people allege these are often corrupt.


          Reading leaseholder64 answer I would walk away. No need to take on additional potential problems.


            I am not too concerned about the potential extra maintenance costs as it is a victorian period property with 2 flats. One on ground and the one i am looking at is on the first floor so I am generally comfortable there should be any major costs that may arise as could do in a bigger multistory council block

            Key worry I have is whether I may not be covered under the same rules relating to extending my lease or buying a share in the freehold given the freeholder is a council.

            Are the rules around enfranchisement or extending my lease that protects the freeholder when they are a council?


              This guide to enfranchisement may help you. .



                The building I am looking at buying a leasehold interest in is in SE1 in London within Southwark council.

                It is a victorian building with 2 flats in total.

                Southwark council owns the freehold and the leasehold interest of the flat on the 1st floor let to a council tenant.


                I understand that there can be many issues with buying a leasehold flat in a big concrete block but am I really at a disadvantage of buying a leasehold interest here relative to another flat where the freeholder is a private individual? I am just trying to ascertain potential risks so I can make the appropriate decision. I am trying to understand how I could get fleeced here as outlined above.


                  If only 2 flats in the building, one flat alone has no right to buy the freehold.


                    Will I have the same statutory right to extend after 2 years like another leaseholder regardless of the fact that the freeholder is the council?

                    Does it matter if you are a non-resident landlord? Can you extend your lease after 2 years if you are based overseas?


                      What is everyones thoughts on peabody estates as a freeholder?

                      I have been told they are pretty good and are not out there to rort leaseholder. Anyone had any experience?


                        I have found myself in a similar situation of buying from a housing association except for it’s an Edwardian property with two flats and I’m buying the ground floor flat.

                        My understanding is that it might actually be an easier and less costly process to extend lease after 2 years if the freeholder is a housing association or a council.

                        But I wonder if anyone has had any experience with housing associations when it comes to gaining permission for alterations or improvement works. The property I’m buying is a lovely and spacious one with period features, but it does require significant improvement, specifically damp proof course treatment. I also would like to build an extension to the back.

                        While the leasehold agreement contains the standard wording that permission is not to be unreasonably withheld, I wonder if anyone has had any experience dealing with housing association when it comes their willingness to grant those and the timelines involved.

                        The flat clearly has damp issues and I’m prepared to invest to address them, but am really concerned that the freeholder, housing association, would for some reason be an obstacle in me carrying it out.

                        I have to say that they’re taking a lot of time to respond to my solicitors’ queries, which doesn’t reflect well on their efficiency. I don’t mind having to wait a little bit longer, but my patience has limits to a certain point only.

                        I wonder if anyone has had experiences with similar situation to mine when dealing with a housing association vs a private freeholder.


                          Ewa keen to hear your experiences.

                          How can you determine if the landlord is a charitable housing trust if the flat is provided as part of the charity’s work.

                          According to the legislation (my interpretation) if the landlord meets the above the leaseholder is not a qualifying tenant and does not have a stautory right to extend the lease after 2 years of ownership.

                          The government lease website states

                          You cannot extend your lease if:
                          • the landlord is a charitable housing trust and the flat is provided as part of the charity’s functions;
                          • if the building is within a cathedral precinct;
                          • if the property is owned by The National Trust.

                          How is it determined if the Landlord is charitable housing trust and flat provided as part of charity’s functions?

                          If the Freeholder is the below entity would that mean the tenant on a long lease would not be a qualifying tenant not able to extend the lease?

                          PEABODY TRUST (a Registered Society under the Cooperative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 with number 7741)




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