Many leaseholders find themselves in a position of wanting or needing a lease extension or wishing to exercise their right to Collective Enfranchisement, but they do not have any contact with the landlord.
The procedures for both these claims require a claim notice to be served upon the landlord. If the landlord is missing and/or no address is known then a claim notice cannot be served.
The Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 contains a no fault based procedure for dealing with such claims were the landlord is missing. This procedure requires the involvement of the county court and the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
Not so well known, is the procedure to acquire the freehold of a building pursuant to the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. This fault based procedure, allows leaseholders to apply collectively to the court in limited circumstances (usually where the landlord is in breach of covenant – for example where the landlord has failed to repair the building or has demanded unreasonable service charges BUT ALSO where a Statutory Manager has been in place for a period of at least 2 years) to acquire the freehold.
The benefit of using the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, is that the premium payable for the freehold is a market premium as opposed to an enfranchisement premium (which is the premium payable pursuant to the 1993 Act referred to above). Marriage value is not payable in a 1987 Act premium which usually means the premium is significantly less than a 1993 Act premium.
There are strict qualification criteria in respect of all procedures.
Our award winning Leasehold Enfranchisement team have the specialist knowledge, expertise and experience to advise you in respect of claims involving missing landlords. They can assist you in determining whether you and your building qualify, guide you through the procedure and likely costs involved in more detail and of course act for you in connection with the claim itself.