Collective enfranchisement—the counter notice
Collective enfranchisement—the counter notice

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Collective enfranchisement—the counter notice
  • Failure to serve a counter-notice
  • Terms agreed
  • Deemed withdrawal of initial notice

The landlord must serve their counter-notice by the date specified in the initial notice. The counter-notice must:

  1. admit the participating tenants' right to acquire the freehold and accept the terms set out in the initial notice, or propose alternative terms

  2. deny, and give written reasons for denying, the participating tenants' right to acquire the freehold (the matter will then need to be determined by the county court), or

  3. neither admit nor deny entitlement, but state that an application is to be made to court for an order that the right to enfranchise cannot be exercised on the grounds the landlord intends to redevelop the whole or a substantial part of the premises

In Cowthorpe, relating to a collective enfranchisement claim, the County Court held that a landlord’s counter-notice (and obiter the tenant’s initial notice) must be a paper document and that a copy, rather than the original, does not suffice. Consequently, service of the notice by email did not satisfy the requirement of being ‘in writing’ as required by LRHUDA 1993, s 99. The County Court is not a court of record and so the case may not be of significant precedent value. Nevertheless, it is indicative of the court’s approach and best practice must therefore be to serve a hard copy notice.

The landlord can refuse to sell the freehold if he