Collective enfranchisement—what are qualifying premises

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

  • Collective enfranchisement—what are qualifying premises
  • Exclusions
  • Self-contained meaning
  • Vertical division
  • Independent services
  • Identifying the relevant part of a building
  • Complex composite structures

Collective enfranchisement—what are qualifying premises

Subject to various qualifying criteria, tenants who hold long leases of flats have a collective right under section 1 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (LRHUDA 1993) to buy the freehold of the building containing those flats. LRHUDA 1993, s 3 describes the premises affected by the right and that section is virtually identical to the equivalent provisions in relation to the right to manage (in section 72 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 (CLRA 2002)). Therefore case law on those sections applies equally to both regimes. The right to acquire the freehold applies to premises if:

'(a)     they consist of a self-contained building or part of a building

(b)     they contain two or more flats held by qualifying tenants; and

(c)     the total number of flats held by such tenants is not less than two thirds of the total number of flats contained in the premises'


Parts used for non-residential purposes, and common parts, must not exceed 25% of the internal floor area of the building (taken as a whole).

In Westbrook Dolphin Square v Friends Life, the High Court provided guidance on the meaning of ‘residential purpose’ (though falling short of formulating a test). Useful touchstones were use for sleeping, eating and washing. The concept of ‘home’ or ‘only residence’ was not inherently built into the concept

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