A freehold, in basic terms, is the ownership of a plot of land and any building which stands on this site. As it is owned, it is also transferable and so it’s common for people to pass freeholds on to loved ones as part of their estate when they pass away.
As such, many people find themselves inheriting a freehold and typically the first thing they want to know is: Can I sell it?
What have I actually inherited?
Before we answer if you can sell it, it’s essential that you understand what it is that you have actually inherited. A transferable freehold is an immobile entity (land and/or property) and with no time limit assigned to ownership – essentially, it’s yours until you decide otherwise.
Most residential freehold properties are houses which have been converted into flats, so depending on the size of the property, you could preside over several separate units. It’s not just the freehold you’ve inherited, of course, but the leaseholders who live in those flats, too.
To answer the original question: yes, you can sell your freehold, but you need to bear the leaseholders in mind when you do so, as we’ll explain now.
How can I sell my freehold?
In order to sell an inherited freehold that has two or more flats, you’ll need to issue notice to the leaseholders. This is a legal obligation, as the lessees have what’s known as the Right of First Refusal (RFR) – they should be offered the chance to buy their leases before the building goes on general sale. We provide a RFR service that offers a cheaper, quicker alternative to instructing a solicitor.
The leaseholders are given a two-month period in which to respond. If they’ve declined the offer, then the freehold can go onto the market and it’s a case of waiting for an investor to come along. There’s no guarantee how long this might take, so if you’re hoping for a quick sale, you might want to consider an alternate option.
Is there any easier way?
Yes, there is. Rather than going to the market and waiting around for a buyer, Freehold Sale can buy the freehold from you.
After the sellers have supplied us with some basic details (address, number of leaseholders, ground rent payable by each flat and the terms of each lease), we will determine the value of the freehold and make you an offer within 24 hours. We will arrange with our legal representatives for the RFR documents to be issued to your leaseholders and should they decline, we will progress with the sale.
Typically, the sale can be completed within four weeks of receiving a contract from your solicitor – meaning you could have the funds in your back account far sooner.