Right of First Refusal

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Right of First Refusal

What is the Right of First Refusal?

If the freeholder wants to sell the freehold for a building containing flats they must legally offer any qualifying leaseholders the first chance to buy it. It is a criminal offence if the freeholder does not comply and there are also implications for a buyer of the freehold.


In order for the right of first refusal to have arisen there are certain requirements that the leaseholder and the building itself need to adhere to:

  • The building must contain a minimum of two flats
  • The building must be at least 50% residential
  • More than half of the flats should be owned by eligible leaseholders
  • More than 50% of the qualifying leaseholders must accept the Right of First Refusal


Once it is established that the Right of First Refusal exists the landlord is required to serve a notice on the leaseholders setting out what he is intending to dispose of and offering it to the leaseholders first.  The notices differ depending on how the freehold is being disposed of (e.g. auction or for non-monetary consideration).

If the requisite majority of qualifying tenants wish to accept the notice they need to so with within the offer period.  They have a further two months to notify the landlord as to who the nominated purchaser will be.  There is then a further period within which the landlord is to be provide a Contract.

If the leaseholders do not wish to accept the offer the landlord is free to dispose of his interest on the same terms during a period of 12 months.

Advantages of owning the freehold to the building

Owning the freehold of a building allows you, as a leaseholder, to choose your own contractors such as managing agents, builders, cleaners, maintenance staff and so on. If you want to extend your lease, then all you have to pay are the legal fees if you own the freehold too. It also means you can shop around for the best deals on insurance and generally have a lot more control over the building.

Why choose Birchall Blackburn Law?

  • We are an established firm with offices across the North West in Chester, Chorley, Leyland, Manchester, Morecambe, Preston and Southport
  • We offer an initial no obligation consultation with one of our experts so we can take into account your individual circumstances
  • We cut out the legal jargon and keep you up to date with the progression of your freehold purchase
  • We have a specialist team of experienced and knowledgeable property Solicitors
  • Our Leasehold Enfranchisement team have experience of dealing with Right of First Refusal cases acting for both landlords and tenants.

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