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Can you split a freehold title and what are the benefits?

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Can you split a freehold title and what are the benefits?

If you own the freehold of a building and have split it into a number of flats, you may wish to ‘split the title’ too.

Doing so will create long leases for each of the individual units, so you can increase your profitability and/or sell the flats individually.

But how do you go about this? And how much will it cost? In this article, Leasehold Property Executive Hannah Faith explains everything you need to know.

Can you split a leasehold title?

We often get asked this question, but what you should really be asking is “Can you split a ‘freehold’ title?”. 

And the answer to that question is yes! A freehold title can be split when you grant leases out of a freehold title into separate parts.

Related: Can flat-owners modernise or update their leases if they own their freehold?

What are the benefits of title splitting?

By splitting the freehold title, you can sell each flat with a long lease. Doing so can increase your potential earnings and allow you to recover some of your investment in the building.

If you wish to keep the flats (to rent out, for example), you could potentially raise money against the new long leases, through mortgages.

In this instance you would need to grant the leases to an entity that you control, such as a company, as you cannot grant a lease to yourself.

Related: How do I sell my freehold? A guide to the process involved

Do you need planning permission to split a title?

Yes, you will have to obtain planning permission before splitting any title.

For further advice on this, we’d recommend getting in touch with your local authority’s planning department.

How much does a title split cost? 

The costs involved in title splitting vary depending on your circumstances and the number of leases associated.

At Frettens, we prioritise transparency when it comes to our fees; and aim to price our services fairly. You can call us on 01202 499255, or fill out the form at the top of this page, for a tailored estimate.

How long does it take to split a property title?

Again, this depends on the individual scenario.

It may take longer if, for example, you are creating the new leases as part of a sale as a third-party buyer will likely want to undertake due diligence and enter into long negotiations.

On the other hand, it will take much less time to grant the leases to a company/entity that you have control over.

Can you merge two leasehold titles?

Yes, it’s possible to merge an inferior, shorter leasehold title into a superior, longer leasehold title.  For example, a lease of an individual flat can be merged into the head lease of an entire building if the same party owns them both.

In that instance, the smaller lease would come to an end, which is known as ‘determination’.

If you are aiming to merge two flat leases (i.e. where neither lease is superior to the other) it is not so straight forward. In that instance, instead, you would likely need to surrender both leases and have one, single lease granted in their place.

Related: Can I alter or improve my flat if I co-own the freehold?

How much does it cost to merge titles?

Again, this will depend on your circumstances and the number of leases you wish to merge. We’d be happy to provide a price estimate.

Do I need a solicitor to split or merge a leasehold title?

Although it is possible to split or merge a freehold title without a solicitor, it’s certainly not recommended.

The process involved in splitting or merging a title is very complex and it’s easy to make mistakes if you’re not a legal professional, so it can be crucial to have a qualified solicitor on side.

Specialist Leasehold Property Solicitors

Our bright Leasehold Property department is one of the largest and most experienced in the region. They specialise in multiple areas of leasehold law, and would be happy to assist you in splitting your freehold title.

If you have any questions following this article, or would like to get in touch to discuss your specific circumstances with an expert, you can get in touch on 01202 499255.

We would be happy to assist you with any leasehold property queries and offer a free initial consultation to all new clients.


The content of this article, blog or video is not intended as specific legal advice. For tailored assistance, please contact a member of our team.