Absentee Freeholder

First Tier Tribunal Property Chamber

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Absentee Freeholder

If you are looking to extend your lease or buy your freehold but the freeholder can not be found, the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 give leaseholders the right to still continue the process of extending their lease or buying the freehold when the freeholder cannot be contacted.

In the first instance it is important to ascertain that the freeholder is absent. This must be done through your solicitor and it must be shown that they have made every effort to make contact with them.

If the solicitor can not make contact they will make a vesting order to the County Court.

Once the County Court have decided that the freeholder is absent you will require an Expert Valuation Report for the First Tier Tribunal as they will decide the cost of the lease extension or the cost of the freehold.

Arnold & Baldwin specialise in providing these valuations either for the lease extension or the purchase of the freehold.

If the freeholder is absent the cost to purchase the freehold could be much less if the leases are less than 80 years and marriage value is applicable. It may be possible to enfranchise under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 and marriage value would not be applicable. The Court would need to grant an Acquisition Order determining that the freeholder was in breach of their repairing, managing, maintaining or insuring obligations to proceed down this route.

First Tier Tribunal

The First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) is the last stage of a lease extension or freehold enfranchisement. It is required when the cost of he terms of the lease extension cannot be agreed between the surveyors and solicitors or if the freeholder is absent.

The Tribunal will make a judgement on the cost of the lease extension or freehold based on the expert reports of the individual parties involved.

At Arnold & Baldwin we have experts with experience of providing expert reports and attending the First Tier Tribunal and have had successful outcomes from the Tribunal's decisions.

FAQ and Jargon Buster question mark Jargon Busting and FAQ's

What is a Vesting Order?

A vesting order is a court order that creates or transfers legal ownership of a property instead of a legal conveyance (the act of transferring an ownership interest in property from one party to another). It is discretionary and results from a finding by a court that fairness demands that the court act in a way to transfer property from one party to another.

What is a First Tier Tribunal?

The First Tier Tribunal is part of the court system in the United Kingdom.

The First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) has 5 regional offices throughout England that deal with settling disputes in relation to leasehold property and the private rented sector.

Tribunal hearings are quite informal, you can state your own case or have a friend or professional speak for you. The tribunal normally sits as a panel of 3 consisting of one legally trained member, one surveyor and one lay (ordinary) person to provide a balanced view.

The panel have control over the court hearing and decide the order in which things are dealt with.

What is a Leasehold?

With a leasehold, you own the property and its land for the length of your lease agreement with the freeholder. When the lease ends, ownership returns to the freeholder unless you can extend the lease. Most flats and maisonettes are leasehold.

What is a Leasehold or Freehold Enfranchisement?

A leasehold or freehold enfranchisement (also known as a collective enfranchisement) is the right for the owners of the flats in a building and sometimes part of a building, to join together and buy the freehold of that building or an extended lease of their premises.

What is Marriage Value?

Marriage value is applicable to leasehold properties. It is the increase in value of the property following the completion of a lease extension or collective enfranchisement, reflecting the increased market value of the longer lease.

What is a Leasehold Acquisition Order?

Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 leaseholders can acquire the freehold of their building where a landlord is in consistent breach of their management obligations over a long period of time.

This is obtained by application to the County Court for a compulsory acquisition order. The right to acquire the freehold via an acquisition order is only given to qualifying tenants - those under a long lease which was originally granted for a term of more than 21 years.

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Professional, efficient surveyors. Get the job done in a timely manner, had our survey back within 5 days of inspection. All team members I spoke with (Tiffany and Billy) were really lovely. Highly recommend. :)


I have only just started working with Stephen and he has already demonstrated the high levels of customer attention and dedication that this company has. The first impression he has caused is such that made me write this review. I have no doubt that the continuous service will be of same level. Looking forward to working further with Stephen. Well done!

Steve Kenny

Lease extension - I found Daniel Grove very professional and had an excellent understanding of all aspects relating to this transaction. Advice was invaluable, and it was nice to come across someone who did exactly what they said they were going to do. Would not hesitate in recommending the firm and Daniel to anyone who has a lease to extend.

Petros Kyrkilis

Amazing job and fully professional treatment. The surveyor went above and beyond to check for everything, when he could have easily claim lack of access. In addition he was more than happy to answer questions over the phone and be there to explain the steps.

Lynn Wilson

Within 48 hours I received my detailed report from Joe Arnold which enabled me to see the property as it was and not through rose-tinted glasses! The report highlighted areas where money might need to be spent and provided guidance on questions for my solicitor - just what I needed. Overall, the survey enabled me to re-assess my offer and in this respect was invaluable. Thank you for a friendly and professional service.

Mark Roberts

100% choose this company. As first time buyers we had a mortgage valuation which said the house was fine. The Arnold & Baldwin survey found over £30,000 of problems. Holes in the roof with daylight visible, damp, woodworm, broken sash windows and poor electrics. This company helped us renegotiate and save a fortune.


Arnold & Baldwin came recommended and I’ve got to say they were brilliant - not just in identifying issues with the property I was looking at but in the way they kept me informed and up to date (ie picking up the phone instead of just posting / emailing communications with you). After dealing with estate agents for so long, it’s nice to have someone who is genuinely on your side.

Kamal Rahman

From my initial interaction with the firm I found them to be prompt, courteous and helpful. I received a detailed Homebuyers report within a week of instructing and was given the opportunity to talk it through with the attending surveyour. Overall excellent service all round, would certainly recommend this firm.

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