Lease vs Freehold: Do you know the Difference?

When it comes to buying a property in the UK, there is usually two main ownership status. These are Freehold and Leasehold. Buying a property with the right tenure is especially important, as what may initially look like a good deal, could end up being a hindrance later down the line.

What do we mean by that? Sometimes buyers are not aware that there is a difference in the tenure of a property when they make an offer, this could be due to lack of research or the estate agent has not advised them of the differences in tenure. To explore the difference, we will explore freehold and leasehold in a little more detail 

Freehold

This means that the land and building on it is owned by the freeholder, and your name will be listed in the land registry, as having Title Absolute, which effectively means you do not have to pay for things like ground rent.

As the freeholder, it will be your sole responsibility to keep the house and land in check, such as maintenance as needed.

Leasehold

This means that you are leasing the house and land for 40 or more years from a freeholder. There is usually a contractual agreement in place between the freeholder and leaseholder. The agreement outlines the responsibilities and obligations of both parties. Below are some typical examples:

  • The freeholder maintains common areas of the building.
  • The leaseholder will pay maintenance fees, annual service charges to the freeholder
  • The leaseholder will pay a portion of the building’s insurance.
  • Ground Rent
  • Major Works – the freeholder will need to give their consent to do major work.

If the leaseholder fails to meet their obligations and responsibilities to the freeholder then this could result in forfeiting of the lease.

Further, there may also be some implications for a short leased property, as well as an extended lease.

Another thing to bear in mind is that some new build homes could be leasehold, and the property developer the freeholder, and ground rents, and maintenance could be payable. If you are thinking of buying a new build it is worth looking at the tenure offered.

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