In English property law there are two main estates in land, Leasehold and Freehold. Many people are confused as to the distinction between the two and worry that if they are buying a Leasehold property that their rights are somehow less than that if they were buying a Freehold property.
When you buy a Freehold you purchase that property outright, in other words nobody except yourself has any rights to occupy or make use of that land. That property is yours forever, well, until your death at least when it will pass to whomever will inherit your estate.
With Leasehold property you are buying the land/property for a period of time, now that may be a very long period of time, up to 999 years for example. Again you would own the property for as long as you wanted and could pass it on to whomever you wanted through your will. At the end of the 999 years you or your heirs would have exhausted your ownership and would pass the property back to the Landlord.
Your rights in the property for that period of time are broadly the same as that if you purchased a Freehold. The only caveat to this is that the lease may impose a greater number of restrictive covenants on you than you would find on a freehold property. These would be imposed to make sure that if buying say in a block of flats that you don’t do anything which would annoy your neighbours or affect the common areas of the block.
For more information on buying property then please contact our experienced property team on 0116 2665394.
Rebecca Gunn specialises in Employment law, Commercial Property & Residential Property and is a solicitor in our Leicester office.
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