Leasehold Properties

There are three types of ownership of property - freehold, leasehold and commonhold:

  • Houses are usually (but not always) freehold. This means that you own both the property, and the land on which it is built, for an unlimited period of time.
  • Flats and maisonettes are usually (but not always) leasehold. This means that you own the property for a fixed period of time, and you do not own the land on which it is built.
  • Commonhold is less common. It is designed to provide ownership of flats for an unlimited period of time, and to make provisions for the collective maintenance of the common parts of a shared building.

Your conveyancer needs to do extra legal work if you are buying a leasehold property. The lease is the legal document which sets out the rights and duties of both you (the leaseholder), and the landlord of the building (the freeholder). The lease will specify the number of years you are entitled to own the property. In most cases, a lease would start off lasting for 99 or 125 years (as high as 999 years), but its length and value will decrease over time. You may have trouble getting a mortgage on a property where the lease has less than 60 years left to run. However, you may be able to buy a new lease (at a cost), which adds more years to the time left running on the existing lease.

Your conveyancer will check the details of the lease on the property including:

  • the length of time the lease has left to run;
  • the ground rent you will have to pay the landlord or freeholder, and any management fee or service charge (to cover repairs and maintenance of shared parts) you will have to pay;
  • who is responsible for maintaining the shared areas of the building and whether that responsibility is shared in a fair way; and
  • if there is likely to be any major work which you may have to pay towards, for example re-roofing or painting the outside of the building.

If you are a leaseholder of a flat in a block, you and the other leaseholders in the block can buy the freehold of the building if you meet certain conditions. This is known as the right to 'enfranchise' and leaseholders have this right even if the freeholder does not want to sell.



ANA Mortgages is a trading style of A.N.A. Associated Ltd which is an appointed representative of Ingard Financial Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (450731).

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