Freehold & Leasehold Explained

When choosing a property for development you should establish whether it's freehold, leasehold or commonhold. But what's the difference?

By Sarah Jagger

modern-detached. What Is Freehold?

What Is 'Freehold'?

The majority of houses in the UK are freehold. This means that the owner of the freehold - or freeholder - owns both the property and the land on which the property stands outright. The freeholder is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the property.

What Can You Do With A Freehold Property?

'With a freehold property you can do what you wish to and within the building subject to local planning regulations,' says Anthony Essien, chief executive of The Leasehold Advisory Service.

'You also have to watch out for influences that will restrict the extent of your developing - for instance the property may be listed or within a Conservation Area.'

The English Heritage website has more information about listed buildings at and Conservation Areas.

With new builds, you may have to seek permission from the original developer if you intend to make any changes to the structure of the property. This will be contained in something known as a Restrictive Covenant and your conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer should let you know who you need to discuss this with.

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