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104 PROPERTY VIEW By Richard Blake of Winkworth Dartmouth I


THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEASEHOLD AND FREEHOLD TENURES upkeep or management of the estate. But this does not apply in all cases.


am always being asked what are the differences between leasehold and freehold tenure and, although you should


always take advice from a solicitor, the basic differences are explained here. In England and Wales, property is owned on either a freehold, leasehold or commonhold basis. 1. FREEHOLD - Freehold is ownership that lasts forever and generally gives extensive control of the property. 2. COMMONHOLD - Commonhold allows freehold own- ership of individual flats, houses and non-residential units within a building or an estate. Ownership is not limited by time like a lease. A commonhold association made up of the flat or unit-holders own and manage the rest of the building or estate through the commonhold. 3. LEASEHOLD - Leasehold provides time-limited owner- ship and control of the property is shared with, and limited by, the freehold owner. Flats are typically bought and sold on a leasehold, as opposed to freehold, basis. This is because historically, obligations that require financial action (such as to repair a wall or a roof) cannot legally be passed to future owners of freehold property. These obligations are especially important for the effective management of blocks of flats. Leasehold ownership is not limited to flats however, and in recent years has become popular among new build housing developments. The reasons for selling houses on a leasehold basis are less clear than those for leasehold flats. It could be that obligations need to be placed on house owners for the


3a. LENGTH OF THE LEASE - The Leasehold Title will say how long a lease is left on the property. 3b. SERVICE CHARGES - They are charges payable by the leaseholder to the landlord for the services the landlord is obliged to provide under the terms of the lease. They will be a variable amount from year to year depending on the costs the landlord incurs. They can include maintenance and repair, and sometimes improvements to the property. The lease will outline the full details of service charges payable. The lease will state when the service charge is due and is often payable annually, or in some cases, every six months. 3c. GROUND RENT - Because a leasehold is a tenancy, it is subject to the payment of a rent to the freeholder or landlord for renting the land that the leasehold property is on. The amount of ground rent payable is set out in the lease and is normally paid annually. A lease will also include ground rent review clauses setting out how often and the rate or amount by which ground rent can increase. 3d. SINKING FUND - Sinking Funds exist to build up a fund


to pay for future larger scale works, such as repainting/ redecorating the whole building or replacing window frames. This means leaseholders will not face such a large one-off bill when the work becomes necessary.


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