Basics of Leasehold

In the wake of the leasehold issues coming to the surface in the recent years and intensifying over the past few months, every leaseholder should be looking for good leasehold advice.

To know what to look for though, especially if you will be paying for the advice, one needs to know some basics to start understanding the situation better so they can make an educated decision whether it is on a new contract or an existing issue.

What is leasehold?

As basic as it gets, we need to first understand what leasehold is.
In its core, a leasehold ownership is not precisely ‘ownership’; it is more of a long term tenancy.
Your leasehold contract is giving you the right to occupy the contracted house and land for the period of time the contract covers.

While a leaseholder has the right to extend the term on the contract, it is perhaps one of the mandatory leasehold advice to remember that it is still a tenant to landlord relationship.

Inside a Lease.

The lease sets the rights and obligations of both contracting parties.
The leaseholder would be signing on to paying rent for the grounds on time, services and maintenance charges and usually, some extra conditions set by the developer or owner as to the term of occupying the house or flat.

As the leaseholder only owns the inside of the leased property, this means that all the outside of it, land it is on, and any structural part of the property is owned by the landlord or freeholder.
Therefore, the freeholder is responsible for the maintenance and restoration of the house or building from the fees paid by the leaseholder.

Other Rights of a Leaseholder

As long as the leaseholder is keeping up their end of the contract, there are some rights that are the backbone to any leasehold advice.

  • Extending a lease - it is always rightful for a leaseholder to demand an extension of the contract.

  • First refusal – especially for flats, in most cases a freeholder is required to offer the leaseholder a share of the ground ownership if they wish to sell.

  • Consultation – in case of any work being done to the property by the freeholder that exceeds £250, the leaseholder must be properly consulted first.