Leasehold Conveyancing Solicitors
Our expert conveyancing solicitors are experienced in leasehold transactions and can advise you whether you’re buying or selling a leasehold property.
When you buy a leasehold flat or house, you’re actually buying the right to occupy that property for the fixed term of the lease. You don’t own the land that your property is built on; this remains within the landlord’s ownership.
Despite this, buying a leasehold property is the same as buying a freehold property, with the additional aspects of a lease between you and the landlord.
The lease is a legal contract. It outlines the responsibilities of the landlord to manage, maintain and repair the building structure, common areas and exterior. It also details your obligations as the purchaser, including information relating to payment of ground rent and service charges.
Our leasehold expertise
Our property solicitors can advise on all of the legal issues involved in leasehold property, including:
- Buying and selling leasehold property
- Leasehold extensions
- Right to Manage
- Leasehold enfranchisement
- Landlord and tenant matters
- Leasehold dispute resolution
What is the difference between leasehold and freehold?
Leasehold means that you own the property, but the land on which the property is built is owned by the freeholder. This means that you only have the right to own the property for as long as the lease is valid.
Freehold differs in that the property owner also owns the land on which the property stands. The property owner can be an individual, a management company or a commercially run company.
Buying a leasehold FAQs
As a leasehold flat owner, you own everything within its walls, including the floor and plaster work. You do not own the external or structural walls. These, plus the common areas and the land your property stands on, are owned by the landlord.
Our simple guide to buying leasehold outlines some of point you’ll need to consider when buying a leasehold property.
You can extend your lease using the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 or by private negotiation with your landlord.
Leasehold extension negotiations can be complex, so speak to our specialist property solicitors about your options. We act on behalf of leasehold property owners and landlords.
Leasehold property is a tenancy; therefore it’s subject to the payment of rent (the ‘Ground Rent’). This is a specific requirement of the lease and must be paid on the due date.
Service charges are payments made by the leaseholder to the landlord for services provided, including maintenance and repairs to the property, and building insurance.
Charges normally include a management charge, payable to the landlord or a management agent. They will vary yearly and can be increased without any limit other than that they are ‘reasonable’.
You can find out more about buying a leasehold property in our simple guide to buying leasehold.
If you’re considering buying a leasehold property, it’s important to find out the current and future service charges and whether any major work is planned that may affect it.
Your lease will normally specify that the landlord is responsible for adequately insuring the building. However the landlord may also have the right to recover premiums through service charges.
Typically, leases tend to be between 99 and 125 years. Some extend to 999 years and some can even be as short as 40 years.
Think carefully if the lease is shorter, i.e. less than 80 years. It can affect the value of a property and how mortgage lenders look at it.
Ideally, the lease will be longer, i.e. 90 years or more.
Seek legal advice from a specialist leasehold solicitor to talk through your options.
A leasehold pack contains information about the freehold management, ground rent and any service charges. It forms part of the formal leasehold enquiries that a seller needs to provide to the buyer.
Leasehold covenants are ‘promises’ made between a landlord and tenant.
It states the responsibilities placed on a landlord or tenant. Landlords have the right to request that a tenant fulfils their responsibilities written in the covenant and vice versa.
There are two types of covenants: expressed and implied.
Expressed covenants are directly expressed and written into the tenancy agreement, i.e. maintenance of outdoor space.
Implied covenants are promises between a landlord and tenant that do not have to appear in the tenancy agreement, i.e. the tenant’s right to enjoy their space without interference from the landlord.
When a leasehold expires, the property will revert ‘back’ to being a freehold instead of a leasehold. Ownership of the building and its land will go back to the freeholder.
Even if you have paid off your mortgage on a leasehold, if the lease expires, the property’s ownership reverts to your landlord (freeholder).
Contact our leasehold solicitors today
For a free quote, complete our short form. Our charges are transparent and our leasehold solicitors quote for all fees and disbursements up front, meaning that you’ll understand the full extent of your conveyancing charges from the very start.