If you purchase a freehold property you become the sole owner of the property and the land.
This means that you will be responsible for the maintenance and repair of the building but you will not be liable to pay ground rent, service charge, or any other fees that would be associated with a leasehold property.
This does not mean that you can do what you want with the land, or the property. You will still need to seek planning permission from the local authority if you want to build a new property on the land or extend the existing building.
If you buy a flat you may have a shared freehold in which you own the property outright, but still have a joint responsibility with the other flat owners in the building to maintain common areas such as stairways, entranceways, and external areas such as windows and guttering.
Buying a freehold property
When you buy a freehold property you should:
- Check the boundaries of the property
- Find out if there are any disputes with neighbours
- Have a survey carried out
If it is a shared freehold you should check what, if any, repairs have been carried out recently.
What is purchase of leasehold property?
A leasehold means that you have a lease from the freeholder. It is like a long term rental contract. Leases are almost always long term, ranging anywhere from 99 – 999 years. The freeholder (landlord) is responsible for the upkeep of the common areas, (see above), and the leaseholder is usually responsible for the internal upkeep on the property.
Leaseholders often have to pay an annual service charge and a
ground rent. While a leasehold can often be cheaper in the short term, it is usually better to own a freehold property.
One thing is for sure, whether you are buying a leasehold, or a freehold property, it is essential that you instruct an experienced team of solicitors to work on your behalf. Buying a property is a big commitment and you should enter into any transaction fully informed of your long term responsibilities.
For all queries relating to the purchase of buying a freehold property, please contact Kaiser Solicitors for obligation free, no-nonsense advice.