There are 2 types of ownership to consider when buying a property: freehold and leasehold.
Freehold means that you own the building and the land it is built on, lock, stock and barrel. If anything goes wrong, it’s down to you to fix it. Subsidence? Your responsibility. A fracking site has set up just down the road? Up to you to deal with it. The benefits of course are that no one can ask you to leave, no one has the right to be on your property without your say so, and you aren’t at the mercy of a landlord who may not take care of the building or may unfairly raise the ground rent.
Leasehold properties are most commonly flats within a larger building, though some houses are also leasehold. This means that you pay a service charge and ground rent to a landlord or managing agent who maintains the overall building. If the roof starts to let in water, it’s up to your landlord to repair it.
There are downsides to being a leaseholder: your landlord may put restrictions on your property such as noise levels and pet ownership, they may not keep the building maintained or could raise service charges unfairly. It’s also difficult to get a mortgage company to lend on a leasehold with less than 80 years left. And if you took on a home with a short leasehold, 40 years for example, at the end of that time the home reverts to the landlord and you get nothing for it.
Our mortgage solicitor in London can advise you on buying the freehold for your property. You can, at any time, ask your landlord to sell you the freehold. You may wish to do this individually, or you could look to set up a company with the other leaseholders in your building. This company becomes the managing agency that is responsible for maintaining the common areas of the property.
There are many specifics to work through if you decide to go down this route and professional advice is a must. Talk to our mortgage solicitor in London about buying your freehold.