A guide to buying a leasehold property

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]When buying a leasehold property, it’s essential to be completely up-to-date with the law and know your rights and responsibilities.

What is a leasehold property?

Buying a leasehold property means you’re not quite a renter but you’re not quite a homeowner in the usual sense. You buy a property and own it for a fixed, agreed upon period of time. Leaseholders buy their properties from landlords, or ‘freeholders’. Flats are usually leasehold properties, and houses can also be, including when they’re purchased through a shared ownership scheme.

Leaseholding requires a legal agreement with a freeholder, whereby you’ll agree upon how many years you’ll own the property for and sign a ‘lease’. You can also request to extend your lease – up to 50 years for a house or 90 years for a flat – but these requests do come at a cost.

What you can and can’t do: rights

Before you buy your leasehold property, it’s important to iron out the finer details and make sure you know what rights you have.

There are big, sensible reasons for buying houses, such as investment, the chance to get a foot on the property ladder, and credit. However, the main things people want their space are often far less monumental. Being able to change the look of your house, own a pet, refresh the decor or add white goods; these little things add to a homeowner’s day to day quality of life. With a leasehold property, these aren’t guaranteed, and you must ensure you and your freeholder have thoroughly discussed what you can and can’t do in your property before signing a lease.

What are you required to do: responsibilities

Before signing your lease, you must also clarify what your responsibilities will be, and what will be those of your freeholder. Is it your responsibility to sort out insurance, which companies supply your gas and electricity, who you pay your bills through and what service charges you pay? Who’s job is it to ensure the smooth and safe running of the property? If something breaks, who’s going to pay for a fix? Are you going to be lumped with extra charges in unforeseen circumstances?

All these elements are vital to outline before you sign your lease.

It’s always sensible to seek advice from professionals when you’re looking into embarking on any legal projects. If you’re looking for more information, take a look at our services to see how we can help.

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