Leasehold And Freehold Tenure How An Apartment Can Be Both Simultaneously

Frequent queries among those new to the concept of leasehold with regard to possessing a flat are; How do I change to a freehold?/ How do I make my flat freehold instead of leasehold?/ How do I buy a freehold rather than a leasehold apartment?. The wording of these questions highlights a regular and understandable misunderstanding concerning the nature of the connection between freehold and leasehold in private residential property.

In essence, an apartment that is leasehold will for all time be leasehold. Any modifications that you make will not ‘convert’ it to freehold. There is a vital exception in the form of Commonhold tenure which we will not deal with here. The major reason we can work around it is that it is an extremely rare form of tenure in the UK and hard to gather together the requisite number of neighbours to make it work. We do however deal with it in a separate piece.

Keep in mind that the lease is a legal record governing the relationship between the leaseholder and the freeholder. This outlines the rights and obligations of each party. It is a reasonable document to have as it ensures people existing near to each other behave in a manner that is fair and considerate. Many apartment owners crave to get rid of leases because they oblige them to take care of their wooden windows, have carpets fitted instead of timber laminate floors or refrain from fitting satellite dishes. However, these provisions regularly make communal living more considerate and help to keep up property values when properly applied.

As long as they can fulfill certain circumstances, most owners of leasehold apartments in England and Wales can acquire their share of freehold. If they do that, then they will all together be a partial freeholder as well as a leaseholder. The lease does not get torn up: it continues to govern the way people should behave who are responsible for the development.

So now one can understand why the question ‘How can I convert to a freehold?’ is actually the wrong question. Nothing new is created or converted in reality. When acquiring a share of freehold an apartment proprietor is acquiring the freehold for their section of the development from the current freeholder. The apartment owner continues to be a party to the existing lease agreement. Then again, they very nearly turn into their own freeholder, bizarre as that may seem.

This is not as ridiculous as it seems at first because it is exceptionally rare in a lot of blocks of apartments, where the people club together to get the freehold, for each flat owner to chip in. These non-participants persist in being leaseholders but now their freeholder has altered. Generally, everything else stays the identical as far as they are concerned and it costs the non-participants nothing. Yet, they miss out on the benefits that come with owning their share of freehold. However, arguably, they also don’t assume several of the jobs that come with owning a share of freehold.