The age old question of Leasehold vs Freehold has raised its head once again after a new report says that many buyers of leasehold property felt they were not informed of the implications before making their purchase.
What’s the difference?
Someone who owns a property outright, including the land it is built on, is a freeholder. A leaseholder, is a person who buys the lease to a property from a freeholder. They have the right to live in the house, but must usually pay ground rent and other fees. The owners of a leashold must get permission from the freeholder to make changes to the property. Non-payment of fees will mean that a freeholder can apply to seek to forfeit the lease at any point. When the lease ends, the property returns to the freeholder unless the person can negotiate an extension of the lease purchased.
Why the controversy?
Some owners of Leasehold property have said that in hindsight they may not have purchased their leasehold property had they known what the implications of owning only the leasehold of a property were. According to the report 94% of house buyers said that they regretted buying a leasehold property whilst 62% felt they were mis-informed when they purchased the leashold.
The research follows controversy, which led the government to crackdown on "unjustified" leasehold houses.
The National Association of Estate Agents warned: "Most buyers have no idea about the trappings of a leasehold contract until it's too late."
Are Leasehold houses more difficult to sell?
A leasehold property can be more difficult to sell than a freehold house. A report showed that a third of those currently trying to move from a leasehold property said they were struggling to attract a buyer because they do not own the freehold.
Should you decide to embark on a leasehold purchase you should be sure that you have all of the necessary information and are clear on what charges you will be expected to pay under the leasehold. It is always best to seek professional, impartial legal advice before purchasing any property.