What is the difference between Leasehold and Freehold?

This is a very important question when purchasing a property, as it determines whether or not you own your property wholly (except obviously your mortgage company) and whether or not you have a landlord. 

There are two different forms of legal ownership; freehold and leasehold, however, sometimes there can be a query where a flat is being described as a freehold flat as this is not technically correct as a flat will always be leasehold but in situations like this it will have a share of the freehold. The freehold is usually owned by a Management Company. You will obtain a Share Certificate stating that you own a share of the company which owns the freehold. 

A freehold title means that you own the land above and the land below and you are classified as a freeholder at the Land Registry, owning title absolute. 

Leasehold means that you have been granted a lease from the freeholder (or sometimes called the landlord) for a number of years. Under this lease, you may have to pay ground rent and service charge which will need to be included within your budget. The freeholder is responsible for maintaining the common parts, including the exterior of the property to which you will contribute via your service charge. 

Sometimes there can be disputes regarding the service charges, or if indeed you feel that the landlord is not undertaking their responsibilities, disputes can then arise. 

The term of the lease is also an issue that needs to be taken into consideration, as some mortgagees solicitors feel that once a lease term becomes less than 80-75 years, and then a lease extension should be requested. There are a number of calculators on the internet for further information as to the likely cost of this.


Danielle has over 15 years’ experience of homes and private property law.  At the beginning of 2014 she was appointed as Verisona Law’s Head of Residential Property and manages the team that acts for buyers and sellers across the South Coast and Nationally.

Danielle’s move to the South Coast in 2013 came after she and her husband decided to live full-time in a holiday home they purchased in Bracklesham Bay near Chichester two years ago. ‘My husband spent his childhood holidays in the area and when he took me to visit, I fell in love with it. We bought the property that we now want to call home and are embarking on a major renovation project.’

Danielle began working at a local law firm where she grew up in Middlesex while studying her A-levels.  In an effort to keep her after she achieved top grades, the firm offered to support her in qualifying with the Institute of Legal Executives, CILEx. She accepted, became a fee earner at just 19 years old and was able to work in most areas of law. This has given her a wealth of experience.

In 2010, Danielle was headhunted to take her first Head of Department role in the property department of a five office firm in Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire before becoming an equity shareholder.

She moved to Verisona Law in 2014.

  • Buying and Selling Residential Property
  • Dealing with both Freehold and Leasehold properties
  • Lease Extensions
  • New Builds
  • Remortgaging
  • Shared Ownership
  • Key Workers
  • Help to buy schemes
  • Acting for management companies
  • Right to manage
  • Transfer of Equity
  • Deeds of Variation or Rectification
  • Equity Release Schemes

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