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This type of tenure means you – in effect – own a right to occupy the land or a particular property for an agreed period of years, for which they pay a ground rent to the person owning the freehold (or a superior landlord).

Modern leases, which are clear and concisely drafted, can be very satisfactory but many old leases are rambling, contradictory and very much ill-drafted documents which need to be read and interpreted with care by an experienced lawyer.  Incidentally, as the leaseholder you are legally called a lessee while the person who granted the lease originally, usually the freeholder, is called a lessor.

Normally a lease expires at the end of the specific number of years but there is enfranchisement legislation – the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 – which allows leaseholders jointly to acquire the relevant freehold. There are also provisions which allows flat owners to take control of the management of their block. Inevitably, there are complex terms and conditions and the regulations are not straightforward. It is unlikely that anyone could carry out this work without specialist professional advice. Start by contacting LEASE on 020-7493 3116 which can suggest local experts.

Most mortgage lenders will fund the purchase of mortgage leasehold property, providing a reasonable period of years would remain after the loan is repaid. The interest rates and terms may vary marginally, and your solicitor will be able to explain the implications.

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