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Freehold VS Leasehold Property: Which to Choose?

If you’re currently on the lookout for a new home, you will be considering the various types of properties available to you.

One of the many considerations is whether to opt for a freehold or leasehold property. But what exactly do these terms mean, and what impact do they have on your investment?

This article explains everything that you need to know about freehold and leasehold properties so that you can make the best decision for your investment.

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What is a Leasehold Property?

Leasehold property refers to a form of property ownership in which the buyer holds the property for a set period, typically ranging from 99 to 999 years, after which ownership returns to the landowner.

The buyer essentially leases the land from the freeholder for the duration of the lease.

Leasehold properties are usually located in urban areas and are commonly associated with apartments, flats, and some commercial properties.

Examples of Leasehold Properties are –

  • Luxury Condominium in a Prime Urban Location
  • Beachfront Villa in a Resort Community
  • Retail Space in a High-End Shopping Centre

Advantages of Leasehold Property

Lower Initial Cost:

Leasehold properties can be a more accessible option for first-time buyers or those with limited budgets as they typically come with a lower upfront cost in comparison to freehold properties.


An advantage is that the responsibility for maintenance and repairs often falls on the landlord or freeholder.

This can alleviate some of the financial burdens for leasehold property owners who can avoid the high costs associated with such tasks.

Community Amenities:

Leasehold properties often provide access to communal facilities like gardens, gyms, and parking spaces, improving the overall living experience.

This can provide added convenience and comfort to residents, making leasehold properties an attractive option for those seeking a more communal living experience.

Disadvantages of Leasehold Property

Lease Extension Costs:

Extending the lease beyond its original term can be an expensive process.

Negotiations with the freeholder are required, which can add significant expenses for leasehold property owners. As a result, leaseholders may face financial challenges when attempting to extend their lease.

Limited Control:

Leasehold property owners are bound by the terms outlined in the lease agreement.

This can limit their control over the property, as they may face restrictions on alterations or subletting. This can be a disadvantage for those who value freedom and independence in managing their home.

Ground Rent Increases:

Leasehold agreements may include provisions for ground rent increases over time.

This can lead to higher ongoing costs for the leaseholder. The potential for unpredictable increases in ground rent can be a disadvantage for those who want to maintain stable, predictable expenses.

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What is a Freehold Property?

Freehold property provides the buyer with complete ownership of both the land and the property without any time limitations, offering a greater degree of security and control.

Freehold properties are commonly found in suburban areas and include detached houses, bungalows, and some commercial properties.

This type of property ownership is different from leasehold, which only grants ownership of the property for a limited period.

Examples of Freehold Properties:

  • Detached Family Home in a Suburban Neighbourhood
  • Country Estate with Acres of Land
  • Mixed-use commercial Building in a Historic District

Advantages of Freehold Property

Absolute Ownership:

With freehold properties, the owners have complete control over their properties, giving them the freedom to make any alterations, renovations, or enhancements they desire without requiring permission from a landlord.

This level of control makes freehold properties an excellent option for those who value autonomy and independence.

No Ground Rent:

One of the most significant benefits of freehold properties is that they do not require payment of ground rent to a landlord, unlike leasehold properties.

This absence of ground rent results in lower ongoing costs for the property owner, making freehold properties a more affordable option in the long run.

Increased Property Value:

Freehold properties often retain their value better than leasehold properties, making them a more attractive long-term investment option.

This increased value is due to the complete ownership and control offered by freehold properties, which tends to make them more desirable to potential buyers. As a result, freehold properties are often viewed as a better investment in terms of long-term financial gain.

Disadvantages of Freehold Property

Higher Upfront Cost:

While freehold properties provide complete ownership, they often come with a higher initial price tag compared to leasehold properties, which may deter some buyers, especially those with limited budgets.

However, this initial investment can pay off in the long run, as freehold properties tend to appreciate over time.

Maintenance Responsibility:

One of the drawbacks of freehold properties is that the owners are solely responsible for all maintenance and upkeep of the property, including repairs and renovations.

This responsibility can incur significant costs over time, especially if the property requires extensive repairs or upgrades.

Limited Community Amenities:

Unlike some leasehold properties, freehold properties may not offer access to shared amenities or facilities, potentially impacting the overall living experience for residents.

However, this also means that freehold property owners have more autonomy and control over their living space, making it an ideal option for those who value privacy and independence.

Difference Between Leasehold and Freehold Property

AspectLeasehold PropertyFreehold Property
OwnershipLeasehold property is leased for a fixed term from the freeholder.Freehold property grants absolute ownership of both land and property indefinitely.
DurationTypically leased for 99 to 999 years.Ownership is indefinite, with no time limit.
ControlLimited control over alterations and renovations, subject to lease terms.Full control over property use, alterations, and renovations.
ResponsibilitiesLandlords are often responsible for maintenance and repairs.The sole responsibility for maintenance and repairs falls on the property owner.
Ground RentGround rent may be payable to the landlord.No ground rent payments are required.

Converting a Leasehold Property into a Freehold Property

To convert a leasehold property into a freehold property, there are several steps you need to take:

  • Apply for Conversion: If the property is owned by the government, you will need to apply for conversion from the relevant authority. For privately owned property, a sale agreement between the leaseholder and the freeholder needs to be prepared.
  • Prepare Legal Documents: Once terms are agreed upon, you will need to prepare a conveyance deed. This document transfers ownership of the property and must comply with all local laws and regulations.
  • Register Deed: The conveyance deed needs to be registered with the local land registry office. This involves submitting all required documentation and paying registration fees.
  • Update Records: It’s important to ensure that the buyer’s name is properly updated in the local civic records to reflect the change in ownership.

By following these steps, you can successfully convert your leasehold property into a freehold property. Keep in mind that the specifics of this process may vary depending on the location and type of property.

And You are Good to Go!

The debate over whether to choose freehold or leasehold ownership depends on a variety of factors.

Each type of ownership has its benefits and drawbacks, and the decision should be based on individual preferences, financial considerations, and long-term goals.

Whether you prefer the stability of freehold ownership or the affordability of leasehold arrangements, it’s important to conduct thorough research, seek professional advice, and make informed decisions that align with your unique circumstances and real estate aspirations.

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