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Property Tenure, Simplified!

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  • Property Tenure, Simplified!


    I realised a while ago that property tenure i.e. Freehold, Leasehold was a confusing and tricky subject to even the more knowledgeable home-owners,therefore i decided to write a little article about it.

    Here Goes....

    Property Tenure Simplified.

    Property Tenure is amongst the most confusing aspects of the U.K residential property market, as with many things legal it can get very complicated. Property Tenure in simple terms refers to how the property is owned. There are various forms of tenure and it is extremely important to know the tenure of the property you re buying or selling.

    Freehold is the simplest form of property tenure and is most commonly found in houses. Freehold in its simplest terms means that you are the out-right and complete owner of the land and building which it stands. There could however be conditions on the freehold, despite the fact that you are the out-right owner, if in the deeds there has been restrictions set in place upon the initial build of the house, then any such restriction must be upheld.

    Leasehold is a little more complicated than fee-hold and is generally found on flats and apartments. In effect it could be said that if you buy a lease-hold you will never really own the property or the land which it stands, you will only own the right of its use for the specified time of the lease at the end of which the property is handed back to the free-holder, who holds the right to lease-hold the property. There are both ‘long and ‘short’ leases within leasehold, the short lease can be described as nothing more than a long tenancy agreement and a long leasehold is virtually ownership of the property as for example at the end of a 999 year lease the probability that the building will be standing is extremely slim and that the Free-holder of the leasehold even slimmer! The length of the lease is certainly very relevant as the cost of the flat will vary depending on how long or short the lease is.

    Commonhold is a new form of tenure introduced in 2004, it is in actual fact a form of freehold for a property where there are multiple units i.e. flats of separate ownership which also have common areas such as stairways, halls and driveways. This particular tenure is only applicable when there is not a fixed period in terms of ownership and anyone who is not an owner cannot have interest in the property. This particular tenure is done by the Commonhold association (being a Limited company) whose members are the unit owners.

    Joint Ownership is also another form of tenure. This form of tenure comes into play when there is not a sole owner of a house or flat then all or both owners must decide upon which terms they will share ownership. One of two methods of joint ownership is:

    Joint tenancy; this is a basic form of joint ownership and simply states that the property in question is divided equally and that if there is a death then the remaining owner will assume full ownership to do with as he/she wishes. This form of joint ownership can commonly be found in a marriage or family relations.

    Tenancy in Common is best utilised when the shares of a property are not equal and are between associates or business partners. In the event of a death the share of the deceased will go to whoever they wish in their will and other share-holders in the property will have no right to it, or its share when the property is sold.
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