When someone buys a lease, they are buying the right to use the property for the length of the lease. The rights governing the use and enjoyment are contained in the lease. This form of ownership is different to freehold where the buyer acquires the land (and any building on it) and can use it indefinitely.
Many people who have bought leasehold houses, in particular, have not clearly understood the difference between freehold and leasehold forms of ownership. They are often surprised that they have to ask the permission of the landlord to change the colour of the front door or to add an extension to the property.
The problems for some homeowners have worsened if they also have a high ground rent to pay or have been required by their landlord to pay very high fees and costs to extend the length of the lease. These factors can make the leasehold house hard, or even impossible, to sell or mortgage - leaving some homeowners feeling trapped.
The Government has pledged to deal with these problems - but it is not clear when any legal changes that need to be made will happen.
There are reports that homeowners feel that their solicitor did not advise them fully when they purchased their leasehold house. Indeed, some of these solicitors are now facing legal action for such advice.
Buying your home is a huge investment and it is vital to ensure that comprehensive, specialist advice is obtained.
To discuss this or any other conveyancing matter, contact us.