What’s The Difference Between Freehold and Leasehold?

By Josh Gertler

Recently, one of our agents was asked what the difference between freehold and leasehold is by one of our first time buyers. 

Since then, I have asked a few of clients, friends, family members and I was pretty surprised at the response!


If you don’t, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Surprisingly, not many people seem to know the difference between freehold and leasehold and even more surprisingly it can get overlooked as a result. Understanding exactly what it is you’re buying, the costs you will incur and the terms that come with it is vital. I hope this blog helps you understand the difference between the two.


Freehold is essentially the complete free rights to the ownership of a property and the land to which it sits on. If you own a home under freehold, you paid in full for it when you purchased it (yes – this could be by mortgage) and as a result it’s completely yours – therefore you are entitled to do whatever you want with it or to it as far as decorating it, selling it, living in it forever etc goes. (Planning permission for any building work is still necessary.)


Leasehold is different from freehold because although you own the property, you do not own the land that it sits on. Therefore, you are not entirely free to do what you want with the property and you will also have to pay ground rent which is to be determined at the discretion of the freeholder. A usual time frame for leasehold properties is 999 years.

Many new-build houses are leasehold and flats/apartments are usually leasehold too – and as they are part of a larger, shared building you’ll also have to pay maintenance to cover buildings insurance and general upkeep. It’s really important to be clear on these costs and the years left on the property lease if they apply to a property you’re purchasing as this is where buyers can get caught out financially and/or trapped when wanting to sell it on!


Here at Normie & Company, we understand that getting your head around all of the information involved with house buying can be pretty overwhelming, and that’s why we’re here… Talk to us! 

Ask us questions, no matter what they are… Knowledge is key! 

So long as you have all the information you need, and you’re fully in the know how – what doesn’t work for someone else, may be the better option for you.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for your dream home, head over to our website and take a look at our properties. Or give us a call to register your details and be the first to hear about our new listings.

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