June 18

What Happens When The Term of My Lease Runs Out?


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Property acquisition, particularly leasehold properties, comes with its challenges. This blog aims to address common queries regarding leaseholds in England and Wales. Unlike houses, most flats are leasehold, necessitating an understanding of the distinctions between leasehold and freehold.

In England and Wales, the majority of flats are leasehold properties, while houses typically hold freehold status. It’s uncommon to encounter a freehold flat or a leasehold house, making comprehension of these distinctions crucial for prospective property owners.

The complexities of leasehold ownership require careful consideration. Leaseholders hold a temporary right to occupy the property, subject to the terms outlined in the lease agreement. Understanding these terms and obligations is paramount for effective property management.

Navigating leasehold ownership involves understanding your rights and responsibilities as outlined in the lease agreement. From maintenance obligations to service charges, leasehold properties come with a unique set of considerations that require thorough comprehension for successful property management.


What is a leasehold & what does it mean?

In the realm of property purchases, you’ll encounter two main types: freehold and leasehold. Freehold denotes sole ownership, requiring full responsibility for maintenance and upkeep. On the other hand, leasehold implies a form of tenancy, where despite property ownership, a landlord remains in the picture.

Under a leasehold arrangement, although you’ve purchased the property, the concept of landlordship persists. Despite mortgage payments and utility bills, you essentially lease the property from the freeholder. This individual or entity, often referred to as the landlord, retains ownership of both the property and the land it occupies.

As a leaseholder, you’re obligated to pay ground rent to the freeholder regularly. This ongoing payment serves as compensation for land usage and ownership. Hence, despite fulfilling mortgage obligations for the property, leaseholders must also meet rental commitments to the freeholder.


How do you find out how long a lease is left?

Discovering the remaining duration of a lease involves several avenues. As a prospective buyer, estate agents usually possess this information, sourced from the lease title.

Alternatively, consulting the Land Registry offers another route. By paying a fee of £7, you can obtain a copy of the Leasehold Title, detailing the lease duration.

Within the Leasehold Title document, the lease expiration term is typically located beneath the section labeled “under which the land is held.” This key detail clarifies the remaining duration of the lease.


What happens when the leasehold expires?

When a leasehold property’s lease expires, it reverts to freehold status, transferring ownership of the land and building back to the freeholder. For instance, if you had 60 years remaining on your lease in 2019, by 2079, despite having fully paid your house repayments, ownership would revert to the landlord.

In such cases, there are no legal rights to retain ownership. It’s crucial to exercise caution with leasehold properties to avoid potential exploitation through ground rent or undisclosed costs.


Finding out how long you have left on the lease

Determining the remaining term on a lease is straightforward. As an owner, this information is typically available in your lease agreement or your property’s official copies (the ‘title deeds’) from the Land Registry. You can easily download the title deeds from the Land Registry’s website for a nominal fee.

Alternatively, you can request the lease title from your solicitor or the freeholder, although they may charge higher fees for this service. If you’re considering making an offer to buy a leasehold property, your estate agent should provide information on the remaining lease term. Additionally, your solicitor will identify any issues with a short lease during the conveyancing process.

UK law grants leaseholders legal rights to extend the lease on their property. These rights can be pursued through two avenues: the formal route and the less formal, negotiated route.

The formal route is typically favoured as it adheres to a predefined procedure, offering a dispute mechanism for the leaseholder if the freeholder disputes the extension. On the other hand, negotiating via the informal route may result in the freeholder rejecting certain terms that the statutory route guarantees as rights.

However, like any legal process, both routes entail specific procedures that must be followed and associated costs to consider.


How much does it cost to extend a leasehold?

Extending a leasehold involves financial considerations that vary depending on several factors. These factors include the property’s current value, remaining lease length, and ground rent payable.

In general, the shorter the lease, the higher the cost to extend it. Even with longer leases, there are fees involved, including payments to the freeholder for their time and legal expenses.

However, it’s important to understand that the cost of not extending a lease can be significantly higher. As the lease length decreases, the property’s value diminishes, impacting future house repayments and potentially restricting the pool of potential buyers if you decide to sell.


Should you buy a leasehold property?

Deciding whether to purchase a leasehold property involves considering various factors, including your financial situation and long-term plans. For many, buying a leasehold flat offers a more affordable entry into property ownership, particularly in areas where freehold properties are pricey, making it an appealing option for those eager to step onto the property ladder.

It’s essential to note that the majority of flats in the UK are leasehold properties. However, owning a leasehold property comes with its set of challenges. You may be required to pay ground rent, annual service charges, and other expenses that can accumulate over time. Understanding these costs is crucial for prospective leaseholders.

Furthermore, leasehold ownership often entails restrictions on property alterations outlined in the lease agreement. Additionally, when the lease expires, ownership reverts to the freeholder, highlighting the temporary nature of leasehold tenure.

To make an informed decision, it’s imperative to comprehend the terms of the lease, including its duration, associated costs, and your rights and obligations as a leaseholder. Consulting with a conveyancing solicitor during the purchasing process can provide valuable guidance and ensure a smoother transaction. Their expertise can help navigate legal complexities, handle documentation, and liaise with relevant parties, streamlining the process and mitigating potential risks.

In summary, while purchasing a leasehold property can be a significant step towards homeownership, thorough research and expert guidance are essential. By fully understanding the implications of leasehold ownership and seeking professional advice, you can make informed decisions and embark on your homeownership journey with confidence.


Advantages & disadvantages of buying a leasehold

When considering buying a leasehold property, there are several pros and cons to weigh:



  1. Leasehold properties are typically cheaper than freehold.
  2. Sometimes, there’s less responsibility for repairs or maintenance.



  1. You’ll be required to pay ground rent to the freeholder.
  2. There may be restrictions on property alterations outlined in the lease.
  3. The property’s value may decrease as the lease approaches expiration.
  4. As the lease term shortens, securing mortgage repayments can become more challenging.


Options when the lease ends

If the lease term expires, you don’t need to take any action unless the landlord sends you a notice to terminate the agreement under the lease. For the lease to formally end, either you or the freeholder must take specific steps:

  • You can voluntarily surrender the tenancy.
  • The freeholder serves a notice on you and obtains a court order to repossess the property.
  • The freeholder serves a prescribed notice on you, proposing an assured periodic tenancy where you could pay monthly rent.


MORE Property blogs HERE: 

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Cashing Out of Buy To Let? Top Places to Make a Quick Sale

Buy-to-let Home Insurance UK

Why Are Buy-to-Let Mortgages Interest Only?

Is Buy-to-Let Still Profitable Today?

A Comprehensive Guide to Buy-to-Let Mortgages

First-Time Buyer’s Guide to Buy-to-Let Mortgages


How do you find out how long a lease is left?, What happens when the leasehold expires?, What Happens When The Term of My Lease Runs Out?, What is a leasehold & what does it mean?

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