So I get asked often, or told often by lots of buyers around here, ‘I must buy freehold not leasehold, leasehold is bad, freehold is good’. Well, this isn’t actually strictly true!
Why do you need freehold? I’m very lucky to own a few flats, and they are all leasehold, they don’t have a share of freehold. As long as a lease has 80 years or over, there is no difference whatsoever in the value of a property. If it has 90 years, 120 years, 990 years and/or a share of freehold, no valuer in the land, no surveyor, no solicitor, nobody can value that property for any more or less.
Indeed, I went to a meeting with a bunch of solicitors a while ago. We manage a lot of buildings and share of freehold can actually cause quite a lot of issues for some people. Often the buildings we manage which have share of freehold are very complicated; you have to agree on service charges, leases on licences, agree on major works programmes. Whereas in a leasehold building, these decisions, although you’re entitled to your opinions, are taken out of your management and, in many ways, taken out of your life so you don’t have to worry about them. You don’t have to be concerned about AGM meetings about these things. As a result, having a long lease can be a lot simpler, so I encourage all buyers to really consider leasehold flats and not just neglect them if they don’t state the word ‘share of freehold’.
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