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Freehold ownership means that a person owns a property outright for an unlimited period. In England and Wales, most houses will be freehold. 

There are several types of freehold estate. The most common are:

  • Fee simple: which is effectively absolute ownership of the land.
  • Life estate: which effectively means ownership for the duration of the holder’s life. 

A freeholder does not need to pay ground rent, service charges or permission fees, but they are solely responsible for the maintenance and repair of a property. A freeholder is free to sell and transfer the property at any time and can also grant a lease of the whole or part of the property to another person. 

There are still some restrictions on what a freeholder can do with their property and land, as certain activities require planning permission and must meet building regulations. The legal title to the property may also contain restrictions on the land, known as covenants, which state how the land can be used. In some cases, the mines and minerals underneath the property may be excluded from the freehold interest and retained by a previous owner, which would mean they would have a right to excavate them at any time. This may also impact on any development plans for the property and land. 

Published on
Last updated
02 December 2021