|A source of considerable pride and investment in London is becoming a property owner. Ownership, however, entails a variety of statutory obligations and responsibilities that must be upheld. Understanding these obligations, whether you are a freeholder or leaseholder, is essential to preserving the worth and integrity of the property, even if it necessitates the ongoing support of Knightsbridge Estate Agents.
What is a freeholder?
Anyone or whatever holds the freehold of a property is referred to as a freeholder, often known as a landlord. Owning a piece of property with a freehold means having permanent ownership of both the land and any structures on it. In other words, the property is fully owned and under the freeholder’s total authority.
For homes and some commercial properties in London, freehold ownership is more typical; for flats and apartments, leasehold ownership is more typical.
Difference between freehold and leasehold
When someone owns a property under a lease, they do so for a predetermined amount of time, typically between 99 and 999 years but occasionally less. The freeholder, who still owns the land and property, receives a yearly ground rent from the leaseholder.
Leasehold ownership may be subject to various limitations and requirements, such as the need to obtain the freeholder’s consent before making any significant changes to the property. Also, the leaseholder could be liable for upkeep and repairs on specific elements of the building, including windows and doors.
The ability of the freeholder to levy and collect service fees and ground rents directly or through Letting agents in Marylebone. is a key distinction between freehold and leasehold ownership. The cost of repairing and maintaining a property’s common areas, such as corridors and elevators, is covered by service charges. The leaseholder pays the freeholder a yearly sum known as “ground rents” in exchange for the right to utilise the land the property is situated on.
What are the Freeholder Responsibilities?
The general care and maintenance of the property are the responsibility of the freeholder, commonly known as the landlord or property owner. They are in charge of making sure the building is sound structurally and defect-free. It also covers common rooms like hallways, stairwells, and elevators as well as the building’s exterior features like the roof, walls, windows, and doors.
The freeholder is in charge of overseeing the financial issues of the property in addition to the maintenance of the physical property. Among other things, this entails collecting ground rent and service fees from leaseholders to pay for upkeep, repairs, and other costs relating to the property.
Freeholders are also responsible for complying with any legal requirements related to the property. This includes obtaining the necessary planning permission and building regulations approval for any alterations or renovations made to the property. They must also comply with health and safety regulations and ensure that any necessary licenses and permits are obtained.
Is the freeholder responsible for dampness?
Older buildings in London frequently experience moisture issues. It frequently results from structural problems, which can be expensive to repair. In most cases, the freeholder is in charge of addressing a structural problem that is the cause of the wetness. However, the leaseholder may be liable for repairs if the wetness was brought on by their acts or carelessness, such as neglecting to adequately ventilate the property.
It’s crucial to remember that even if the freeholder fixes the wetness, the leaseholder can still be liable for some of the bill. This is due to the fact that a service charge is sometimes used to distribute the cost of maintenance among all leaseholders in a property.
Can a freeholder increase ground rent?
Leaseholders pay the freeholder ground rent on an annual basis in exchange for using the property’s foundational ground. Freeholders’ practice of increasing ground rent has come under scrutiny recently. The terms of the lease, however, will govern how and when the increase occurs. Certain leases may contain a fixed ground rent that is not subject to increase, while other leases may authorise increases depending on inflation or other factors.
If ground rent increases are too high, leaseholders can file a complaint with the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). If you are a leaseholder and you think that the increase in your ground rent is unfair, you might consider getting legal counsel and submitting an application to the Tribunal.
What do I do when a freeholder is not maintaining property?