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What is Leasehold?

Leasehold is a method of owning property (usually a flat) for a fixed term but not the land on which it stands. It is really a long-term tenancy giving a right to live in the property for a set number of years (the 'term') in return for payment of a lump sum but can be bought and sold throughout that period. High Peak Borough Council is the freeholder and owns the property outright. When the lease expires, ownership of the property reverts back to High Peak Borough Council. Freehold ownership is outright ownership of the property and the land on which the block stands.

Leasehold flats can be in purpose-built blocks, in converted houses or above commercial or retail premises. They will also include 'maisonettes', a term which is generally used for flats with their own separate entrances or two storey houses on top of shops or other maisonettes.

The 'term' of your lease with High Peak Borough Council is 125 years from the commencement date of the lease. The flat can be bought and sold during that term. The term is fixed at the beginning when the lease is first granted. When you sell your flat to someone else, they are bound by the lease granted to you and do not have to sign a new one. The lease term continues on any future sales (ie. the 125 years does not start again) and so the term decreases in length year by year. The nearer the lease gets to the end of the 'term' the more difficult it becomes to sell or obtain a mortgage because the council can take the property back. However, in reality most lease terms can be extended for a fee to avoid this.

The leasehold ownership of a flat usually relates to everything within the walls of the flat, including floorboards and plaster to walls and ceilings, but does not include, for example, the external or structural walls, roofs, guttering and any communal areas. A garden may be included, unless it is a communal garden for the building. What the leaseholder owns is often defined in the lease as the 'Demised Premises'.

The structure and common parts of the building and the land it stands on are owned by the freeholder, in your case, High Peak Borough Council. High Peak Borough Council is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the building (but not the internal areas of your flat). The costs for this are recoverable from you through the service charges which are invoiced annually to leaseholders, usually around September/October.