Block of Flats

There are some important things you should know about buying a leasehold property in the UK which we have detailed below, including the processes involved and your statutory rights.

What is leasehold property?

There are two ways you can hold land, freehold and leasehold. Most houses are freehold, and most flats are leasehold.

The basic difference is that, if you buy a freehold then you own it indefinitely. However, if you have a leasehold, then the landlord gets the property back at the end of the lease.

If you own or purchase a leasehold property it means you do not own the land the property is built on. A leaseholder essentially rents the property from the owner for a set period of time, whether that’s years, decades, or even centuries.

How long are property leases?

Lease terms for residential property are usually at least 80 years, and there are statutory rights for most tenants to renew their leases, so this isn’t usually a problem. There is nothing wrong with owning leasehold property, as long as the lease has been drafted properly. Your conveyancer will check the terms of the lease as part of the conveyancing process.

Applying for lease extensions

If you have been living in a leasehold flat for two years, you can apply for a lease extension.

This will give you a new lease of up to 90 years, plus what is left on your old lease. The price of the lease extension will be assessed by a specialist valuer.

If there is less than 80 years left on your lease, the price payable for an extended lease will be higher, so it is best to extend it well before that date. If you are interested in buying a flat where the seller’s lease is short, then the seller can start the application process for you, and you can take over the process once you have bought it.

As the procedure can be complex, we recommend consulting your conveyancer for advice.

Checking the lease plan

If you’re purchasing a leasehold property your conveyancer will send you the lease plan.

It’s important to check that the lease plan is correct and matches the current boundaries, including the position of parking spaces, paths, balconies, and communal areas.

You must tell your conveyancer if something doesn’t seem quite right. You cannot rely on the Land Registry plan to be 100% accurate, or assume that someone has checked this before.

What are Tenant’s Covenants?

Landlords want to make sure all flat owners will keep their property well maintained, and that they will not use it in a way that may cause damage, nuisance or interference with other flat owners.

This means the lease will contain many pages of ‘Tenant’s Covenants’.

Leases are not standardised, and they can vary a great deal. It’s important to read the Tenant’s Covenants carefully and comply with them. Restrictions may affect your ability to make alterations to the property and affect how you can use your flat.

If a neighbouring flat owner breaches their covenants you can report them to the landlord.

Service Charges and Insurance

Most landlords arrange insurance for the structure of the building, and most leases contain a service charge provision which allows the landlord to divide up the cost of insuring and maintaining the building between the tenants.

There are statutory controls over how a landlord must go about asking for service charges, and if they do not follow these requirements the service charge may be recoverable. For further information see the Lease Advice Service mentioned below.

Landlords can charge for providing information about service charges and insurance to any potential buyers.

Management Companies

If you will have shares in the Management Company for your flat or you’re a director, it’s important to make sure that the company records are appropriately filed each year.

If you don’t, the company may be struck off Companies Registry which may make it impossible for you to sell your flat until it has been reconstituted.

The Leasehold Advice Service

You can find lots of helpful advice on leasehold properties over on the Leasehold Advisory Service website.

The website features many advice guides, videos, podcasts and downloadable leaflets, that will give you more information. If you are thinking of extending your lease, there is an online calculator that will give you an indication of the price of a new lease, plus other helpful guides to the process.

If you’re looking for an experienced conveyancer who can advise and deal with your leasehold property matters, then PDR Property Lawyers can help. Contact us today for an instant quote or learn more about our conveyancing quote service.

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Based on 49 reviews
Jerry Barrasso
Jerry Barrasso
Many thanks to Robyn and Michelle. A family crisis required our sale to exchange and complete on the same day at short notice. This was achieved by Robyn at great relief to myself and my family. I would not hesitate to recommend PDR Property lawyers and will be appointing them again in the next three months or so to manage another sale for me. Thank you Jerry Barrasso.
Immortal Noz
Immortal Noz
Absolutely superb service from start to finish, would highly recommend and will definitely use them again.
Tom Knell
Tom Knell
Michelle at PDR walked myself and my family through this process for the first time and took all the stress away. Very clearly communicated all requirements and helped as requested. Would highly recommend!!
Karan Maheshwari
Karan Maheshwari
I regret!!!!!! Why I didn't found them any sooner. I buy and sell property every now and then and have used few solicitors, and my experience so far has been best with PDR. The entire team and Robyn, my conveyancer for last transaction was amazing throughout. Communication, timeliness and clarity everything was spot on. The transaction went through so smoothly I just couldn't believe. The pricing is very reasonable. I hope they'll keep the same standards in future. Thanks a lot to everyone at PDR.
Saket Srivastava
Saket Srivastava
Absolutely professional service that I would always remember. Helped me throughout the buying process last summer (2021) even when the seller party was not engaging very well and taking really long to respond and frustrating us every step of the way. Fortunately PDR has a no sale no fee policy, so they have a genuine interest in completing sale. Final icing on the cake was the way they helped me catch the 30th June deadline of stamp duty holiday when my seller just suddenly announced 3 days before the deadline that they are willing to exchange contract and complete. Exchange was done next day but Grace, Tina and Robyn went out of the way to secure funds from my mortgage provider and get them ready wirhin a record time (2 days) to enable the completion before 30th June (generally this process takes a week). This was despite the fact that they were already overloaded with other clients who had to complete the sale before the deadline.
sadie tiplady
sadie tiplady
Grace handled our house purchase brilliantly. If she hadn’t been so diligent she would have missed something the other solicitors had not done correctly and cost us a lot of money and stress. Thank you 😊


Leasehold conveyancing is more complicated than freehold conveyancing, and may cost more because of this.

Leasehold properties are most commonly flats which are owned by a landlord. These are essentially rented out to a tenant who is permitted to live on the property and use the land for a contracted period of time.