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Different Types of Property Ownership

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When it comes to purchasing a property, understanding the different types of property ownership is crucial. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, an investor, or someone looking to move into a new home, knowing the implications of each ownership type can greatly impact your decision-making process and the subsequent conveyancing procedures.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the various forms of property ownership, shedding light on the key differences between freehold, leasehold, shared ownership, commonhold, and even the unique concept of flying freehold. By gaining a deeper understanding of each ownership type, you can navigate the complexities of the property market with confidence and make informed choices that align with your needs and circumstances.

1- Freehold Ownership

Definition: Freehold ownership refers to owning both the property and the land it sits on outright and indefinitely.

Implications in Conveyancing: When buying or selling a freehold property, the conveyancing process involves the transfer of complete ownership rights, including the land and any buildings on it. The conveyancer ensures the title is clear, conducts searches, and prepares legal documents for the transfer of ownership.

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2- Leasehold Ownership

Definition: Leasehold ownership means you have the right to occupy a property for a fixed term under a lease agreement with the freeholder (landlord).

Implications in Conveyancing: When buying or selling a leasehold property, the conveyancing process involves additional considerations. The conveyancer examines the lease terms, service charges, ground rent, and other lease-related obligations. They also ensure compliance with lease conditions and handle the transfer of the lease from the seller to the buyer.

3- Shared Ownership

Definition: Shared ownership is a government-backed scheme where a buyer purchases a share (usually 25% to 75%) of a property and pays rent on the remaining share owned by a housing association or developer.

Implications in Conveyancing: Conveyancing for shared ownership properties involves specific considerations. The conveyancer ensures compliance with the shared ownership scheme rules, assists in determining the share valuation, handles the lease agreement, and addresses any staircasing (buying additional shares) or resale restrictions.

4- Commonhold Ownership

Definition: Commonhold ownership is a relatively new form of property ownership in which a person owns a freehold unit within a building or development, along with a share of the common areas and facilities.

Implications in Conveyancing: Conveyancing for commonhold properties involves the transfer of individual unit ownership along with the commonhold association membership. The conveyancer verifies the commonhold community statement, ensures compliance with the commonhold regulations, and handles the necessary legal documentation for the transfer.

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5- Flying Freehold

Definition: Flying freehold occurs when part of a property overhangs or underlies another property, typically in a multi-unit building. It creates a situation where a portion of a property is owned by someone who does not own the entire building.

Implications in Conveyancing: Conveyancing for properties with a flying freehold requires additional due diligence. The conveyancer investigates the extent of the flying freehold, ensures necessary agreements or licenses are in place, and advises on any potential issues that may arise due to this ownership arrangement.

Property Ownership FAQs

How long can a leasehold property last?

Leasehold properties typically have long lease terms, often ranging from 99 years to 999 years. However, shorter leases, such as 50 or 75 years, are not uncommon, especially for older properties.

What are service charges in leasehold properties?

Service charges are payments made by leaseholders to cover the costs of maintaining and managing the communal areas and services within a leasehold property. They can include expenses for building repairs, insurance, cleaning, and other shared amenities.

Can I convert a leasehold property to freehold?

In some cases, it may be possible to convert a leasehold property to freehold through a process known as leasehold enfranchisement or leasehold extension. However, this process can vary depending on local laws and specific circumstances.

Why is it important to understand the type of property ownership before purchasing?

Understanding the type of property ownership is crucial as it affects your rights, responsibilities, and potential costs associated with the property. It helps you make informed decisions, assess long-term implications, and navigate the conveyancing process smoothly.

Conclusion

Understanding the different types of property ownership is crucial in the conveyancing process. Each type carries unique legal and financial implications that need to be carefully considered and addressed during the buying or selling process. Working with an experienced conveyancer is essential to navigate the specific requirements and ensure a smooth transfer of ownership.

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