What is the tenure of your property?


All properties registered at the Land Registry each have a tenure that is either freehold, leasehold or commonhold. Commonhold tenures are rare and not discussed in this article. The type of tenure describes whether or not you own the property outright or for a certain length of time and under certain conditions.

Freehold Tenure

The proper name for a freehold tenure is Fee Simple Absolute in Possession, which means that you own the property in its entirety, together with whatever is built upon the land. You own it until you die or otherwise dispose of it, without limitation of time. A freehold owner is entitled to sell the property, give it away, mortgage it, grant a lease to another party, etc. In other words he may do whatever he likes with it provided he keeps within the law.

Of course, there are some self-made restrictions, e.g. the grant of a mortgage or the grant of a lease; the owner would have to observe any conditions subjected to the property as a result, e.g. if he grants a right of way over part of his land. He is also bound by the general law so could not use the land for illegal purposes.

Leasehold Tenure

The proper name for a leasehold tenure is a Term of Years Absolute. Whenever there is a lease there is also a freehold. Many modern estates are sold as leasehold properties, and these often contain onerous terms to which the leaseholder is bound. A lease will be limited in time, e.g. for 99 years. As well as paying the purchase price a Lease will also be subject to payment of a yearly rent. In the past it was often very small, sometimes just a peppercorn (literally). These days much larger rents are more the norm, together with management fees payable to a company set up to manage the estate.

A leaseholder is bound by the terms of the lease, and so when obtaining the ownership documents the owner should include the Lease as one of the ownership documents. The law allows a leaseholder to negotiate for the purchase of an extension of time to the Lease, upon payment of a fee.

Ownership Documents



Title Register

The Land Registry Title Register holds data relating to the property ownership, purchase price, mortgage, tenure, covenants, rights of way, leases and class of title.


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Title Plan

The Title Plan shows an outline of the property and its immediate neighbourhood, and uses colours to identify rights of way, general boundaries and land affected by covenants.


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The lease will state which parts of the property are shared with others (the common parts), such as entrances, bin stores and car parking areas, and will usually have a detailed lease plan attached to it.


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