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Leasehold ownership

In England and Wales most flats are owned on a long leasehold basis (i.e. with a term in excess of 21 years when first granted). It is also possible to own a house on a long lease. Essentially, long leaseholders buy a right to live in their property for a period of time. In blocks of flats, the management and maintenance is usually retained by the freeholder. The cost of carrying out this work is recoverable from long leaseholders in the form of a service charge, which is provided for in the lease. This tenure generates a good deal of dissatisfaction from residents concerning matters such as the level of service charges and the standard of services provided. Despite a good deal of legislative activity in this area, dissatisfaction remains.


Part 1 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 introduced the possibility of an alternative form of ownership in blocks of flats. However, it has failed to take-off and this has led to calls for a review of the legislation and action to make commonhold tenure compulsory in certain circumstances.

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