Legal Guidance

Acquiring new property

Acquiring new property

There are two types of ownership of property under our legal system, freehold and leasehold.  Freehold ownership is what people would normally regard as absolute ownership, as opposed to leasehold ownership which lasts only for a fixed period, or for a period that can be terminated.

  • The procedure for acquisition of high value leases can be very similar to that for the acquisition of freehold property but with additional negotiation on the lease term.  For shorter leases with simple terms some or nearly all of this procedure is often omitted, but at some risk to the tenant organisation. [Sale and purchase procedure]
  • Some of the restrictions on what you can do with leasehold property can also apply to a freehold property. [Changes checklist]
  • A lease is a form of contract and it is also a form of temporary ownership in land. [Lease or licence?].
  • It is important to be robust but practical when negotiating a lease.  Local authority landlords should not seek to limit your financial and operational effectiveness and commercial landlords may be well disposed to voluntary sector occupiers. [Principles of negotiation of new leases]
  • The length of a lease term is crucial for strategic planning but will be influenced by the landlord’s plans as well as your own. A lease may or may not include rights of security of tenure under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.  [Landlord and Tenant Act 1954]
  • Break rights in a lease exercisable by you as tenant can provide flexibility but break rights exercisable by the landlord can be extremely inconvenient. [Break rights]
  • You should be sure that you are getting value for money with respect to the rent that you are paying and are not exposed to unnecessary risks. [Rent and rent review]
  • There are Value Added Tax issues that can potentially affect the rent and other sums payable under a lease. [Value Added Tax]
  • You should be careful of issues that can unduly restrict the way that you use the property. [Permitted use]
  • Service charge provisions in leases can cause serious financial problems. [Service charge]
  • Repairing obligations can also be a massive source of financial risk. [Repair]
  • A lease is an “interest in land” and there may be necessary legal procedures after it has been granted to you that are similar to those relating to a freehold purchase. [Procedures following the grant of a lease]

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