If you own a leasehold property you will have a lease, which is effectively a contract that gives you the right to occupy and use your property (usually a flat but in some cases a house) for a certain period of time.
The lease is of a predetermined length and will eventually expire, unless remedial action is taken to extend it. The actual building that houses a leasehold property is owned by the freeholder who is entitled to take back the keys of the property once the specified time period has elapsed. In reality, this day seldom comes because circumstances will force the leaseholder to do something about the diminishing lease and there are certain rights to remain in occupation paying a market rent for the use of the property. However, in theory, the property will revert to the ownership of the freeholder, who is sometimes referred to as the 'reversioner' as a result.
Leasehold enfranchisement legislation implemented from 1967 to 2014 has made it progressively easier for owners wishing to purchase their freehold (collectively with fellow leaseholders), extend their leases (individually) or exercise the Right to Manage their buildings (collectively), but leasehold as a topic is one that many consumers and even property investors in England and Wales do not fully understand.
ALEP is committed to raising awareness in the wider industry and to consumers, and ensuring that clients of our member firms receive both the information and support they need, as well as a thorough, quality service.