Leasehold History


Legislation passed by the Scottish parliament, including the Abolition of Feudal Tenure (Scotland) Act 2000, and the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004, effectively brought leasehold to an end in the country. More recently, the Long Leases (Scotland) Act 2012 automatically converted remaining long leases to outright ownership.

Northern Ireland

Redemption of ground rents in Northern Ireland is covered by the Ground Rents Act (Northern Ireland) 2001

England and Wales – The Feudal System

Under the terms of a lease agreement, the freeholder (the outright owner of the land or property) grants permission for a leaseholder to take ownership of the property for a specified period of time. This could range from 21 years to 999 years and during this time the leaseholder will pay ground rent to the freeholder. Freeholders lease property primarily for the initial premium paid by the original leaseholder for granting the lease; but in addition ground rent (often a token amount) will be payable over a long term, and this may be an attractive fixed income investment for some types of investor.


So far, the Welsh Assembly’s action amounts to non-legislative steps to attempt to curtailed poor practice in the sales of new leasehold houses. Sadly Freeholders, Agents and Developers have mostly ignored these.

Lloyd George made a speech in 1909 at Limehouse

“Look at all this leasehold system. This system it is the system I am attacking, not individuals is not business, it is blackmail …“What are they ? Ground rent is a part of it fines, fees; you are to make no alteration without somebody’s consent. Who is that somebody? It is the agent of the landlord. A fee to him. You must submit the plans to the landlord’s architect, and get his consent. There is a fee to him. There is a fee to the surveyor; and then, of course, you cannot keep the lawyer out. He always comes in. And a fee to him. Well, that is the system, and the landlords come to us in the House of Commons, and they say: If you go on taxing reversions we will grant no more leases. Is not that horrible? No more leases, no more kindly landlords, with all their retinue of good fairies agents, surveyors, lawyers, ready always to receive ground rents, fees, premiums, fines, reversions …”

How to help

If you want to see an end to Leasehold in Wales please let you MP, AM and local council members know. See our useful links for more information.