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Last Updated: Monday, 28 February, 2005, 13:25 GMT
Leaseholders given rights boost
A couple looking at property details in an estate agent's window
Leaseholders will enjoy greater protection
People who own a house on a leasehold, rather than freehold, basis will enjoy more rights from Monday.

Leaseholders will be able to choose their own buildings insurance while, in the past, freehold landlords could dictate which insurer should be used.

In addition, freehold landlords will be prevented from seizing leaseholders' property over debts smaller than 350.

Seizure will only occur with the permission of the courts or a leaseholder valuation tribunal.

The new rights come into force through the 2002 Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act.

OWNERSHIP EXPLAINED
Freeholders have the indefinite rights to the building and the land on which the property is built
Leaseholders enjoy the rights to the land and property for an agreed period of time, which has to be renewed
Commonhold allows indefinite freehold ownership of individual flats, houses and non-residential units within a building or an estate

Commonhold reform

In September - under the provisions of the same Act - commonhold was introduced as a new way of owning a property.

It was heralded as the biggest shake-up in home ownership laws for 80 years.

Under the commonhold system - in contrast to leasehold - there is no landlord. Every resident or "unit holder" in the property has equal rights.

The major advantage of commonhold for property owners is that possession is not restricted to a set period of time, as it is under the leasehold system.


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