Understanding Share Freehold in Property Finance: Insights for Buyers and Professionals

Share of Freehold Mortgage Problems

Grasping the nuances of share freehold arrangements is essential in property finance, especially regarding their impact on mortgages and property management. This guide sheds light on these complexities, providing vital information for both buyers and finance professionals.

Share of Freehold Meaning

“Share of freehold” refers to a property ownership structure where a buyer acquires a stake in the property’s freehold, often managed through a company, alongside purchasing the lease of the property. This unique setup offers the leaseholder enhanced control over property management decisions, including lease extensions, insurance, and maintenance.

Separation of Freehold and Leasehold Interests

A key aspect of share freehold is that the freehold and leasehold cannot be owned by the same person or company. Typically, the freehold is held in a company structure, which is distinct from the leaseholder’s identity. For a main residence, the leasehold might be in the buyer’s personal name, whereas for an investment or buy-to-let purchase, it could be held under a different company. This separation ensures proper legal and financial delineation between the two interests. Learn more about investment properties on our Buy to Let page.

Share of Freehold Nightmare

While owning a share of the freehold offers several benefits, it can also lead to complications, often termed as “share of freehold nightmare.” These issues primarily arise from mismanagement or disagreements among the shareholders in the freehold company. Disputes over maintenance decisions, financial contributions, and lease extensions can create a challenging environment for owners.

Share of Freehold Mortgage Problems

A common issue in “share of freehold mortgage problems” stems from misunderstandings about the nature of the security on which lenders are providing a loan. Often, uninformed buyers may present their purchase to the lender as a freehold flat. However, this description can lead to confusion, as a freehold flat is typically not an acceptable form of security for most lenders. The buyer should emphasize that, despite acquiring a share of the freehold, the property should be regarded as leasehold for mortgage purposes. This clarity is crucial as the lender’s security is based on the leasehold interest, not the freehold.

Mortgage Considerations and Lease Length

The lease length is paramount in mortgage applications. The vendor must extend the lease to a sufficient length (usually over 85 years) before the sale’s completion. This is crucial for securing financing, as lenders require long leases for loan security. Cash buyers, while less affected by lease length, should still consider it for property valuation.

Vendor and Buyer Responsibilities

  • Vendor’s Role: The vendor is responsible for extending the lease to an acceptable length before selling the property, ensuring it meets the lender’s requirements.
  • Buyer’s Awareness: Buyers need to understand that they cannot extend the lease until after completing the property purchase. Verifying that the vendor has extended the lease is vital for a smooth mortgage process.

Effective Client Communication

Communicating the importance of lease length in mortgage applications and the vendor’s role in extending the lease is essential. Clients should be made aware of these critical elements to facilitate informed decisions and align property transactions with financing needs.


Understanding share freehold is crucial in property finance, particularly regarding lease length and mortgage implications. This knowledge enables buyers and professionals to navigate the complexities of property transactions effectively, ensuring a seamless process from start to finish. For further information, explore our range of services on the Services page.

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