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Is a 125-Year Lease Long Enough? Pros and Cons of Long-Term Leases

Updated: Sep 17, 2023


 
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Leasing property has become a popular alternative to buying, especially in urban areas where property prices are high. One common type of lease is the 125-year lease, which is commonly used for residential and commercial properties in the UK. But is a 125-year lease long enough? In this article, we'll explore the pros and cons of a 125-year lease, as well as some factors to consider when deciding on lease length.



Understanding Long-Term Leases


Before we dive into the pros and cons of a 125-year lease, it's important to understand what a long-term lease is. A lease is a legal agreement between a freehold landlord and a leaseholder that sets out the terms of the tenancy. A long-term lease is a lease that lasts for a significant amount of time, usually 99 years or more. Long-term leases are typically used for residential and commercial properties and are designed to provide security of tenure for the leaseholder.



Pros of a 125-Year Lease


There are several advantages to a 125-year lease:

  • Security of Tenure: A 125-year lease provides long-term security of tenure for the leaseholder. This means that the leaseholder has the right to occupy the property for the entire lease period, subject to the terms of the lease.

  • Low Ground Rent: Ground rent is the rent paid by the leaseholder to the freehold landlord for the use of the land on which the property is built. With a 125-year lease, the ground rent is usually low and fixed, which can make the property more affordable for the leaseholder.

  • Potential to Build Equity: A 125-year lease can provide the leaseholder with an opportunity to build equity in the property. This is because the leaseholder can sell their leasehold interest in the property to a new leaseholder, usually at a profit.



Cons of a 125-Year Lease


Despite the advantages, there are also some disadvantages to a 125-year lease:

  • Depreciation: Over time, the value of a leasehold property can depreciate as the lease gets shorter. This can make it more difficult to sell the property, and the value may decrease as the lease approaches its expiry date.

  • Maintenance Costs: The leaseholder is responsible for maintaining the property during the lease period. This can include repairs, upkeep, and maintenance costs, which can add up over time.

  • Limited Control: The leaseholder may have limited control over the property. This is because the freehold landlord may have restrictions on what the leaseholder can do with the property, such as making structural changes or subletting the property.



Alternatives to a 125-Year Lease


If a 125-year lease doesn't suit your needs, there are some alternatives to consider:

  • Shorter Lease: If you don't need the security of a long-term lease, you may be able to negotiate a shorter lease. This can provide more flexibility and lower costs, but may also mean less security of tenure.

  • Freehold Purchase: If you have the means, you may be able to purchase the freehold of the property. This means that you own the land and the property outright, with no time limit on the ownership.

  • Shared Ownership: Shared ownership schemes allow you to purchase a portion of a property and pay rent on the remaining portion. This can be a more affordable option for those who can't afford to buy a property outright.


If you are unsure who your freehold landlord is or want more information about your leasehold interest, at Land Registry Online, we offer a Title Register service that allows you to easily obtain this information. Simply select the desired documents, complete your details, and you will receive your documents by email within a few hours.



Factors to Consider When Deciding on Lease Length


When deciding on the length of your lease, there are several factors to consider:

  • Your Future Plans: Consider your long-term plans for the property. If you plan to stay in the property for a long time, a longer lease may be more appropriate. If you're unsure about your future plans, a shorter lease may be more suitable.

  • Property Value: Consider the current and potential future value of the property. A longer lease may increase the property value, but a shorter lease may decrease it.

  • Ground Rent: Consider the ground rent payable under the lease. A lower ground rent may make the property more affordable, but may also mean less security of tenure.



How to Extend or Renew a 125-Year Lease


If you have a 125-year lease and wish to extend or renew it, there are several options available:

  • Lease Extension: You may be able to extend the lease for an additional period, usually 90 years. This can provide long-term security of tenure and may increase the property value.

  • Lease Renewal: If the lease has expired, you may be able to negotiate a new lease with the freehold landlord. This can be more complicated than a lease extension and may involve additional costs.

  • Enfranchisement: Enfranchisement is the process of purchasing the freehold of the property. This can be a more expensive option, but can provide complete ownership of the property.



Summary: Is a 125-Year Lease Long Enough?


So, is a 125-year lease long enough? The answer depends on your individual circumstances and needs. A 125-year lease can provide long-term security of tenure, low ground rent, and potential for equity growth. However, it may also come with maintenance costs, limited control, and the risk of depreciation over time.


When deciding on the length of your lease, consider your future plans, the property value, and the ground rent payable. And if you have a 125-year lease and wish to extend or renew it, explore your options carefully and seek professional advice.



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