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Peppercorn Ground Rent: Definition and Basics

Updated: Sep 17, 2023


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Peppercorn ground rent is a type of leasehold arrangement where a leaseholder is required to pay a nominal sum of rent, often as little as one penny per year, to the freehold landlord. The term "peppercorn" refers to the small amount of rent that is paid, similar to a tiny peppercorn. This type of rent is commonly found in long-term leases of properties and is often used in situations where the freehold landlord wants to retain ownership of the land while allowing the leaseholder to occupy and use it.

Peppercorn Ground Rent: Examples

One example of peppercorn ground rent is a situation where a local council owns a piece of land and leases it to a community group for a period of 99 years. The council charges the group a peppercorn rent of one penny per year for the duration of the lease. This allows the group to use and occupy the land for their community activities, while the council retains ownership of the land.

Another example is when a developer purchases a piece of land with an existing leasehold arrangement. The developer may be required to pay a peppercorn rent to the original landlord to keep the leasehold agreement in force.

Legal Implications of Peppercorn Ground Rent

While peppercorn ground rent may seem like a negligible amount, it has legal implications that leaseholders and freehold landlords should be aware of. For example, if a leaseholder fails to pay even a nominal amount of rent, they could be in breach of their lease agreement, which could result in legal action being taken against them. Furthermore, if a leaseholder wishes to sell their property, they may need to obtain consent from the freehold landlord, who could refuse to grant it, potentially causing difficulties for the leaseholder.

If you are unsure who your freehold landlord is, 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.

How to Get Peppercorn Ground Rent

If you're interested in obtaining peppercorn ground rent for a property you own or are interested in leasing, it's important to understand the legal requirements involved. You may need to consult with a lawyer or solicitor to ensure that your lease agreement complies with all relevant laws and regulations.


Peppercorn ground rent is a unique type of leasehold arrangement that can be beneficial for both freehold landlords and leaseholders. However, it's important to understand the legal implications involved and to ensure that all agreements are in compliance with the law.

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