Country houses for sale

Understanding Leasehold Property

If you own a flat in England or Wales, the chances are that it will be a leasehold. But to the average owner of a flat, the leasehold system remains something distant and impenetrable, akin to income tax assessment or the mysteries of VAT.

Kat Callo entered the ‘bewildering un-consumer-friendly world of leasehold/freehold’ in the early 90s upon her return to London from Hanoi where she ran the Reuters news bureau. She has now written a survival handbook designed for property owners to maximise the value and enjoyment of and control over their property in an imperfect legislative environment that borrows heavily from the feudal age.

The leasehold/freehold situation is unique to England and Wales – in no other country is the term ‘flat owner’ so often a misnomer. Owing to a legacy of the Norman Conquest, the Crown owns the land and all other entities can thereafter only own a specific interest, or type of partial ownership.

Leasehold property law nowadays is a potential minefield for owners with avenues such as collective enfranchisement, rights to manage and lease extensions to negotiate. Making Sense of Leasehold Property is an easily digestible, step-by-step guide for anyone wanting to maximise their rights as a leaseholder and use the recent reforms to the law to their benefit.

As so often is the case with handbook publications, Callo’s appendices are particularly helpful. Not only does she list the names, addresses and ? hooray ? websites of all the relevant organisations and associations but she also includes a helpful series of case studies which cover a series of situations, how they were approached, the outcome and any lessons learned in the experience.

Making Sense of Leasehold Property is available to buy through the Country Life online bookshop visit

It is also on sale at Waterstones, Borders, Tesco and Asda.