Never buy a lease, my grandad said. He was right. Of course, sometimes you have to do it. Most flats are structured as leases, because UK property law struggles with making long-term obligations run with freeholds. It needs to be reformed so it can do it that more easily (how is for another post), then leases could do what they are best at - providing short and medium term property solutions for people and businesses.
Leases are not well suited to long-term residential as they put all the burdens on the tenant and withhold long-term ownership. There are rules to extend and buy them out, but they are complex and expensive.
Until reform comes, that's the way it's going to stay. So until that fine faraway day, remember my old grandad, and make sure you are buying a freehold.
When putting pen to paper to buy a new home, most people expect to know how much they will need to pay to own it outright. But thousands of families in England and Wales are discovering the houses they bought are not all they seemed.