Can houses be leasehold and freehold?
Yes, sort of, houses can be leasehold and freehold is the short answer. Its rarely an issue but I'll explain why this can happen and a couple of checks you should carry out just to be on the safe site.
OK a freeholder is the person who owns the land and the building. A leaseholder is allowed to use the property in limited ways after paying the freeholder something.
so say I'm the freeholder and I own a house. I say to you that if you give me £100,000 you can live in the house for the next 99 years. The house is now leasehold with a 99 year lease.
As freeholder I'll normally want some sort of annual payment as well - known as Ground Rent. It can be a really nominal amount, like £10 or very expensive.
After 10 years you might decide to sell the lease to someone else for £150,000 and you usually have the right to do this.
There are a huge amount of leaseholds in the UK and that includes many houses but as a leaseholder you have restrictions on what you do. If you want to add a conservatory you have to ask me, the freeholder, for permission. Its not a property to do with as you wish and after 99 years I, or whoever I leave the freeholder to if I don't make it that long, wants the property back in the same state that it was handed over.
As the freeholder I could also throw you out if you breached the terms of the lease like adding an extension without asking me.
So what if you turned round to me and said you wanted to buy the freehold and I said OK and we agreed on a price. After all the paperwork was done you would be both the freeholder and the leaseholder.
Now there are ways in which the paperwork can be merged so you simply become the leaseholder but life's short and you'd prefer to be playing golf than talking to solicitors about bits of paper and legal things.
When you come to sell you are then selling both the leasehold and the freehold and that is how a house can be both freehold and leasehold!
Double checking the lease before you buy
Now even though I may have sold you the freehold the lease may still contain obligations to me. It might say "You still have to pay Tim's Greedy Properties Ltd £1,000 per year".
So just because a house is both leasehold and freehold doesn't mean you are master of all that is there. Check the lease very carefully for obligations that might still exist to the original freeholder.