My and I husband are planning to get a new house, and we have been told that most of the houses available are on periodic lease. What would this entail exactly? Would we have full rights over our own property while we live there? To what extent would any property modification be allowed? I am also a little confused over how long the lease would be and to what extent would we be liable in case of damage to property under this periodic lease. And finally, is a lease the same as a rental?

Mike from Birmingham

Answer

The phrase “periodic lease” is usually used to describe a “periodic tenancy” which is what a fixed term tenancy becomes after the initial fixed term expires if the parties don’t sign a new fixed term agreement.  Is it possible a tenant is living in this property and it’s not being sold with vacant possession? 

It would be the tenant that had the lease and you would either have to agree with the vendor to evict the tenant prior to your purchase going through (which would be best) or deal with it yourself afterwards.  Many houses (although not all and it varies throughout the country) are freehold properties so there is no lease.  Sometimes a landlord owns the freehold and grants leases to the lessees (also called tenants). 

These leases are for usually for many years to start with, i.e. 99 or 199 years. The lessee could then rent the property on a fixed term “assured shorthold tenancy agreement” to a tenant who would then be on a periodic lease after the fixed term expired. 

As a lessee, you would have full rights over the property in as much as decorating inside but structural changes and anything to the communal parts/exterior would have to be approved by the landlord.  Lessees have the right to acquire the management of their building from the freeholder if the majority of them demand it with the correct legal procedure.

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  • jack says...

    posted on 09/01/2013 11:03:03

    A periodic tenancy has no 'end date', so does the Berrisford v Mexfield Housing Assoc case now mean that this is a 90 year lease ?

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