Home Move FAQ and Jargon Buster

Here you will find frequently asked questions and explanations of some of the jargon and legal language associated with the home moving process.

Although in some cases such as new developments with common areas or private roads, there could be estate charges attached to a freehold property, they are not usually subject to additional fees or charges other than your usual council tax, household bills and payments to a mortgage if you have one.

Leasehold properties often carry obligations to pay service charges to a management company, and in a number of cases also ground rent to a landlord. There are also possible additional costs and legal fees if you were to apply to extend a lease down the line once you have bought the property.

Service charges, sometimes known as Estate charges are fees payable to a management company who look after the common areas around your property. If you own an apartment or flat for example, this would pay for upkeep of the lobbies and stairwells as well as any communal gardens and other common areas around your building. Some housing estates also have service charges (sometimes called estate charges) for things like maintenance of unadopted roads and pavements (where the local authority is not responsible for looking after them), play or recreation areas, grass mowing and hedge trimming on common open areas on housing estates.

Service charges are often, but not always associated with leasehold properties, where they may also be charged alongside ground rent, but this is not always the case. Many housing estates with estate or services charges are made up of freehold properties, and as a result do not benefit from the same rights and protections as for leasehold properties, so estate charges can potentially be or become expensive.

Ground rent is an ongoing cost, usually charged to the owner of a leasehold property and paid to the landlord under the terms of a lease. It can sometimes be referred to a chief rent.

Sometimes ground rent may be referred to as a ‘peppercorn’ rent which usually means that it is such a small or nominal value that in practice it is never actually demanded by the landlord, but this will not always be the case. Generally a demand for a monetary ground rent is legally required to be paid. It may also be reviewed and increased under the terms of the agreement.
Failing to pay could mean the landlord reclaims the property for failing to adhere to the agreement.

You should always refer to the lease and any other related agreements to confirm what applies to the specific property you are buying. This information will be obtained from the seller or one of the other organisations involved in ownership of the property.

Please note that all information provided in this FAQ is for general reference only. It should not be used as a sole or definitive source, nor is it intended to be used for decision making in place of appropriate advice from a qualified legal professional. As such the information is provided as-is and Brevis cannot accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage resulting from any errors or ommission in, or any reliance on, information contained in this guide.