Distinction between a freehold from a leasehold ownership of land

Freehold ownership of land: This is a situation where the bundle of rights conferred upon the holder are exercisable for an indefinite duration. The state cannot determine the duration though it is the granting authority. A freehold owner can transmit the rights to future generations indefinitely.

  • The proprietor has the right to use, misuse and dispose the land.
  • Freehold ownership may be the land acquired by inheritance, enfranchisement, registration, transfer consolidation, conversion from other registers etc.
  • Examples include fee simple and absolute proprietorship.
  • If there is no one to inherit a freehold ownership is devolves upon the state by bonavacantia or the doctrine of escheatment.

Leasehold ownership of land

  •  This is a situation whereby a person acquires a secondary interest on the land of another for a specified duration.
  • A lease creates a relationship of landlord and tenant between the grantor and the grantee.
  • Leasehold consists of the quantum of rights conferred upon the lessee or grantee e.g. exclusive possession.
  • The lessee acquires the right to exclusive possession of defined premises for a certain duration and the rights conferred are definite or capable of being defined.
  • Leaseholders are acquired by contract and may terminate in various ways e.g. effluxion of time, surrender forfeiture, merger etc. whereupon the land reverts to the grantor. Examples include fixed period tenancy periodic tenancy, tenancy at will, at sufferance etc.
  • Both the lessor and lessee are subject to various obligations.
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