Freehold is the term given to a method of ownership whereby the owner has complete ownership over both the property and the land it sits on. This should apply to both the main property and to any outbuildings on the parcel of land that comes with it.
Freehold ownership is different to leasehold ownership. The latter gives the property owner the right to own the property for the term length specified. However, their rights do not extend to the land on which the building was constructed. A common example concerns a block of flats, where each flat would be on a leasehold basis.
While leaseholds are set for a specific period, freehold ownership has no limit to its length. Therefore, a freehold property and its applicable land would be owned outright, with no end date in sight for the term. In this scenario, a freehold ownership can be passed down through generations of the same family.
In some cases, other parties may potentially have certain rights of access even when a property and its land are subject to a freehold agreement. For example, bylaws may state that a public footpath crosses a portion of the land held by the owner. In this case, ramblers and walkers would legally have the right to use that footpath, although they could not stray off it onto other parts of the land covered by the freehold. Such elements should be highlighted in the details covering the land if the property is up for sale, so the potential new owners are aware of any such laws or restrictions.