Freehold (law)

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In certain jurisdictions, including the UK's England and Wales and Scotland, a freehold (also called frank-tenement and franktenement) is the ownership of real property, being the land and all immovable structures attached to such land. This is opposed to a leasehold in which the property reverts to the owner of the land after the lease period has expired.[1] Immovable property includes land and all that naturally goes with it, such as buildings, trees or underground resources, but not such things as vehicles or livestock (which are movable).

A freehold estate could be transferable to the owner's "heirs and assigns" (successors by inheritance or "purchase" [including gift], respectively), in which case it was a "fee simple" estate. When transfer, by inheritance or otherwise, was limited to lineal descendants ("heirs of the body"/"heirs of the blood") of the first person to whom the estate was given, this was a "fee tail" estate. There were also freehold estates not of inheritance, such as an estate for life.

For an estate to be a freehold it must possess two qualities: immobility (property must be land or some interest issuing out of or annexed to land); and ownership of it must be of an indeterminate duration. If the time of ownership can be fixed and determined, then it cannot be a freehold.

A freeholder, or one who is in freehold, was therefore not a vassal.

Additional explanations[edit]

A substantial freehold means a "large" holding.


  1. ^ Roberts, Chris (2006). Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind Rhyme. Waterville, Me.: Thorndike Press. ISBN 0-7862-8517-6. 

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