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. 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.
Rules of intestate succession for copyhold land almost always dictated male primogeniture in England and Wales. Land held in copyhold tenure, by contrast, was subject to many local variations, male primogeniture being the most common but not the unique form of inheritance in cases of intestate succession.
A substantial freehold means a "large" holding.
- Lease Extension or Freehold Purchase? An Introduction—Further information on freehold purchase and lease extension under UK law