Can people own land in the United Kingdom?..
This may appear to be a surprising question, to many people who own land in the UK, but it is a question often asked, and sometimes answered with a NO!!
Some people are under the impression that every house sold has a 99 year lease, and that the land reverts to the Queen after 99 years. And they are not afraid to tell others that, as a fact.
Can we actually own land in Britain?
Yes, we can, and it can be owned in perpetuity by us and our heirs. (Whoever we pass it on to after death).
When we buy a house, it is normally freehold, meaning we own it forever. Some properties are sold leasehold, and they may have 99 year leases, meaning the property reverts to the freehold owner of that property, after the lease term expires.
There is ONE situation where ownership of that land reverts back to the Crown, and it rarely happens, but YES, it can happen, but not while you are alive.
If you own land, and you die, with no one to pass it on to, and you haven’t made a will giving it to charity or someone, then it ends up with no owner. In that case it reverts back to the Crown (number 6 below).
This is what happens to your property, including your land, if you die without any planning:
If there is no surviving spouse/civil partner, the estate is distributed as follows:
- to surviving children in equal shares (or to their children if they died while the deceased was still alive)
- if there are no children, to parents (equally, if both alive)
- if there are no surviving parents, to brothers and sisters or to their children if they died while the deceased was still alive
- if none of the above then to grandparents (equally if more than one)
- if there are no grandparents to aunts and uncles (or their children if they died while the deceased was still alive)
- to the Crown if there are none of the above (through the Crown Solicitor’s Office)
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