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Freehold Estate


To understand the difference between a non-freehold and freehold estate, you first need to understand what an estate is. The estate is all of a person’s net worth. This includes their possessions, land, and any other additional assets they might own. An estate is separated into two classifications, non-freehold estates and freehold estates. A non-freehold estate is one that involves tenants, while a freehold estate is one that focuses on ownership.


An estate that can exist forever or for a lifetime, meaning that it can be of infinite duration, is a freehold estate. When an estate goes beyond the life of the owner of the estate and continues on through the descendants or heirs that are living after the death of the owner. This is often done through the use of a will or by the law of the area. This is also known as an estate of inheritance.

Another type of freehold estates are life estates or estates not of inheritance, is one that only lasts for the time frame of a person’s life.

Examples of A Freehold Estate:    

Those that are inheritable by the beneficiaries of the owner and continue for a time period that is indefinite are freehold estates, also known as defeasible fee estates,  and

Understanding Non-Freehold Estates

Any interest in real estate that is less than a freehold estate is a non-freehold estate. This type of estate is not able to be inherited and is said that it exists without ownership, or seisin, being involved.

This variation of estate can also be referred to as a leasehold estate when it is made using a rental agreement or leasing agreement. When a person holds a non-freehold estate, they are known as the lessee or tenant, and they do not hold ownership in any way for the property. All ownership interest remains with the landlord or lessor. The lessee, or tenant, only has the right to use the property in ways that were formed in the set terms of the lease or agreement.

Non-Freehold Estate Types

An estate that is non-freehold involves tenants and that is why they are considered tenancies. There are four different types of tenancies, these are:

▏             Tenancy from Period to Period

▏             Tenancy at Sufferance

▏             Tenancy at Will

▏             Tenancy for Years

The difference between these are as follows.

A tenancy from period to period is when an estate exists for a defined amount of time, but can be renewed automatically, unless the lessor or lessee terminate the agreement after giving proper notice. This type of tenancy can be from month to month, year to year, day to day, or week to week, as long as it is from one period of time to another defined period of time. This type of estate is also known as periodic tenancies and can have indefinite duration periods as they are able to be renewed continuously.

The tenancy at sufferance is the lowest type of estate in law, which is also known as an estate at sufferance. This type exists due to circumstance and is not created on purpose. An example of this tenancy is when a person enters a property legally, but stay on the property without the permission or consent of the owner. A tenant at sufferance is similar to a trespasser, other than the fact that a tenant at sufferance, at one point, had a right to be on the property, but has now overstayed their welcome. A tenant that remains after the lease is terminated without consent from the owner is a tenant at sufferance. This tenant can be evicted without notice at any time in this situation.

An at Will Tenancy, also referred to as an at Will Estate, is a tenancy that both a lessee and a lessor will find more agreeable. It can be terminated at will by either the lessee or the lessor. Often in an agreement of this type language in the lease agreement will include that this lease can be ended instantly if notice has been given. Often, tenants are given a specific amount of time to leave the property after this. This type of lease is often favored by landlords who have a property listed for sale, and it would permit them to have tenants vacate the property when sold. A tenant might prefer this type of tenancy if they are only intending to rent for a limited amount of time, such as waiting to move into a new home or before moving.

The final type of tenancy, a tenancy for years is a type of estate that was formed from a lease. An estate for years is another name for this. An agreement contract where the tenant has a leasehold specific interest for a duration period on a real estate property is a lease.There is a particular beginning and terminating date for such time periods. As long as the lease is set for a specific defined timeframe, it is considered a tenancy for years, even if the defined time is a month period. This type of lease is terminated after that specific time frame on its own without a need for notice for either of the parties involved.

Final Facts

The classifications for estates in land can be sorted as freehold or non-freehold estate with a broad system. Freehold estates often indicate there is ownership, while a non-freehold estate often involves a tenant and landlord, as well as a lessee and lessor agreement. A rental can have several types of non-freehold estates applying to it after a period of time.