There are two ways of owning land in England and Wales: leasehold and freehold.
Owning the freehold means owning the building and the land it stands on outright, in perpetuity. They have responsibility for maintaining the fabric of the building – the roof and the outside walls. Whole houses are typically sold freehold
Leasehold means that you have a lease from the freeholder (landlord) to use the property for a number of years. Leases are usually long term – usually 90 to 120 years but sometimes as long as 999 years. The lease is the contract with the freeholder, which sets down the legal rights and responsibilities of both sides.
The freeholder will normally be responsible for maintaining the common parts of the building (entrance hall and staircase) as well as the exterior walls and roof. Leaseholders will have to pay maintenance fees, annual service charges and their share of the buildings insurance. Leaseholders normally pay an annual “ground rent” to the freeholder.