The feudal origins of leasehold land has a lot to do with the Normans. Bayeux Tapestry
How is it possible to buy something and yet still not own it? Leasehold estate is one of the earliest inventions in land law, under which land or property is sold on a long lease of many decades or even centuries, but where the ultimate ownership, or freehold, does not change hands, and the property is returned to the freeholder if the lease expires. But its continued existence in Britain has proved increasingly controversial, as freeholders extract considerable sums from leaseholders during the process of lease renewal.
Exorbitant lease renewal fees and spiralling ground rents – as demonstrated in the recent controversy about leasehold houses – have left leaseholders in England and Wales feeling increasingly exploited. Now, a long-running case due before the Court of Appeal could curb the power of freeholders, some of which include centuries-old aristocratic estates.