The Difference between Freehold and Leasehold Land

The Difference between Freehold and Leasehold Land 

In Australia land is generally referred to in two overarching categories:

  • Freehold land – is described in the previous topic and allows the owner the greatest amount of control and financial benefit. 
  • Leasehold land – is a land holding that is either leased or licensed to a person or company by the relevant State (as the Crown). Generally, under a lease the lessee is granted the right to exclusive occupation of the land. Under a licence, the licensee has a right of access on the land on certain defined conditions [1].

The difference between freehold and leasehold is determined by the four factors below and where each of these fall on a scale. It’s important to recognise that Native Title is leasehold and  while Aboriginal Freehold is classified closer to the freehold end of the scale for some factors, it’s closer to leasehold when looking at others [2]. 

  • Rent
  • Duration
  • Transferability
  • Restrictions on use

Refer to the table below to understand the key differences: 


Additional Resources (not required for quiz)

Understanding land tenure in Australia can be difficult, follow this link to a presentation on the differences and challenges of freehold vs leasehold. 


[1] Australian Trade and Investment Commission, 2020. Leasehold Land. Available at <>. 

[2] Terrill, L, 2015. Indigenous land reform: when is freehold better than leasehold? Available at <>.