Leaseholders Rights

Why do you have a lease?

If you live in a flat or a maisonette, this will be part of a larger building occupied by other tenants and leaseholders. There will usually be a property next to or above or below yours, which is still within the same building. You will share things like the roof, the stairs and / or lifts of the building and the foundations. These shared areas or spaces need to be looked after by the landlord for the benefit of all the residents and the costs will be shared among them. This type of ownership is called leasehold.

The lease

When you purchase a leasehold property, you undertake a legal agreement, which allows you to live in your home for a set period. For Right To Buy leases this is usually 125 years. This is referred to as the lease term. The Council, your landlord and freeholder, owns the land and the building on which your property is built.

If you purchased your property on the open market, the seller will have transferred the rights and responsibilities set out in the terms of the lease to you for the remainder of term. This is called an assignment. You will have signed an undertaking to adhere to the terms of the lease.

For some of our properties we are not the freeholder. In these cases the lease between the Council and purchaser is referred to as an under lease. However, it works in almost the same way as if the Council did own the freehold.

The lease describes the property you own and the areas are identified in a plan. The plan shows where your property is situated in relation to other parts of the building and will show if it includes a private garden. If your home is situated on an estate, this will be shown in the plan.

Why you pay Ground Rent

Because the lease is a form of tenancy you have to pay rent to the landlord, this is referred to as the ground rent and is usually a fixed amount of £10.

What you are responsible for:

As the leaseholder you are responsible for the following:

– The inside walls, which are not part of the main structure
– Ceilings and flooring but not ceiling or floor joists
– Decorations in the house
– Doors and doorframes
– Window glass but not frames
– Sanitary fixtures/fittings
– Central heating and hot water systems (unless you are on a communal system)
– Gardens (if you have one)
– Tanks, pipes, plumbing, wiring, drains and other fittings for gas, electricity, which just serve your home.

There are other conditions, which are outside the terms of the lease and are therefore the responsibility of the leaseholder these include :

– Council tax
– Gas, electricity and water rate charges
– Residents parking
– Garage rental
– Contents insurance.

Your responsibilities under the terms of your lease.

– You are responsible for payment of your service charges and ground rent.
– You must also ensure that your home is in good condition.
– You should not undertake to alter the structure or include any additions without due consent in writing.
– You must not allow anyone in your household including yourself or any guest to do anything, which might cause damage, is a nuisance or disturbance to any of the other residents in your building or any neighbouring buildings.

Your rights

The lease sets out your rights of access to your home and the shared parts of the estate or block and the use of shared facilities and services to your block or estate.