If you’re a leaseholder, your lease agreement gives you the right to live in your property for a specified length of time. It also sets out your responsibilities as the leaseholder and our responsibilities as the freeholder, including the circumstances where we can end your lease.
In some circumstances, you can extend or change your lease. To do this, or to alter or improve, sell or sub-let your home, or end your lease, you’ll need to follow special procedures, some of which are set by law.
As a leaseholder, you’ll have to pay ground rent and a service charge each year.
Rights and responsibilities a leaseholder or freeholder
If you’re a leaseholder or freeholder, your rights and responsibilities are set out in detail in your lease or transfer agreement. In general, you’re responsible for:
- paying any service charge and rent
- getting our written permission before making any alterations to your home
- maintaining and repairing the inside of your home, including fixtures and fittings
- allowing our contractors access to your home to make necessary repairs (we must give you enough notice in writing), or immediately in an emergency.
As well as the rights set out in your lease, you’re protected by various laws. These include how we calculate your service charge, what you can do if you disagree with this, and how we should consult you about major works.
For example, we have to make sure both your actual and estimated service charges are reasonable and the work and services you’re paying for are of a reasonable standard.
We do not recommend you withhold payment of your service charge.
First Tier Property Chamber
If you’re not happy with our response, you have the right to go to the First Tier Property Chamber, an independent panel of professionals with expertise in handling leasehold disagreements. There is a fee for this, but you can apply by yourself or in a group with other leaseholders.
For more information and advice contact:
- The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE), which offers free legal advice on your lease.
- The Residential Property Tribunal Service.
Our responsibilities as a freeholder
As the freeholder of your property, our responsibilities are set out in your lease or transfer agreement. These include:
- cleaning and maintaining the estate
- insuring the building (leaseholders only)
- collecting your yearly service charges
- consulting with you before entering into a contract or starting work, in accordance with Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (as amended).
Repairs to the inside of your home are your responsibility, but we’re responsible for repairs to communal areas of your block and estates.