This section is designed to provide information for both prospective and existing leaseholders. Many of our leaseholders are first time buyers for whom owning a property is a new venture.
Please remember that if you experience any problems with your lease, you should always begin by referring to your lease or seek independent legal advice.
What is a lease?
A lease is a formal document which is the contract between you, as the leaseholder and us, as the freeholder. When you sign the lease or take over an existing lease when you buy your property, you are agreeing to certain responsibilities and so are we.
Before you purchase a leasehold property you must get your solicitor to explain the lease to you so you understand your responsibilities.
Can the lease be changed?
The lease will generally allow for the services and charges to be changed during the period of the lease. However, in general the conditions of the lease can only be changed if we both agree to the changes, or by the direction of a court or Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.
Will I pay service charges?
Under the terms of the Trust's leases leaseholders are required to contribute towards a service charge. The service charge is the amount paid by the leaseholder towards the day-to-day running costs of the block of flats, and a share of the costs of any major repairs. The charge represents the leaseholders share of the expenses for the maintenance, repair, insurance and management of the building. The Trust is legally required to collect service charges from leaseholders.
The service charge is likely to cover, where applicable:
- Grounds maintenance
- Building maintenance
- Management and administration costs
- Communal electricity.
You will be sent an annual invoice for your service charge, but if you would prefer to pay by instalments this can be arranged. The service charges are reviewed every year and are therefore subject to an increase although for the first 5 years this is restricted to inflationary increases only.
For further information use the links at the bottom:
How to pay service charges
What if I have difficulty paying
The current average service charge is £500 per year but your service charge may be higher or lower.
What about ground rent?
You will also be required to pay a ground rent of £10.00 per year. You will be sent an invoice for this.
What if the leaseholder doesn't pay?
We will contact you to try and establish the reason for non-payment. A payment agreement can be reached to pay by instalments if necessary. We will only consider taking formal action where this fails. We may then consider contacting your mortgage company or referring the matter to a Debt Collection Agency and/or Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.
What if the leaseholder fails to do what they are responsible for ?
We will contact you to discuss the matter and try to sort it out. We will only take formal action against you if this fails. On occasions we must take more action, for example, if you fail to carry out a necessary repair which may affect people's health and safety or cause a nuisance.
What if the Trust fails to carry out its duties?
Please contact the home ownership team on 01606 813350 at first instance to report the failing. The home ownership team will try to resolve matters on your behalf.
As a leaseholder you could make a formal complaint under our complaints procedure.
I bought my flat but now I want to sell?
Please contact the home ownership team on 01606 813350 at first instance. Your lease will also make reference to a sale on. A Notice of Assignment is required following a sale on and our fee is currently £40 plus Vat. If a Notice of Charge is also required a further fee of £40 plus Vat is payable.
For further information on our charges please use the link: Legal Team Charges
If you received a discount on the purchase and depending upon when you sell you may need to repay some or all of the discount. In some instances, this may be higher than the amount granted at the time of the sale depending on the legislation at that time and the current value of your home. The home ownership team will be able to advise you on this and the process you should follow.
For further information use the links below:
Preserved Right to Buy Frequently asked questions
Right to Acquire Frequently asked questions
Can I sublet my home?
Your lease will tell you if you need permission to sublet your home.
What repairs are the Trust responsible for?
Generally we are responsible for the outside of your property, the main structure and any shared areas and services.
However, please refer to the lease which will set out the repairing responsibilities.
If major works are required to the items for which the Trust is responsible, the Trust has to follow a legislative process called Section 20 which will ensure that you can make observations to the Trust about the major works.
How do I report a repair?
Please ring the Repairs team in the first instance on freephone 0800 318 259. This number may also be used outside normal working hours for emergencies only. You can also report a repair in person at any one of our offices.
If you experience difficulty in reporting a repair, please contact the Home Ownership Team on 01606 813350.
What repairs are the leaseholder responsible for?
Although we own the structure of the building in which you live, you as a leaseholder will be responsible for the parts of the dwelling that are not classed as communal or shared areas. These include:
- Individual heating systems and appliances
- Internal ceilings
- Internal doors
- All plaster and other surfaces to all floors, walls and ceilings within your home
- All plumbing and electrical services in your home
- Internal decorations
- Individual gardens
but check your lease for further detail.
Do I need permission to carry out repairs/improvements?
Please refer to your lease but some works will require permission which should be sought in writing from the Trust.
You will need a formal “Consent to Alterations “letter in some instances which may require a site visit. Our admin fee is currently £80 plus vat. (NB other fees may apply dependant on any enhancement value).
Does the Trust have a leaseholder group?
Not currently but we are looking into this but you may wish to set up an informal leaseholder group in your area.
You will be included on estate walkabouts and will receive corporate communications e.g. Your Home magazine from us.
Can leaseholders manage the services themselves?
By law, leaseholders can manage the services to the scheme themselves or appoint a managing agent if certain conditions are met. You may need to seek independent legal advice regarding this.
Future service developments
The Trust is in the process of producing a leasehold handbook. This will be made available on this website following publication.
For further information on this area please contact:
Sue Malek, Home Ownership Officer on 01606 813350 or email@example.com
Joanne Watkins, Company Solicitor on 01606 813345 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Service Charges - A Summary of Tenants Rights & Obligations (PDF, 83 KB)
- Thinking of buying your council flat (PDF, 216 KB)
- How to pay service charges (DOC, 28 KB)
- What if I have difficulty paying (DOC, 28 KB)
- Preserved Right to Buy Frequently asked questions (DOC, 31 KB)
- Right to Acquire Frequently asked questions (DOC, 31 KB)
- Legal Team charges (DOC, 29 KB)