As a leaseholder, you have bought the right to live in your property for a fixed number of years - initially up to 125 - called the 'term'. Although the term is fixed at the start, it decreases every year until it expires and the ownership of the property returns to us, unless you apply to extend the lease.
As a leaseholder, you will normally own and be responsible for everything within the four walls of your property, with the exception of pipes and drains that also serve other properties. As your landlord (or 'freeholder' or 'lessor'), we remain the owner of the overall building and the land it stands on and remain responsible for the maintenance and repair of the structure and exterior of the building.
There are two ways you can become the leaseholder of a flat where the council is the freeholder:
- Through the right to buy. This gives most existing council tenants the right to buy the property they live in at a discounted price which is based on how long you have been a tenant in the public sector (local authority, housing associations etc); or
- By buying the lease from the current leaseholder, who may or may not have originally bought the flat from us.
In both cases, you should get a solicitor or other suitably qualified person to act for you.
As the lease agreement is legally binding on you, it is important to understand its requirements and the charges you will be expected to pay. If you are buying the lease from existing leaseholders, your solicitor or advisor should make sure they have paid all the amounts due from them before the sale. If not, you may have to pay some of the charges they owed.
If you buy the flat from an existing leaseholder, you should tell us straightaway, as we have a right to know who is responsible for the property. We will then register your interest in the property. If you are the new owner, you will have to pay us a fee of £25.00 to register the transfer of the property to you and to record any interest that the bank or building society granting you a mortgage has in your property.
Here are the standards of service that you should expect from us if you are a leaseholder of one of our properties.
We aim to please by making sure that we give you enough information about your rights and responsibilities as a leaseholder, and provide opportunities for you to be involved in decisions about your home.
- Consult with our Leaseholders like you about general issues that will affect all leaseholders.
- Consult with you before carrying out major works to your block of flats, and before entering into long term contracts that you will be expected to contribute to through your service charge account, and take your views into account. This is called a Section 20 Consultation.
- Advise you of your estimated contribution towards the cost of any works or services.
- Promote and develop the opportunities that exist for your involvement within the housing service.
- Carry out repairs and services that we are responsible for to a high standard, and monitor your satisfaction.
- Provide you with a copy of our Leaseholders Handbook, which outlines your rights and responsibilities.
- Carry out comprehensive satisfaction surveys, and act upon the responses that we get to improve our services.
- Keep you up to date with changes in the law that will affect you as a leaseholder, and us as the freeholder, of your home, and amend our procedures accordingly.
You can help us by:
- Letting us know if you transfer your lease to anyone else.
- Completing any surveys that we send to you letting us know your views.
- Letting us know if we fail to meet any of these standards or if there are any aspects of our services that you are unhappy with.
We always try to provide the best service that we can but accept that sometimes mistakes and delays do occur. If you are not happy with something we have done or not done, you should contact the section whose details are given below. We will resolve your complaint or, if necessary, provide you with information about our customer complaints procedure
We also like to receive your opinion on what works well, so if a particular member of our staff or a service that we provide has impressed you, please let us know.
For further information about your lease, please contact our Leasehold and Right To Buy Officer by:
- Telephoning 01476 406023 or 07920 838118
- Writing to: Emma Hamilton - Leasehold and RTB Officer, Tenancy Services, South Kesteven District Council, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6PZ
- Or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org