The Council as landlord and freeholder of the block (the
‘Lessor’) is responsible for maintaining the structure and other
‘reserved parts’ of the buildings. The structure includes the
roofs, walls, window frames, foundations and so on.
The Council’s leases require leaseholders to pay a reasonably
estimated amount to cover the costs and expenses “incurred or to be
incurred by the Lessor in carrying out such improvements to the
Demised Property the Block the Reserved Property and/or the Estate
as the Lessor shall in its absolute discretion deem necessary and
in carrying out the obligations or functions contained in or
referred to in this Clause and Clauses 5 and 7 hereof and in the
covenants set out in the Ninth Schedule hereto….”
This means that under the terms of their leases, leaseholders
are legally required to pay their share of any costs that the
Council or Waltham Forest Housing (as managing agents for the
Council), incurs in carrying out the Council’s obligations such as
repairing or renewing the roof or windows to the block.
Where we replace windows, leaseholders have to pay their share
of the overall costs for their block, whether we replace all the
windows in the block, or only some of the windows. Where any
residents have replaced windows to their flats themselves, we may
not need to renew them (depending on the type, age and condition of
the windows and whether the leaseholder obtained landlord's
permission for the work).
When we grant ‘landlords permission’ for a resident to replace
windows themselves, we have to make sure that the specification is
satisfactory and one of the conditions we have to impose is that
the new windows must be in keeping with the rest of the block.
Essentially this means that the shape and size of the window
aperture (the hole in the wall that the window fits into) should
not be changed and the style of the windows should not be very
different from others in the block, to prevent spoiling the overall
appearance of the building (which would also be of benefit to any
leaseholders who wish to sell their flat).
Another condition of granting landlord’s permission is that we
will not be required to reduce the service charge as a result of
granting the permission. This policy is standard practice in
leasehold management nationally and is supported by the courts.
If a leaseholder replaces windows to their flat either with or
without landlord’s permission, it does not remove their
responsibility under the terms of the lease, to pay their share of
any costs we incur on the reserved parts of the block, including
when we renew or replace windows to other flats in the block.
In deciding whether to renew windows that residents may have
previously replaced themselves, we must consider long-term
maintenance costs for the block. For example, it would not make
sense for us not to replace windows to some flats during a contract
if it means that the windows will only need replacing in say,
another 5 years time or so - because of the costs of setting up
another contract, erecting more scaffolding (if required) and so
on, the costs of which would then have to be passed on to the
The glass in the windows
When existing window frames are removed it is inevitable that
the glass in the frames would either break or become unusable.
Having damaged the glass, we are responsible for replacing it.
However, we can include the cost of doing this in leaseholders’
service charges, despite the fact that the lease says that the
glass in the windows is the leaseholder’s responsibility.
Under the terms of the ninth schedule of the lease, the Council
must ‘keep in good and substantial repair and condition (and
whenever necessary rebuild and reinstate and renew and replace all
worn or damaged parts), the main structure of the block’ including
windows, in the block. The lease also says that the landlord must
manage the block for the purposes of keeping the block in a
condition similar to its present state and condition and that the
landlord may carry out all such other works in respect of the block
or the estate that the landlord considers reasonable.
While the Council is under an obligation to keep in repair the
frames of the windows, we consider it reasonable and practical to
replace the glass at the same time as we replace the frames. Clause
3 (a) of the lease allows the Council to charge a service charge in
respect of all the works it is entitled/obliged to carry out under
the terms of the lease. So because the lease allows us to replace
the glass as part of the improvement/repair works we are also
entitled to charge for replacing the glass in leaseholders’ service
The position is the same for leaseholders who have already
replaced their own windows and those who have not. The fact that a
leaseholder has already replaced his or her windows does not exempt
him/her from contributing to the cost of the block replacement in
accordance with Clause 3 of the Lease.
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