Leaseholders

Types of Lease

Your lease describes your block and estate.  By signing the lease, you agree to pay a share of the cost of maintaining and improving them.  The lease also sets out your rights and duties, and ours.  It is important that you understand these.  There is more information about your rights in the booklet ‘The Management of Flats – the rights and duties of landlords and tenants’, which you can get from the Homeownership Team.  (‘Tenants’ also means ‘leaseholders’.)

The Council has two main types of lease: 

Green maisonette leases

(Copies of this type of lease that we send to tenants before they buy are normally printed on green paper).

A ‘green’ lease applies mainly to houses that have been converted into two flats – one upstairs and one downstairs.

As well as ground rent and buildings insurance, you must also pay a service charge for electricity that is used in any shared areas (if this applies to your flat) and repairs to shared areas such as the roof, entrance door and so on. You must also pay a management fee for us to supervise the services and repairs. The costs are normally divided equally between the two flats involved unless they are very different in size.

We do not normally carry out routine services to flats sold on this type of lease except possibly to any shared lighting. Because of this, we do not estimate service charges in advance. We only charge you when we know the actual costs. At the end of each financial year we check to see whether any repairs or improvements were carried out to your ‘block’. We also find out how much electricity has been used in shared areas. Then we charge you your share of the cost. We will send you details of these costs with your insurance bill in September.

If your property was sold on a ‘green lease’ the lease does not specify who is responsible for window frames, so we allow leaseholders of these properties to take responsibility for them. We will only repair, maintain or replace windows to green lease properties at the leaseholders expense, if the leaseholder fails to do so.

White block leases

We sell most Council flats on this type of lease. It applies to blocks with more than two flats in them. You must pay a regular service charge in advance for repairs and services we provide to the flat, the block or the estate. You must also pay a management fee for us to supervise services, deal with enquiries and manage the account.

At the start of each financial year (1 April), we will send you an estimate of how much we think it will cost to provide services such as caretaking and cleaning and day-to-day repairs to your block and estate for the coming financial year. We will base your service charge bills on that estimate.

At the end of each financial year, we work out how much it has actually cost us to provide services to your block and estate, and compare it with what you have been charged. Then, in September we send you a ‘Schedule of Service Charges’. This is a statement showing the actual costs for each service. It lists the cost of each service separately and also your share of the total cost. If we have charged you too much over the year, we will show your credit on the October invoice. If we have not charged you enough, we will ask you to pay more.

Your share of the costs covers the charges for your flat, the block it is in and the estate it is on.

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