Leaseholder information

You should always check with us before carrying out any substantial building work to your home as you may need our permission to:

  • carry out any alteration that affects or extends the structure of the building
  • change the way any of the external areas are used
  • alter the layout of the property
  • knock through internal walls

You must also seek permission if you wish to change any part of the property that we are normally responsible for, such as doors and windows. 

We may recharge the costs of putting right any defective or dangerous work and legal action may be considered for breach of the lease or restrictions if any unauthorised alterations are carried out.

Contact your Neighbourhood Manager to discuss whether permission is needed for any work you intend to carry out.

As a leaseholder of the council, you will still have access to our estate management services and Neighbourhood Management team.

Your Neighbourhood Manager is still responsible for responding to any concerns about other council tenants or council-owned blocks and areas.

They are also responsible for carrying out statutory consultation processes with our maintenance teams regarding any major repairs or improvement works to be carried out and to which you will be asked to contribute through your service charges.

We consult all leaseholders if we intend to carry out major repair works to your property or block, or change any of the communal services we provide to which you are required to contribute under the terms of your lease. This is called section 20 consultation. 

Section 20 consultation is required if in any one year:

  • day to day repairs or major repair work will result in charges of more than £250
  • service or contract for services entered into under a long term agreement will result in charges of more than £100


The following actions will be taken during the consultation period. 

Notice of intention to carry out works

This will be sent advising you of the intent to carry out works and include any estimate costs that you will have to pay.

 If the works are to go out to tender, leaseholders will be invited to nominate a contractor to be asked to tender for the work.

Notice of estimates This will be sent advising you of the tender amounts received and inviting your comments on them.
Notice of award of contractThis notice will be sent when we have decided who to award the contract to.  This notice is not required if:
a)    the winning contractor was the lowest tender
b)    the winning contractor was one nominated by a leaseholder

Once the consultation processes have been completed, the work will commence. 

A Contract Surveyor and a Neighbourhood Manager will be responsible for all day to day contact during the period of the work. They will resolve all day to day issues arising out of the work and liaise with tenants and leaseholders to arrange access.

Once the works have been completed the final cost of the works will be added to your service charge account and depending on the type of work we may collect your contribution over 1, 3 or 10 years. This spreads the repayments for major repair work over a period of time and is interest-free.  

Examples of instalment recovery for major repair work include: 

Type of work  Recovery period
Replacement windows and GRP doors3 years
Renewal of roof10 years
Renewal of door entry systems10 years
Renewal of fire alarm systems10 years


You can apply to renew or extend your lease after you have owned the property for at least 2 years. You will be required to cover costs incurred as part of the process including the the cost of evaluating the property, solicitor and other legal fees.

Next Steps

The extending of a lease can give the council the opportunity to review the terms and conditions to take into account any changes it has made to its' lease agreements; services that are provided to the property; or other terms and conditions that have been updated since the original lease was granted.

Ending a lease

Even if an extension is granted, the council still has some rights to end a lease early if the block or property is required for redevelopment purposes. After a lease has ended and if it has not been extended, there is no automatic right to a new one.

You will still be able to occupy the property until such time the council has decided whether to either grant you a new lease, grant a periodic tenancy to make you a council housing tenant again, or commence legal proceedings to recover possession of the property.

In any event, you will not be forced to leave the property until the council has obtained a court order.

You should seek independent legal advice about your housing situation if you are approaching the end of your lease agreement.

As a leaseholder, you take over nearly all day to day repair responsibilities for inside your home.

You are responsible for keeping:

  • the property clean and tidy
  • the property in good decorative condition and repair 
  • any communal areas and grounds free from stored items and rubbish

We are responsibility for:

  • external walls and the roof
  • window frames, locks and mechanisms (does not include lost window keys, cracked or broken glazing)
  • entrance door and outhouse storage doors (does not include internal doors or lost keys)
  • communal areas
  • pipework running through the building serving all flats

We may, at our own discretion, agree to carry out certain repairs that you as the leaseholder are responsible for to protect the safety and security of the property and other residents within the block. Any such repairs will be recharged to you upon completion.

Refer to your lease agreement for details on repairs if you are unsure as to who is responsible. 

As a leaseholder you will be required to contribute towards certain costs called service charges. 

At the beginning of each financial year we will set your quarterly invoices. The amount charged is the amount it costs to provide the service.

Services may include:

General repairs and maintenance

(day to day repairs)

  • aerials
  • door entry systems
  • communal lighting and heating
  • fire alarms
Grounds maintenance
  • grass cutting
  • pruning bushes
  • removal of fly tipping and graffiti
Communal Lighting
  • electricity for communal lights
  • buildings insurance
Management Fee
  • admin and income recovery costs
  • laundry facilities (where provided)
  • communal facilities or lounges

For both freeholders and leaseholds, If you were the first purchaser under the right to buy scheme, there are time limits on when you are able to sell the property.

These are:

Within 5 years: You may have to pay back some, or all, of the discount you were given as part of your application to buy the property

Within 10 years: You must offer to sell the property back to the council first before being allowed to put it on the open market. The council has the right to nominate another registered provider to purchase the property in its place.

If we do not wish to buy the property back, or nominate another registered provider to buy it in our place, we will consent to you putting the property for sale on the open market.

Properties sold under the right to buy scheme are transferred on either a freehold or leasehold basis. This depends on the type of property you are buying and where it is located.

Generally if your property is:

  • a flat or in a block you will be a leaseholder
  • a house you will usually be a freeholder

Your Section 125 offer notice and transfer documents will show whether your property was sold on a freehold or leasehold basis.


As a freeholder, you have purchased the property in its entirety, the land included will be detailed in the layout plan agreed prior to sale. You are not normally asked to pay service charges unless we intend to carry out work to areas around your property that you will benefit from. 

There will be restrictions that cover what you can and cannot do with the property. These restrictions are generally designed to protect against alterations to the property and gardens, or any other changes that would affect the overall appearance or management of the neighbourhood.

If you do breach any restrictions, you could be asked to put it right at your own cost or we could take legal action against you.


Leasehold is a transfer of a flat or house on a long lease arrangement as opposed to outright sale. The leases are normally for 125 years. As all leases within the same block should end at the same time, your lease may be slightly shorter if other flats in the block have already been sold.

Leases are legal documents and will contain all the terms and conditions covering your use and occupation of the property and any additional charges that you may have to pay towards the costs of services and major repairs to the building.  

You can also get free, independent advice on all leaseholder matters from the leasehold advisory service.

Last updated 17 April 2023