Leaseholder rights and responsibilities
What does "leasehold" mean?
Leasehold ownership is simply a long tenancy, the right to occupation and use of the flat or maisonette for a long period, ie, the term of the lease. The term of the lease (this will usually be 125 years) is fixed at the beginning and so decreases in length year by year. The flat or maisonette can be bought and sold during the term.
When you purchase a flat or maisonette you are buying the right to occupy part of a larger building. The ownership of the flat or maisonette relates to everything within the four walls, including floorboards and plaster to walls and ceiling, but does not usually include the external or structural walls and roof. The structure and common parts of the building and the land it stands on are owned by the council, which is responsible for its maintenance and repair.
What is a lease?
A lease is a contract between the leaseholder and the council, giving conditional ownership for a fixed period of time, ie, the term.
The lease sets out the contractual obligations of the two parties: what the leaseholder has contracted to do, and what the landlord is bound to do.
Common terms used in the lease include:
- Leaseholder or Lessee: the owner of the flat or maisonette
- Lessor: the council
- Demised Premises: the internal shell of the flat or maisonette which you have bought
What are your contractual rights?
The right of occupation of the flat for the term of the lease. In addition, the leaseholder has the right to expect the council to maintain and repair the building and manage the common areas , that is, the parts of the building or grounds not specifically granted to the leaseholder but to which there are rights of access (for example, the entrance hall and stairs).
What are your responsibilities?
To keep the flat in good order, to pay (on time) a share of the costs of maintaining and running the building, and abide by the terms and conditions specified in the lease.
For queries on your lease and your rights, please contact Debbie Renshaw, the council's leasehold officer, on 345 446 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.