Your Lease, Rights and Responsibilities
When you buy a property which is part of a block of council dwellings, you buy a leasehold in that property. The freehold remains with the council as the owner of the land and the block itself. This is regardless to whether the property was bought through the Right to Buy or on the open market.
This arrangement is governed by a lease which forms a contract between you and the council.
In general, the lease:
- Specifies your rights and responsibilities
- Specifies the councils rights and responsibilities
- Allows you and your successors the right of possession of your property provided you keep to the terms of the lease
- Only allows you to use the property as a private dwelling
- Requires you to pay an annual Ground Rent to the council, normally £10 per year
Leases are granted for an initial period of 125 years but may be extended. They are not renewed each time the property changes hands. You take on the same rights and responsibilities as the previous owner.
The lease will tell you:
- What parts of the property have been sold to you
- What rights you have to access and use communal areas
- The amount you in respect of repairs, maintenance and improvements
The leaseholder deals with the maintenance and repair of anything within the property. This includes pipes and cables as soon as they pass through the walls and the internal plasterwork. The Council is responsible for the exterior structure of your property.
The list below identifies some common repairs that you will be responsible for. Note, this list should not be considered an exhaustive list.
What you are responsible for:
- All repairs to the inside of your flat
- All glass in your windows
- Decorations inside your flat
- All fixtures and fitting inside your flat, for example kitchen units and a bathroom suite
- Any damage to the common parts and services caused by you or a visitor of your household.
- The annual servicing of gas appliances
What the Council are responsible for:
- Roof, drains, gutters and pipes on the outside of your home
- External entrance doors
- Communal stairs and landing
- Window frames and sills ( Not including glass)
- All external paint work
- Paths, steps and associated handrails
- Fencing around shared areas
- Outbuildings and drying areas
- Sharing water pipes, water tanks, gas pipes and electrical wiring
- Light fittings in shared areas
- Controlled door-entry systems
- Decorations in shared areas