As a leaseholder you have special rights and responsibilities for your home which are set out in your lease.
This dedicated leaseholder area provides advice and guidance on your lease and managing your home, subletting, home improvements, along with essential safety tips.
Please see our dedicated coronavirus FAQ area where you can find all the latest answers to your queries and questions about your lease, rent and service charges.
What is a lease?
The lease is a contract between the leaseholder and SARH giving conditional ownership for a fixed period of time. The lease will set out exactly what you have bought, what is exclusively yours and what is shared; what services the landlord must deliver and what proportion you must pay. The wording of leases can vary from property to property, and you will always need to refer to the specific wording of your own lease which details what you have agreed.
Your right and responsibilities will be set out in your lease. In principle, a leaseholders responsibilities are:
- To keep the inside of the flat/house in good order
- Pay (on time) a share of the costs of maintaining and running the building
- Behave in a neighbourly manner
- Not to do certain things without SARH’s consent, for example, make alterations or sub-let.
SARH has an obligation to ensure that the leaseholder complies with such responsibilities for the good of all the other leaseholders.
The lease is an important legal document and leaseholders must ensure that they have a copy and understand it. The wording of leases is usually in ‘legal language’ and can vary from property to property. If you cannot understand your lease, please contact us via the ‘contact us’ page.
Some typical things to look for within a lease
Length of Lease
This is known as the term – The same lease is passed on every time the flat is sold, so the length of the lease keeps reducing. Most mortgage companies will only lend on a lease that has more than 80 years remaining. Leaseholders (in most instances) have a legal right to purchase an extension to their lease, but it is important to seek professional advice on this.
- Payment of Ground Rent – How much are you required to pay and when? Does it increase every few years?
- Service Charge – what does it cover and when is it due? How is your proportion of the service charge calculated e.g On a percentage, or square footage of the whole building?
- Interest Charges and penalties for late payments?
- How are surplus and deficit payments dealt with following the service charge year end?
- Is there a reserve fund or sinking fund?
- Who is responsible for insuring the building?
- Who is responsible for utilities (electricity, gas, water etc.)?
- Window Frames/Balconies – who is responsible for maintaining and replacing? Are there any other restrictions?
- Noise / musical instruments
- Number of persons who can live at the property
- Flooring within the property
- Alterations within the property
- Use of the property
- Hanging of washing and signage
Other things to look for
- Is there a communal heating system? If so, heating may only be provided during certain times.
- Requirements when you sell e.g. Deed of Covenant/Transfer Notice required?
- Can you carry out alterations or improvements? Is a licence required?
- When are external and internal decorations due?