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Leasehold ownership explained

Leasehold ownership of a flat is simply a long tenancy, the right to occupation and use of the flat for a long period - the term of the lease. This will usually be for 125 years and the flat can be bought and sold during that term. The term of the lease starts at the beginning from when the first property is sold within a block and so decreases in length year by year.

The ownership of the flat usually relates to everything within the four walls of the flat, including floorboards and plaster to walls and ceiling.The structure and common parts of the building and the land it stands on are owned by EastendHomes, who are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the building. We carry out the maintenance and repair of the building and as a leaseholder you pay a proportion of those costs.

Your Lease explained

A lease is a contract between the leaseholder and the landlord giving conditional ownership for a fixed period of time. It is an important document and Leaseholders must ensure that they have a copy and that they understand it.

The lease sets out the contractual obligations and covenants of the two parties:

  • what the leaseholder has contracted to do,
  • and what the landlord is bound to do.

The leaseholder’s obligations will include payment of the ground rent and contribution to the costs of maintaining and managing the building.

The landlord is required to manage and maintain the structure, exterior and common areas of the block and to collect contributions from all the Leaseholders'.

In the lease EastendHomes are referred to as the lessor. You, as the leaseholder, are referred to in the lease as the lessee.
When a flat changes hands, the seller assigns all the rights and responsibilities of the lease to the purchaser. Read the lease - understand your rights and responsibilities. Keep a copy of your lease in a safe place. You should have been given a copy when you purchased your property. If you have a mortgage on the property the lender may have the original lease. We can send you a copy of a standard lease.

Your legal rights and responsibilities

As a leaseholder you have a legal contract with EastendHomes. This contract is known as the lease. There are principally three types of lease:

  • Greater London Council (GLC) lease;
  • London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH) lease;
  • EastendHomes lease;

Although there are three broad types of lease, there will be some slight variations and in the case of a dispute you should take legal advice. There are small differences between the three leases but they are relatively minor. For example, the GLC lease says that you must decorate the inside of your home every six years; the LBTH lease says every five years. The GLC lease says that you must tell us if you wish to sublet your home; the LBTH lease says that you only have to tell us if you wish to sublet for more than twelve months.The EastendHomes lease is very similar to the LBTH lease.

As a leaseholder, you are responsible for ensuring that the inside of your property is kept in good condition. This includes:

  • Front entrance door to individual flats
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Internal decorations
  • Individual heating systems
  • Pipes, water tanks and cisterns in your home

You have also agreed to permit the landlord to have access your home to enable us to carry out any necessary landlord repairs. We will provide you with at least 48 hours notice unless there is an emergency.

Subletting

We ask that you contact us in the event that you intend to sublet your property. We do not usually object to anyone subletting but you must provide to us in writing with a forwarding address and a contact telephone number. This also applies if you use a managing agent to sublet your property. We can then keep you informed of planned repairs and maintenance to the estate. Under the conditions of your lease you are still responsible for the payment of Service Charges, Ground Rent and Major Works bills if applicable.

Sale of your Lease

If you purchased your home under the Right to Buy scheme within the last three or five years and you wish to sell, you may have to repay some of the discount that you received.Telephone the Leasehold Services Team for more information. If you purchased your property over five years ago or on the open market no discount is repayable.
If you have purchased your home under the Right to Buy scheme on or after 18th January 2005 and you wish to sell your property within 10 years, you are required by law to offer it first to EastendHomes. If we decide to purchase but cannot agree a price with you it will be referred to the District Valuer to make a decision. If we do not accept your offer within 8 weeks, you will be free to sell the property on the open market.