Homeowners Leaseholders

Understanding your lease and what to do if you want to sell your leasehold home.

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As a leaseholder, you own your home but you don't own the land it's built on. 

What is a lease?

A lease is a legal contract between you, as the leaseholder, and GreenSquareAccord, as the landlord. Most of the time we will also be the freeholder of the building, as we own the land it is built on. 

If we’re not the freeholder, there may be a managing agent who looks after the property on behalf of the landlord. 

Your lease is a legal document that explains your rights and responsibilities. It also outlines our obligations as your landlord. It includes information about the length of your lease, service charges and ground rent, as well as who is responsible for maintaining your home. 

It’s really important you read your lease and get to know it, as it contains a lot of useful information. 

You’ll have received a copy of your lease when you bought your home. Your mortgage company and solicitor will also have copies, and you can get a copy from Land Registry. 

You can find free and independent advice about all aspects of being a leaseholder on the LEASE website.

What legal rights do I have as a leaseholder?
  • If you live in a house, you have the right to either extend your lease or buy the freehold under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967.
  • If you live in a flat, you also have the right to extend your lease or buy the freehold, but certain conditions must be met.
  • When a flat is being sold, you have the right to purchase the freehold under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.
  • You must pay service and administration charges as set out in your lease, but they must be reasonable. If you think a charge is unfair, you can challenge it at the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
  • You have the right to be consulted under Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 if works to your building will cost you over £250, or if we plan to enter into a long-term agreement with a contractor that will cost you more than £100 per year.
  • You can form a company with other leaseholders which can take over responsibility for the management of your block if certain conditions are met. This is known as the Right to Manage. Find out more about the Right to Manage
  • In most cases, your property cannot be repossessed if you owe small amounts in ground rent or service charges.
  • You can seek recognition for a tenants' association (RTA) if you want to join together with other tenants to have a stronger collective voice.
  • You can also form a company with other leaseholders in the building to buy the freehold.

You can read more about your rights in the government's guide on leaseholder rights and responsibilities.

Can I extend my lease?

Your lease gives you the right to live in your property for a fixed amount of time, typically 99, 125 or 250 years from when the lease was first granted. This is known as the ‘term.’ 

The less time that is left on the lease, the less valuable your property becomes. When a lease has fewer than 80 years remaining, it can be harder to get a mortgage on your home and make it more difficult to sell.

It’s worth checking how many years you have left on your lease to consider whether you should extend it. If you’ve recently bought your property, you need to wait until you’ve owned your home for two years before you can extend the lease. 

There are significant costs associated with extending a lease, but it does increase the value of a property once the lease has been extended. 

You’ll need to pay for the following when you extend your lease:

  • the premium, or cost, of the lease extension
  • your valuer’s fees 
  • your solicitor’s fees 
  • our valuation and legal fees  

Please contact us for more information if you wish to extend your lease.

How do I add a name to my lease or remove someone?

If you want to add or remove someone from your lease, you’ll need to instruct a solicitor to do that for you. Your solicitor needs to let us know once the process is finished, so we can update our records.

Can I have a lodger or sublet my home?

Depending on the terms of your lease, you may be able to sublet your home or have a lodger.

Before subletting or renting out a room in your home, please contact us to check whether it’s allowed in the terms of your lease. 

You can usually rent a room to a lodger, as long as you’re living in the property, although you can’t give your lodger a formal tenancy agreement as your lease doesn’t allow that. Always get in touch with us first to check what’s possible. 

You may also need to get permission from your mortgage company. You’ll need to tell HMRC too, as you may need to declare any income and it could affect any benefits you receive.

Can I change or improve my home?

You don’t need our permission to decorate your home. You can paint the walls or put up picture frames without telling us.

But if you’re planning major alterations or improvements, you may need our written permission before you start work. 

Examples of the type of work that needs our approval include:

  • building a conservatory or extension
  • changing the heating or electrics
  • changing or painting your front door
  • replacing floors or carpets  
  • replacing windows 

You may also need planning permission or buildings regulations approval from your local authority. If that’s the case, we’ll need to see copies of any letters you receive from your local council approving your plans before we can give our permission.

Who is responsible for repairing and maintaining my home?

If you’re the leaseholder of a house, you’re responsible for arranging and paying for all repairs and maintenance inside and outside your home. 

If you’re a leaseholder of a flat, you’re responsible for all repairs inside your home and we look after the structure of the building and communal areas. You can find more information on our repair responsibilities on our flat owners page. Please report any repairs you need to your building or communal areas to us as soon as possible. 

What insurance do I need as a leaseholder? 

It’s important that you have contents insurance for your home. Contents insurance covers you if your personal possessions are broken, damaged or stolen. This includes items such as furniture, carpets, TVs and laptops. 

It’s your responsibility to arrange contents insurance for your home – we don’t provide you with contents insurance cover. For more information about how to arrange cover, visit our contents insurance page

We’re responsible for arranging buildings insurance for your home. This insurance covers any structural damage to your property, for example, fire or flood damage. You pay us for buildings insurance cover as part of your service charge

If your building has a managing agent, it’s likely they will arrange your buildings insurance instead of us. If you’re not sure who provides your buildings insurance cover, you can get in touch to find out. 

How can I make a buildings insurance claim?

Our buildings insurance will cover you if the structure of the building is damaged. For example, if your home is damaged by fire or a burst water pipe.

If you need to make a claim, you’ll need to contact our insurance provider directly. We’re covered by a company called Gallagher and you can reach them on 01245 341 200. When you speak to Gallagher, let them know you’re insured under GreenSquareAccord’s property policy.

The insurer will arrange for an expert tradesperson to visit you as soon as possible.

You will need to pay the insurance company an excess premium when you make a claim. The excess payment amount can vary, so please ask Gallagher to confirm how much excess you’ll need to pay when you enquire about making a claim. 

If your home is affected by a water leak from a neighbouring flat, you need to contact the owner of the flat and ask them to resolve the issue. You can get in touch with us for help if you can’t get hold of them. You may be covered for repairing the damage and decoration inside your flat under our buildings insurance policy, so you should also contact our insurance Gallagher to make a claim. 

What does my service charge cover? 

As part of your lease, you may have to pay us ground rent and service charges. You can find more information about these charges and what they cover in our rent and service charges section.

What should I do when I sell my home? 

As a leaseholder, you can market your home as any owner would – most people choose an estate agent to help them do this. You’ll need to instruct a solicitor to deal with the legal aspect of the sale. 

Your solicitor will ask us to complete an LPE1 form, also known as a seller’s pack or a leasehold property enquiry form. This will include information for you and your buyer about planned maintenance and repairs, service charges, insurance, etc. We charge a fee for completing this form. 

We will do our best to provide information to your solicitor when needed during the conveyancing process and we’ll provide a final statement of account before your sale completes.

It’s vital your solicitor informs us when your sale completes and provides us with the details of the new owner of your property. We can then ensure the new owner gets off to a good start in their new home by sending them a welcome pack containing useful information about us and their lease. 

If you’re a solicitor who needs us to complete an LPE1 form, please email us at HomeOwnership.Team@greensquareaccord.co.uk