A leaseholder is someone who owns a lease and does not own the land around their home or the building that their home is in.
If your home is a flat or maisonette, it is part of a larger building which is divided into individual units. There will usually be another property above, below or next to yours, but still within the same building.
In a flat or maisonette each property is not independent, they may share a roof, foundations, entrance halls and stairs.
Northumberland County Council owns the land and the building that your home is in and is the freeholder of your building. They are required to maintain the exterior of the building and any common areas.
You must pay towards the costs of managing and maintaining your block, estate and grounds – this means that you will be charged for any repairs carried out to the structure or communal areas of your building.
For further information contact Marie Bradley, Leasehold Services Officer, on 01670 622906 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the lease?
The lease is a legally binding contract. When you purchased your flat or maisonette you bought the right to live there for 125 years.
If you bought your home on the open market, the seller will have transferred their rights and responsibilities to you under the lease for the rest of its term. The length of the lease reduces over time from the date when it was originally granted.
The lease sets out the relationship between the landlord and the leaseholder and details each parties rights and obligations.
The lease is between you (the leaseholder) and Northumberland County Council (the landlord) and Homes for Northumberland manage your property on behalf of your landlord.
It contains similar conditions to the tenancy agreement for our tenants, to make sure that the actions of residents do not cause a nuisance to others or cause damage to the building.
Terms of your lease – roles & responsibilities
- pay the ground rent, service charges and major works costs, when requested
- keep your home in good repair and condition and maintain any garden which you are responsible for
- not do anything which might cause damage, be a nuisance or disturbance to other residents in your building, or neighbouring buildings
- not make any structural alterations or additions unless you have permission, in writing, from us first
- allow us into your home to carry out repairs to your flat or other parts of the building, or to neighbouring properties
- take responsibility for any overflows
- not put up a TV aerial or satellite dish outside your home or on the building
- not use your home for running a business
- not leave your property empty for more than 30 days
- tell us if you are going to sublet your property
We are responsible for the main structure of the building, the shared parts and any shared services to your building or estate. These will depend on where you live and the type of property in which you live, but may include:
- outside walls
- inside structural walls
- roofs, foundations, timbers, joist beams, chimney stacks, gutters, rainwater and soil pipes
- window frames
- door entry systems
- estate lighting
- block lighting (entrance halls, stairways etc)
- send out annual service charge invoices
- arrange the buildings insurance for your property and recharging the premium as part of the annual service charge
- carry out all external repairs, maintenance and major works and recharge a share of the cost of this work to you
- leasehold service charges
Service charges are your share of the costs of services provided by us to your block and/or your estate. What you pay for depends on the location of the property and the different services provided to the building you live in.
The service charge does not cover any of the costs that relate to services provided only to tenants, such as repairs inside of homes.
The costs are shared equally among all the flats in the block.
For example, if there are 10 flats in your block and seven of them are rented to council tenants and the other three are leaseholders, each leaseholder will pay a tenth of the cost and we will pay seven-tenths for our tenants.
For more information on leaseholder service charges click here
Buildings insurance for leaseholders
We arrange the buildings insurance cover under a blanket policy for all our leasehold properties. It is a condition of your lease that we arrange the buildings insurance cover.
The insurance runs from 1 April to 31 March and the premium is based on the cost of rebuilding your flat. This is called the sum insured and is different from the market value.
If you let out your flat or leave it empty for more than 30 days you must let us know as this could affect your insurance cover and premium and could make your policy invalid if you were to make a claim.
From April 1 2015 the policy was with Zurich Municipal policy number OLA-08U006-0013
Many leaseholders believe that the council automatically insures their furniture, belongings and decorations against fire, theft, vandalism or water damage such as burst pipes – this is not the case
We strongly advises all leaseholders to take out household contents insurance.
To read our insurance policy click here
Repairs, maintenance & improvements
Who is responsible for repairs?
You are responsible for decoration and for repairs to all fixtures and fittings inside your home, for example, heating systems, kitchen and bathroom fittings, and doors and door frames.
We are responsible for repairs and maintenance to the structure of your home.
We will write to you throughout the year to tell you about any repairs that have been carried out and your share of the costs which will be included on your actual service charge invoice for that year.
Repairs that we are responsible for:
- roofs, drains, gutters and pipes on the outside of your home
- outside entrance doors (but not the front doors of individual flats)
- window frames and sills (not including glass)
- outside paint work
- paths and steps (back and front)
- boundary fences (except some where you or a neighbouring owner are responsible)
- chimneys and chimney stacks
- stairs and landings
- garages and outbuildings, including drying area
- installations, fixtures and fittings
- shared water pipes, water tanks, gas pipes and electrical wiring
- light fittings in shared areas
- controlled door entry systems
- decorations in shared areas
- central heating system or hot water where you do not have your own independent system
- exterior brickwork
Repairs that you are responsible for:
- All repairs to the inside of your flat, including your front door, glass in your windows and all fixtures and fittings, any boundaries marked with a ‘T’ on your lease plan.
- If you have gas heating appliances you are responsible for getting them serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. We also require a copy of your certificate as proof of completion.