Your lease is the legal agreement between you and us. It tells you about your rights and responsibilities as the leaseholder, and our rights and responsibilities as the freeholder (outright owner) of your property. If you are unsure about what this means, please see the definitions below:
A freeholder is normally a company or a person that owns the freehold of a building, meaning that they own it outright.
A leaseholder purchases a lease from the freeholder, which means that they own a building, or part of it for an agreed period of time. During this time the freeholder usually remains responsible for the repair and maintenance of the exterior and common parts of the building.
You should always read through your lease agreement and make sure that you fully understand its contents. The terms it uses may vary slightly depending on when it was issued and what sort of building you live in.
Your lease contains legally binding responsibilities both for you and us as the freeholder. It is very important that you understand and adhere to these. Not doing so could mean that you are in breach of the terms and conditions of the lease and could be subject to legal action.
Your responsibilities under your lease:
- Paying the ground rent, rent, building insurance and service charges.
- Paying other bills and charges on the property (e.g. council tax, electricity bill).
- Maintaining and redecorating the interior of your home.
- Obtaining our written permission before you carry out improvements (e.g. installing a new kitchen)
- Obtaining our written permission to keep a pet.
- Obtaining our written permission to fit a satellite dish.
- Not causing a nuisance or annoyance to your neighbours.
- Observing all other terms of the lease.
As your landlord, our responsibilities are as follows:
- Keeping the structure, common parts and outside of the property in good repair.
- Keeping your building insured.
- Consulting you about any works that will cost more than £250 per home
- Consulting you about any long term agreement with a supplier that will last for more than 12 months if it will be reflected in your service charge as a charge of more than £100 a year.
- Advising on increased charges from April based on estimated costs for the new financial year starting 1 April.
- Producing audited service charge accounts within six months of the end of the accounting year (currently 31 March) and providing these to you by 30 September each year.
What is ground rent?
Ground rent may be paid under the terms of a lease by the owner of a property to the owner of the land on which it is built. A lease for a residential property may specify that the leaseholder is required to pay ground rent to the freeholder.
East Thames will send you a Ground Rent Demand for payment in April each year. The amount of ground rent payable will be set out in the lease. In some leases the amount of ground rent is specified as ‘a peppercorn’, a legal expression that means ‘nil’.
Forfeiture (breaking your lease)
If you breach the terms of your lease, we have the right to forfeit (or end) your lease and recover possession of the property.
For further information contact our Home Ownership Team on:
0300 303 7333 or Home.Enquiries@east-thames.co.uk