The leaseholder handbook will help guide you through everything you need to know about being a leaseholder with us. There is information about your responsibilities as a leaseholder, what services we provide, advice about what to do if you want to:
- make changes to your home
- selling or subletting
- your service charge
- improvements to your home
- buildings insurance
- extending your lease or buying the freehold
- your leaseholder handbook (PDF 717KB)
As a leaseholder, you are responsible for the general repair and maintenance of everything inside your property.
Some of your responsibilities are listed below:
- window glazing (but not the frame)
- ceilings (but not the joists or beams or concrete floors)
- all plaster and other surfaces to all floors, walls and ceilings in your property
- the entrance door and frame to the property and any other external doors and frames
- any water tank serving the property alone (if the water tank serves other flats, we are responsible)
- all plumbing and electrical services and wiring within the property
- all fixtures and fittings in the property unless they are our fixtures and fittings. An example of a fixture we are responsible for - an entry phone cable and handset
- all internal decoration
- Leaseholder major works guide (PDF 773KB)
Leaseholder major works
Major works are large renewal, repair and maintenance programmes which we plan in advance. Examples include:
- external works
- roof renewal
- window replacement
- internal works
Under the terms of your lease, you must contribute towards the cost of the major works. Further information is available in the Leaseholder major works guide (PDF 773KB) which includes the consultation procedure.
We will send you a consultation notice advising you of our proposal to carry out major works.
If you require any further information regarding proposed major works please contact us.
Leaks and building insurance
Our frequently asked questions address some of the queries leaseholders have about leaks. However, please note that these are for guidance only. We recommend that you consult the buildings insurance policy documentation for full details of the exact cover and exclusions of the policy. We also recommend that you take independent advice on issues about your liability or the liability of other residents or the council in relation to particular incidents.
What should I do if my property is damaged as a result of a leak?
If the leak is from another property (tenanted or leasehold) you should try to ask your neighbour to stop the leak. If the leak doesn't stop, or if it is from a communal part of the building, you should contact our repairs contractor, Morrison, by telephone 0800 393994 or by email mfsredbridge.repair email@example.com. We will try to contact the resident that lives in the property where the leak is coming from and ask them to stop the leak. If we cannot contact the resident, we have the authority to force entry into the property and carry out the work to stop the leak.
If the structure or fabric of your flat is damaged you should make a claim to Ocaso under the building insurance policy. If your property is damaged by a leakage of water or from another cause originating from a different property (such as an upstairs flat), you will still need to submit a claim in your own name to Ocaso for the damage within your flat. You may also make a claim against the Council, and the Council's insurers will consider your claim. If your contents and personal belongings (such as carpets and furniture) are damaged, you should make a claim on your contents insurance policy, as the building insurance does not cover your contents.
If you don't have contents insurance and you feel that your neighbour is responsible, you can only make a claim against them if you can prove they have been negligent. This means that if the leak was an accident or you cannot prove it was the result of negligence then you will not be able to make a claim.
Is the council responsible for damage from a leak to my flat caused by a council tenant or a tenanted flat?
If a council tenant causes damage to your flat, for example by an overflow from a sink or bath, the council would not be responsible for repairing the damage. You should make a claim on the buildings insurance and your contents insurance as necessary. If you think the leak has resulted from a problem in the tenanted flat which is the responsibility of the council to fix, you should make a claim on your buildings and/or contents insurance. However, if you think the council has been negligent, for example in not carrying out a repair within a reasonable time once it had been made aware of it, you should still make a claim from your buildings insurance. You can make a claim against the Council and the Council will consider it.
What if I cause damage to another leaseholder's property?
If you damage the structure/fabric of the property, the other leaseholder should make a claim on the building insurance. If you damage the contents, the other leaseholder can claim on their own contents insurance if they have contents insurance. If their contents insurers think that you have been negligent, or they do not have contents insurance, they may seek to recover costs from you. You should notify your contents insurers of any claim made against you, and also if you are sub letting.
What if I cause damage to a tenanted property?
If you damage the structure/fabric of property owned by the council and occupied by a tenant of the council, it is the council's responsibility to repair the property. We will recharge the cost to you if you have acted in a negligent manner. If you damage the tenant1s contents they can claim on their own contents insurance. If their contents insurers think that you have been negligent, or they do not have contents insurance, they may seek to recover costs from you. You should notify your contents insurers of any claim made against you and if you are subletting.
Fire door information
If the front door to your leasehold property opens into a communal area it must meet fire safety standards. Our Asset Management Team has created a guidance leaflet (PDF 893KB) on the features that a front door must have to help leaseholders identify if their door is compliant or whether it needs upgrading.
Leaseholder alterations policy
Are you a leaseholder wanting to carry out alterations on your property, or have you carried out alterations previously without having obtained the permission of the Council? If the answer is yes, then you now need to apply for permission under the Leaseholders Alterations Policy (PDF 2204KB). The policy sets out the types of alterations we will approve, the appropriate charges and the process you need to follow.
Freehold and lease extension
As a leaseholder, you have the right to:
- buy the freehold of your house, known as enfranchisement
- extend your lease by 50 years
There is a qualification criteria around both extension and enfranchisement to your home. You can find detailed information in the Residential Leaseholders guide to rights and responsibilities booklet (PDF 1721KB)
Selling your home as a leaseholder
You must make sure your purchaser is aware of the conditions in the lease and all matters affecting the property that you have become aware of during your ownership. Guide to selling your home (PDF 61KB)
Leaseholder forum and getting involved
The leaseholder forum meets every two months at Orchard Housing Office (6.15pm to 8pm) to discuss general issues affecting leaseholders.
New members are welcome. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.