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What is a leasehold?

If your home is a flat or maisonette, it is part of a larger building which is divided up into individual units. There may be another property above, below or next to you, but still within the same building.

This can be defined as ownership of a property that is not independent but shares such things as the roof, entrance hall and stairs. The shared items need to be maintained for the benefit of all the individual residents and the costs will be shared amongst them.

What is a lease?

Your lease is a type of tenancy and is a legal agreement between you and your landlord. It allows you to live in your home for a set period of time. This is known as the lease term.

If you bought your home on the open market the seller will have transferred the rights and responsibilities in the lease to you for the rest of the term.

The terms of a lease cannot usually be changed by either party without the other’s consent. The government sometimes makes changes to leasehold legislation and this can override the terms of existing leases.

Not all leases are the same and it is possible for two neighbours to have slightly different leases. This is because some of the lease clauses have been amended over the years to take into account changes in legislation and leasehold best practice.

The lease details the rights and responsibilities of both the leaseholder and the landlord. 

When the property needs repairing, what type of repairs can the leaseholder do?

The leaseholder is responsible for maintaining the parts of the property that the lease describes as being ‘Demised’. This includes the inside of the flat and any apparatus, pipes, wires, etc. that are used solely by the flat.

I have a leak. Who is responsible for completing the repair?

If the leak is from a pipe that is used solely by your flat it will be the leaseholder’s responsibility to get this fixed. The Landlord is responsible for communal pipework. A leaseholder’s responsibility for pipework usually commences from the water meter.

Can I arrange my own buildings insurance?

The simple answer is no. Under the terms of all leases the Landlord is responsible for arranging this for all leasehold flats in the property. In view of the number of properties involved the annual premium tends to be much lower than if you had arranged your own separate insurance.

What is covered under the buildings insurance policy? I am not sure whether to claim for my bath under the buildings or contents insurance.

The policy covers the structure of the property together with any fixtures and fittings in the flat. Items such as bath, washbasin, sinks and toilets which are fixtures in the flat are covered under the buildings insurance.

Can I paint the outside of my flat?

The Landlord is responsible for maintaining the outside of your home and therefore external painting will be the responsibility of the Landlord.

Does Plymouth Community Homes make a profit out of leaseholders?

No. Plymouth Community Homes is a non-profit making organisation and a registered charity. We do not make a profit from leaseholders but we are expected to cover all costs when complying with lease terms and providing services to leaseholders.

My lease says that I cannot make any alterations or additions to the premises without the prior consent of my landlord. How does this work please?

This does not cover such things as internal decoration or routine maintenance. If you would like to make an alteration to your flat, for example removing an internal wall, changing windows or the front door, erecting a fence or wall outside you will need to get written permission from your Landlord before any work starts. We will not unreasonably refuse permission but we do have a responsibility to keep others in the block safe. To apply for permission please write or email the Leasehold team and we will pass your request to a qualified surveyor who will be able to consider this for you.


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