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All you need to know about managing your home as a leaseholder, from buying the freehold to subletting and home improvements.
Our leasehold homes are built and run by our property development company, Latimer Homes.
The Latimer website has all the information you need to manage your home – whether you’ve lived in your home for years or have just moved in.
Repairs and defects in your home
You’re responsible for maintaining and repairing your home, including fixtures and fittings. New-build properties do sometimes have minor defects that need fixing. If these occur within an initial defects period we’re responsible for repairing them.
Repairs to communal areas
We’re responsible for maintaining and repairing communal areas; communal plumbing, heating and electrics; fire safety; and the structure of your property.
We tell you the estimated service charge at the start of each financial year. We then update you on what we actually spent within six months of the end of each financial year.
You might also have to pay ground rent to your freeholder. If so, you’ll get a notice of demand before each financial year saying how much you have to pay and whether this will increase over time. The deficit or surplus from this is applied to your account on 30 September each year.
With some leases, we collect fees for a sinking fund, also known as a reserve fund. Sinking funds are kept in an account that accrues interest and we only use this money when unplanned major works are needed. We’ll let you know how much is in your sinking fund and if we need to use the money.
You’re allowed to sublet your home, but you need to get written permission from us first.
It’s important to remember that if you sublet your home, you’re still the legal owner and so remain responsible for maintenance, as well as for the behaviour of your tenant and any service charges.
If you’re interested in subletting, please complete our subletting request form. Our team will then contact you to discuss your situation.
You’re free to decorate and make cosmetic improvements to your home. This includes plastering, painting, putting up shelves, replacing kitchen cupboards and getting new appliances.
Any value you add to your property through larger home improvements belongs to you: eg from adding a conservatory or extension to your home.
However, for most major works you need to get our permission before doing the work. Your lease details the changes you can make to your property. Examples of work needing permission include:
- structural changes or work to the outside of your home
- anything that affects your water, gas or electric supplies
- reconfiguring your kitchen or bathroom
- fitting new windows
- fitting laminate, wood or tiled flooring.
To apply for permission, please read our License to Alter Guide and then complete the application form.
Buying your freehold
“Collective enfranchisement” is a statutory right that enables the owners of flats in a building to join together and buy the freehold of the building. You can only do this if more than 50% of leaseholders in the building wish to purchase the freehold.
We’ll agree to collective enfranchisement of qualifying properties where there are enough qualifying leaseholders. If you wish to apply, you can choose either the statutory procedure or Clarion’s own procedure.
Before you apply
Before you apply, please read our lease enfranchisement guide. Collective enfranchisement is a complex process, so you should also consult a solicitor before you begin.
You have to decide how to acquire and hold the freehold. This is often via a company: you all become members of the company and the company purchases the freehold.
Extending your lease
You can extend your lease as long as you comply with any provisions in the lease. These provisions do vary, so you should check your contract for your specific conditions.
Before you apply for a lease extension, please read our lease extension guide. This outlines the application process, which includes writing to us formally to request your lease extension. We also recommend you get advice from a solicitor.
After you apply
We’ll check that we’re both the freeholder and the immediate landlord, and confirm the lease has a long enough term remaining for an extension. If we don’t own the freehold, we don’t have the legal right to extend your lease.
If your lease can be extended, you’ll have to pay a surveyor’s fee and our legal costs. These costs vary depending on the property. In addition, there’s an administration fee of £195.
EWS1 fire safety forms
In 2020, the government issued revised guidance on building safety standards for flats within apartment blocks. As a result, buildings of any height are now potentially in scope for requiring the EWS1 (external wall system) form devised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
EWS1 certification requires a new assessment of the building by a qualified, independent professional to establish if the external wall system meets the new fire risk standards, or whether remedial work is needed.
EWS1 forms are not a legal requirement, but some lenders require one before they’ll offer a mortgage.
As a result, the form may apply to you if you live in an apartment block and want to sell or remortgage your home. EWS1 forms only apply to flats.
We're investigating the external wall systems on our buildings. We're now prioritising blocks under six storeys and expect to complete initial assessments this year. We'll update customers as soon as we know if any work is needed.