Your rights and responsibilities
There is a wide range of laws that protect your rights as a leaseholder. If you are not sure what your rights are, Citizens Advice can give you assistance or you can contact a solicitor (please note that a solicitor may charge you for providing advice). If you have a question, contact us
or you can get information on the Communities and Local Government website or from LEASE
(Leasehold Advisory Service).
What are your rights as a leaseholder?
- Quiet enjoyment: by law you have the right, as provided by your lease, to live quietly or have ‘quiet enjoyment’ of your leasehold flat or house. This means that if you have purchased a lease and adhere to its covenants, we must not unreasonably interfere with your enjoyment of your property. In consideration of your purchase we cannot encroach on your privacy without sufficient notice and reason.
Leaseholders are, however, obliged to allow reasonable access in certain circumstances. But in most cases we must provide at least 24 hours’ notice to gain access. This is in protection of your quiet enjoyment of your property.
There are certain instances where access must be gained immediately and urgently. For example, if an emergency repair is required and failure to complete such work promptly will endanger life or cause significant and substantial damage to our freehold interest. Even in these circumstance we will, in the first instance, make every effort to contact you prior to us visiting.
- Repairs and maintenance: you have the right to expect us to maintain and repair the shared parts/communal areas of your building and estate. You also have the right, in certain circumstance, to be able to comment on major repairs or cyclical maintenance which you have to pay a share for, this is often referred to as “s20 consultation”.
- Management: you have the right to expect us to deal with problems in your block, such as neighbour nuisance, cleaning and rubbish clearance, graffiti or antisocial behaviour. In cases of nuisance or antisocial behaviour, we may work with the local council or the police to deal with the problem. As a Leaseholder, you may have to contribute or cover our costs.
- Information: we must provide you with our name and a contact address within the UK on every demand for service charges. You can request a summary of the insurance cover and you have the right to inspect service charge accounts and the bills we use to calculate them.
- Consulting you on planned maintenance (major works): major work is significant work needed to make a repair, renewal or improvement to your block. Where the cost for each property is more than £250 we should not carry out major work to the building without first consulting you. If we do not consult you about the work, the amount you have to pay may be limited to £250.
- Extending the lease: if you meet certain conditions (for example you must have a long lease and have had it for more than two years), you can request a new lease from us, and we will agree the price with you. If this is not possible, the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) will set the price.
Under current law, if you are a shared owner, you do not have the statutory right to extend your lease but we will allow you do so where possible following our own informal route. As a shared owner you cannot take part in buying a freehold (enfranchisement – please see below for more information)
- Buying the freehold: if you meet certain conditions (for example you must have a long lease and there must be a minimum of two flats in the building), you can get together with other people in the building who meet these conditions and buy the freehold from us. This is called ‘collective enfranchisement’. We will agree the price with you, but if this is not possible, the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) will set the price.
What are your responsibilities as a leaseholder?
Your responsibilities will normally be in your lease (under the main conditions) or given in a law. Generally, your responsibilities may include the following.
- Paying service charges and rent: under your lease you are responsible for paying your share of the costs of managing and maintaining your property. These costs are known as service charges. As a shared owner you are also responsible for paying rent on the equity share we own. You may also have a responsibility to pay ground rent under the conditions of your lease.
- Arranging contents insurance: you are responsible for arranging your own contents insurance.
- Respecting your neighbours: you have the right to live peacefully in your home and your neighbours have the same rights. We will try to deal with people who may cause nuisance to you, but you must be considerate and not cause a nuisance to them.
- Repairs to your property: you are responsible for maintaining and repairing the inside of your property, unless the repair is covered by the defects liability period for new properties or is excluded within the lease, such as Heat Interface Units connected to a communal heating system. You must not carry out any repairs to the shared areas such as stairways or landings, as you would not be covered by our insurance, and these areas belong to us. If you carry out work to the shared areas, we may charge you for putting them back to the condition they were in.
- You are usually responsible for repairing and maintaining:
- Baths, sinks, taps, toilets and all pipework which exclusively serves your property (including pipework outside the property, for example your main water supply pipe).
- Fixtures, fittings and locks to windows.
- Inside decoration, including plaster-work repairs.
- Glazing, including seals, locks and handles to windows.
- Central heating, boilers and radiators.
- Fitted units and cupboards, and skirting boards.
- Requesting permission to make alterations to your home or sublet your property: you are responsible for contacting us to get our permission if you want to make alterations to your home or sublet your property.
We have a duty to make sure that leaseholders keep to their responsibilities for the good of all other leaseholders and in line with the lease and planning permissions (if relevant). If we have to take action against a leaseholder because they are not keeping to their responsibilities, they will be responsible for the total cost of us doing so. For example if we take legal action, they will be responsible for paying the legal costs.
Download the Neighbourhood Management Policy which provides detailed information about the effective management of the neighbourhood environment around Clarion Housing homes and shared communal areas.