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As a leaseholder it is important that you understand your lease and your legal responsibilities. You should always check your own lease as it is a legal document that says what your rights, responsibilities and obligations are as a homeowner.
A lease is a formal contract between you (the leaseholder or lessee) and the landlord (the lessor and in most cases the freeholder).
A lease sets out the conditions which the landlord and the leaseholder must keep to. The lease describes the relationship between the landlord and the leaseholder and explains their rights and responsibilities.
Your solicitor should have given you a copy of your lease when you bought the property and explained to you your rights and responsibilities, as well as our rights and responsibilities. Your lease is an important legal document and may be difficult to understand without the help of a solicitor, however please contact us first, as we can offer some assistance in explaining the terms of your lease. The rights and responsibilities given to you in the lease may be similar to that of other residents but it is always advisable that, where you have legal disputes or concerns, you always check your lease.
A leasehold property can be in a block of flats, in a converted house or above a shop. There may also be leasehold houses on new developments or in residential streets. Shared ownership properties are also owned on a leasehold basis.
A lease is a long tenancy and gives you the rights to live in and use the property for a period of time. The exact length of this period is called the “term” of the lease. The term is fixed at the beginning and reduces in length year by year. The term will usually be for 99 to 125 years and during this period you can buy and sell the property. Should you be concerned about the length of time remaining on your lease you may be able to extend its terms. Please contact us for more information on this. You can also get advice through LEASE.
If you bought your property from a previous leaseholder, the number of years that you have on it would be less than 125 years. This is because the number of years remaining would have reduced since the lease was first purchased. For example, if Mr Smith bought a lease of 125 years in June 1990 and you bought the property from him in August 2005, you would only have 110 lease years remaining from when you bought it.
It also has other sections, which are called ‘schedules’. Each schedule tells you something important about our agreement, for example, easement rights a leaseholder has to use the freeholders land.
The clauses explain matters such as when to pay your service charges, how often to redecorate your property and our responsibility to insure, repair and maintain the building.