About your lease
A lease is a legal agreement or contract between you and the person who owns your house or block of flats. It explains both parties' rights and responsibilities. The lease also sets out the procedures you must follow. For example, if you want to sell (assign) your lease, alter your home, or sublet it.
What your lease tells you
Your lease will give you a lot of information.
- It will give you definitions of the main terms in your lease.
- It will tell you the length of time your lease is for (this is usually between 99 and 990 years from when the property was bought for the first time).
- It will tell you what you have bought and includes a plan showing your home and garden, garage or shed. If your home is a flat, it also shows the block your flat is in.
- It will tell you what your responsibilities are.
- It will tell you what our responsibilities are.
- It will give you information on rent and service charges.
- It will explain how to buy more shares in your home.
- It will explain how to sell your home.
In some cases, we may not be the legal owners of the building your home is in. In this case, the lease between you and us is known as the 'underlease', but it works in almost the same way as if we did own the building (or 'freehold').
There are some differences in leases, even if they are in the same block of flats, depending on the date you bought your home. It is important that you understand your own lease and the conditions in it. Breaking the conditions could have serious consequences. You should read your lease carefully and get advice from a solicitor, Citizens Advice, or Leasehold Advisory Service.
If you would like a copy of your lease, please contact the Home Ownership Team (a fee will apply to this request).
You have specific rights that are included in your lease.
- To live in your home without being disturbed by us as long as you pay all the charges you are responsible for under the lease, and do not break any conditions of your lease. This is known as 'quiet enjoyment'.
- To use the shared parts of the building and estate, such as communal gardens and, in some cases, car parking areas.
What happens if you break a condition of the lease?
If you break a condition of your lease, we can take action against you. This can include taking action through the courts. In very serious situations, we can ask the courts to make an order for 'forfeiture', which means your lease could be terminated.