Information for leaseholders

We are commited to meeting our responsibilities to leaseholders under the terms of their lease, providing a high quality services in the management and maintenance their home.  This page contains important information about being a leaseholder and what your rights and responsibilities are.

Click on the questions below:

What is a leaseholder?
Generally leasehold flats can be in purpose-built blocks, in converted houses or above commercial or retail premises. Leasehold ownership of a flat is simply a long tenancy, the right to occupation and use of the flat for a long period - the 'term' of the lease. This will usually be for 99 or 125 years and the flat can be bought and sold during that term.

The ownership of the flat usually relates to everything within the four walls of the flat, including floorboards and plaster to walls and ceiling, but does not usually include the external or structural walls. The structure and common parts of the building and the land it stands on are owned by Teign Housing and we are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the building.
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What is a lease?
A lease is a contract between the leaseholder and Teign Housing giving conditional ownership for a fixed period of time. It is an important document and leaseholders must ensure that they have a copy and that they understand it. The wording of leases is usually in ‘legal language’ and can vary from property to property. If you cannot understand your lease please contact us.

It is difficult to change the conditions of the lease after you buy, so make sure that the services provided in the lease are those that you want or can accept. The lease sets out the contractual obligations of the two parties: what the leaseholder has contracted to do, and what Teign Housing as landlord is bound to do. The leaseholder's obligations will include payment of the ground rent and contribution to the costs of maintaining and managing the building. The lease will probably also place certain conditions on the use and occupation of the flat. Teign Housing will usually be required to manage and maintain the structure, exterior and common areas of the property, to collect contributions from all the leaseholders and keep the accounts.

Leaseholders are not necessarily entirely free to do whatever they want in or with the flat - the lease comes with conditions, to protect the rights of everyone with an interest in the building. When a flat changes hands, the seller assigns all the rights and responsibilities of the lease to the purchaser, including any future service charges that have not yet been identified.
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What are my contractual rights?
First and foremost, the right of peaceable occupation of the flat for the term of the lease, usually referred to as 'quiet enjoyment'. In addition, the leaseholder has the right to expect Teign Housing to maintain and repair the building and manage the common parts - that is, the parts of the building or grounds not specifically granted to the leaseholder in the lease but to which there are rights of access, for example, the entrance hall and staircases.
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What are my responsibilities?
Principally, these will be the requirements to keep the inside of the flat in good order, to pay (on time) a share of the costs of maintaining and running the building, to behave in a neighbourly manner and not to do certain things without Teign Housing’s consent, for example, make alterations or sub-let. Teign Housing has an obligation to ensure that the leaseholder complies with such responsibilities for the good of all the other leaseholders. These rights and responsibilities will be set out in the lease.
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What is ground rent?
Because leasehold is a tenancy, it is subject to the payment of a rent (which may be nominal) to the landlord. Ground rent is a specific requirement of the lease and must be paid on the due date, usually the 24th June each year.
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What are service charges?
Service charges are payments by the leaseholder to the landlord for all the services the landlord provides. These will include maintenance and repairs, insurance of the building and, in some cases, lifts, lighting and cleaning of common areas etc. The charges will also include the costs of Teign Housing’s management of the building and administration.

Service charges can vary from year to year; they can go up or down without any limit other than that they are reasonable.

Details of what can (and cannot) be charged by Teign Housing and the proportion of the charge to be paid by the individual leaseholder will all be set out in the lease. Teign Housing arranges for the provision of the services and the leaseholder then pays for them. All costs must be met by the leaseholders; and Teign Housing will generally make no financial contribution.

Teign Housing can only recover those costs which are reasonable. Leaseholders have rights to challenge service charges they feel are unreasonable at the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT). For more information go to www.lease-advice.org
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How is the building insured?
The lease requires Teign Housing to take out adequate insurance for the building and the common parts, and recover the cost of the premium through the service charges. This policy does not cover the possessions of individual leaseholders and we would highly recommend taking out your own contents insurance click here for more information.
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What happens if the leaseholder doesn't pay?
It is the leaseholder's obligation to pay the service charges and ground rent promptly under the terms of the lease. If they are not paid and Teign Housing is able to show that the charges are reasonable, we can begin forfeiture proceedings. If approved by a Court, this can lead to Teign Housing repossessing the flat.
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What rights do leaseholders have?
There is a wide range of rights set out in the legislation and advice is readily available, however, where a dispute arises, the first step should be to contact Teign Housing for full details and/or an explanation.

  • Information:Teign Housing provides contact details which are stated on every demand for service charges, details of the insurance cover and have the right to inspect accounts and other documents.
  • Consultation on major works: Teign Housing cannot carry out major works to the building without first consulting the leaseholders in the proper fashion; if we fail to do this, we may not be able to recover all the costs.
  • Consultation on long-term agreements: Teign Housing cannot enter into certain agreements or contracts for any service over 12 months without first consulting the leaseholders.
  • Challenging service charges: leaseholders can apply to the LVT to seek a determination of the reasonableness of the charges, whether already paid or not.
  • Challenging administration charges: leaseholders can apply to the LVT to seek a determination of the reasonableness of other charges arising from the lease in addition to the service charge. For example, consents for alterations and sub-letting, or fees for providing information on resale.
  • Extending a lease: an individual leaseholder who satisfies certain conditions can demand a new lease from Teign Housing, with the price to be agreed between the parties, or, if this is not posible, set by the LVT.
  • Buying the freehold: groups of leaseholders who satisfy certain conditions can get together and enforce the purchase of the freehold, again with the price being agreed between the parties or, if this is not possible, set by the LVT.
  • Right of first refusal: where the landlord proposes to sell their interest in the building, they must offer it to the leaseholders first or they can be prosecuted (except for housing associations and local authority landlords).

Where can I get more advice?

Teign Housing
You can e-mail us at: info@teignhousing.co.uk
Write to: Millwood House, Collett Way, Newton Abbot, TQ12 4PH.
Or telephone: 01626 322722

LEASE - The Leasehold Advisory Service
70-74 City Road, London, ECIY 2BJ.
Tel: 020 7490 9580 or local rate on 0845 345 1993
Fax: 020 7253 2043
E-mail: info@lease-advice.org
Website: www.lease-advice.org

LEASE provides free advice and guidance to leaseholders and landlords on all aspects of leasehold law, including problems with service charges, the right to manage, possession proceedings and rights to lease extension and freehold acquisition. LEASE is funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the National Assembly for Wales.

ARMA - The Association of Residential Managing Agents
178 Battersea Park Road, London SWII 4ND.
Tel: 020 7978 2607
Fax: 020 7498 6133
E-mail: info@arma.org.uk
Website: www.arma.org.uk

ARMA is the leading trade body in England and Wales that focuses exclusively on matters relating to the block management of residential property, whether for landlords or resident management companies. Members agree to adopt and comply with the principal objectives of the Association and undertake to follow the codes of practice issued by ARMA and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

ARHM - the Association of Retirement Housing Managers
89 Albert Embankment, London SE17 7TP.
Tel and fax: 020 7820 1839
E-mail: enquirers@arhm.org
Website: www.arhm.org

ARHM is the leading trade body for managers and landlords of leasehold schemes purpose-built for retired people, whether for landlords or resident management companies. Its members agree to comply with its code of practice for private retirement schemes and to offer leaseholders access to an independent ombudsman scheme.
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