As well as this web page, see our recently published Right To Buy Handbook.
What is a Right to Buy lease?
As a leaseholder you have bought the right to live in your property for a fixed number of years. The first flat sold in a block will have a lease for 125 years. For all subsequent sales in the block the lease date and term of 125 years will start from the date of this first sale. The flat can be bought and sold during that term. The Lease (your leasehold agreement) is a legal contract that contains your rights and obligations as a leaseholder and the Council’s rights and obligations as the owner of the Freehold.
What are your rights as a leaseholder?
- The right to information about the landlord
- The right to seek recognition for a Recognised Tenants Association (RTA)
- The right to information about service charges and the right to challenge the reasonableness for those charges
- The right to be consulted about major works and long term agreements
- The right to information about insurance
- The right to a management audit
What are your responsibilities as a Leaseholder?
It is a condition of your lease that you must not:
- Carry out any structural alteration to your home without first obtaining Wealden District Council’s written consent
- Do anything or allow anything to be done that may be a nuisance or inconvenience to Wealden District Council or your neighbours
- Use your home for any trade, profession or business
- Use your home for any illegal, immoral or improper purpose
- Display any trade, profession or business notice or advertisement on the outside of your flat or on part of the common entrance hall, staircases, landings or passages
- Place any window boxes or plants on windowsills or balconies without our written permission
- Fix any external wireless or television aerial including television satellite dishes or other apparatus to the outside of your home without the prior approval of Wealden District Council
- Play any musical instrument or equipment to cause annoyance to your neighbours
- Park any vehicle, caravan, boat or the like within the precincts of the buildings except a vehicle in any parking space designated by Wealden District Council
The Council insures the building against loss or damage by fire and other risks as necessary to the full rebuilding cost (Buildings Insurance). The cost of the buildings insurance is recoverable from you on an annual basis in advance under the terms of your lease.
The Council does not insure your furniture and belongings against theft, fire, vandalism, burst pipes and other household risks. It is therefore important that you take out Home Contents Insurance.
Letting your Property
You are entitled to rent out (sub-let) your property with the permission of the Council and your mortgage lender.
Leaseholders have to pay their flat’s share of the Council’s costs of maintaining the block and providing services to all the residents in it. This is called the leasehold account. The leasehold account is made up of service charges and administration costs.
The Service Charge
Service charges are payments by the leaseholder to the landlord for all services provided to your block of flats and are payable yearly in advance within 21 days of receipt of your bill. Your service charge includes your contribution for Communal Lighting, Cleaning of Communal areas, Grounds Maintenance (apportioned pro-rata on size of grounds).
You will also receive an invoice for Ground Rent in April, this is rent charged to every leaseholder by the council. It is due yearly in advance and is written into your lease as a fixed sum of £10.00.
The Service Charge also includes an element for each of:
- Itemised repairs
- Painting and pre-painting repairs
- Management charge (10% of the service charge)
- Buildings Insurance
Your Maintenance Responsibilities
Leaseholders own and are responsible for the maintenance and repair of everything inside their home or which relates solely to it. Responsibility also extends to ensuring the health and safety of their own appliances and they should ensure that their gas appliances (boiler, fires etc.) are serviced on a yearly basis by a registered engineer. In addition a qualified NICEIC Electrician should carry out electrical repair checks.
Wealden District Council needs to be notified of any mortgage or re-mortgage relating to your property. The Solicitors or Mortgage Company dealing with the mortgage.
Resident Involvement and improving your community
Wealden wants to involve as many residents as possible in what happens in their area. We therefore aim to encourage and facilitate opportunities for every tenant/resident to become involved in the decision making process to the degree and level they choose. To get more information see the section.
Selling your Property
You may sell your home whenever you like. You should inform the Council of your intention to sale, although you do not need the Council’s permission. However, you must inform the Council of the change in ownership and the purchaser’s solicitors must send a Notice of Transfer giving the new owner(s) details together with a payment of £25 for the registration fee. This should be sent to the Council’s Legal Department at Vicarage Lane, Hailsham, BN27 2AX. For sale signs are only allowed with permission from the Leasehold & Right to Buy Officer.
All sellers are required to get an energy performance certificate (EPC), showing how energy efficient a property is, within 28 days of putting their home on the market.
If you applied for the Right to Buy on or after 18th January 2005 and sell within five years of buying you will have to repay some or all of the discount that you received.