Welcome to your new home
This handbook outlines everything you need to know about living in your home, your rights and responsibilities as a Leaseholder of Wealden District Council. It also gives details of Wealden District Council’s responsibilities and the services they provide and help on how to find out more information should you need it.
The information does not replace your Lease. Any details in the Handbook can only be regarded as a general guide with the lease taking priority. If you have any queries regarding your Lease you will need to consult with your legal representative.
As a Leaseholder you should keep a copy of your Lease as this sets out your rights and obligations and is the legal agreement between you and the Council. A copy should be obtained from your solicitor, if this is not possible you will need to contact the Council’s Leasehold and Right to Buy Officer who may be able to provide you with a copy. There is a charge for this service.
If you have any enquiries regarding any of the matters contained in this Handbook, please contact the Leasehold & Right to Buy Officer.
A bit about Wealden
- Wealden is the largest district in East Sussex covering 323 square miles.
- Half of its 143,700 population live in the five main towns of Polegate, Hailsham, Heathfield, Uckfield and Crowborough. The remaining population live in the 37 smaller and more rural parishes in
- High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the South Downs National Park together cover some 60% of the District.
- In addition, Wealden has 34 conservation areas and 32 sites of special scientific interest. Wealden has more than 2,500 listed buildings.
A bit about Wealden District Council’s homes
The Council continues to own and manage its own housing stock of around 3,000 homes. The stock is made up of Retirement Living Courts, flats, bungalows and houses. In addition, the service manages some housing association properties,
leasehold flats sold under the Right to Buy, retirement leasehold properties and Right to Buy shared ownership properties.
Our office is open 8.30 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday and can be reached by calling 01323 443322.
To report housing repairs (24 hour line)
call 01323 443375.
To report any housing emergency (not repairs) call 01323 41005.
Contact us in writing at: Housing Services, Wealden District Council, Vicarage Lane, Hailsham, East Sussex BN27 2AX
Our office is located at Vicarage Lane, Hailsham, BN27 2AX and is open 8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday (9am on Wednesdays). Please always try to make an appointment prior to visiting the office. If you visit the office without an appointment the appropriate person to deal with your enquiry may
not be available. Appointments can be made by calling us on 01323 443322.
View more information about our services on our housing web pages
The Court Manager is usually on site Monday to Friday between 8am and 4pm (some smaller Courts share one Court Manager between two Courts). When the Court Manager is away for whatever reason a colleague from a neighbouring Court will cover. There will be times when a Court Manager is not at the premises.
When the Court Manager is not on site, and there is an emergency, Wealden & Eastbourne Lifeline (WEL) should be contacted on 01323 644422 (this is different
from the lifeline pull cord – see page 8). If you have a non-urgent enquiry, please wait to see the Court Manager when they are next on site.
What is the Role of the Court Manager?
The Court Manager makes sure residents are safe, the building is secure, and that any emergencies and repairs are dealt with. They enable residents to live
independently within their own homes whilst offering regular support planning and signposting to relevant services where any additional support needs are
Key areas of the Court Manager’s role are:
- Regular contact with residents, including observing and assessing residents wellbeing, whilst encouraging independence and choice;
- Providing a quick response in emergencies;
- Facilitating social activities;
- Assisting residents to secure services as required, e.g. home care agencies, benefits advice and social/special interest activities.
- Liaison with doctors and other health care providers.
- Overseeing the maintenance and safety of the building, including reporting repairs and carrying out regular inspections.
- Regular liaison, including Court walkabouts, with the elected RLRG (Retirement Living Residents Group) representative at their Court.
Court Managers do not undertake personal care, e.g. shopping and cleaning, dispensing medicines, or deal directly with residents’ financial matters, e.g. collecting pensions.
WEL is an organisation established by Wealden District Council and Eastbourne Borough Council.
WEL provide two types of service:
1. It provides out of hours cover to the housing service to deal with emergencies both in and outside Retirement Living housing. Additionally it provides emergency cover during office hours in Retirement Living housing if the Court Manager is not on site.
2. It provides residents with a 24 hour locally based telephone response service which they pay for in their service charge. This is connected to a pull
cord which can be used to raise the alarm in an emergency for example if you fall.
Every Retirement Living property comes with pull cords in every room and a fixed speech unit. Other equipment such as fall detectors are available but
is only provided on assessment. There are charges for some of the equipment. If you would like more information about this please speak to your Court
Agency Contact Number
Adult Social Care 0345 60 80 191
Age UK Advice and Information Line 0800 056 6112
Citizens Advice Bureau Hailsham, Uckfield or Crowborough 0344 411 1444
Disability Living Allowance
(those born on or before 8 April 1948) 0345 605 6055
(those born after 8 April 1948) 0345 712 3456
Attendance Allowance 0345 713 3133
Carer’s Allowance 0345 608 4321
Personal independence Payment 0800 917 2222
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to see if you are eligible for a free home safety visit – 0800 177 7069, general 0303 99 1000
East Sussex County Council 0345 60 80 190
East Sussex Highways 0345 60 80 193
East Sussex Buy With Confidence Scheme 0845 404 0506
East Sussex Occupational Therapy Team 0345 6080191
Furniture Now! (to buy or donate second hand furniture)
Eastbourne 01323 638000
Hailsham 01323 846899
Lewes 01273 487377
Housing Repairs (for repairs to See your Court communal areas or other things Manager or for which the Council are In emergencies responsible) when the manager is off site call: 24 hour repairs line 01323 443375
Pension Services (for state pension or pension credit) new claims 0800 731 7898
or changes to an existing claim 0345 606 0265
South East Water 0333 000 0002
Southern Water 0330 303 1263 (24 hour automated line)
Supporting People 01273 482 805
Sussex Police Emergencies – 999, Non emergencies – 101 or 01273 470101
Television licensing 0300 790 6165
Wealden District Council Payment Line 01323 443188 (rent, council tax etc.)
Wealden District Council – general 01323 443322
Wealden and Eastbourne Lifeline – for out of hours emergencies and lifeline
calls 01323 410051 (for information about other services/products) 01323 644422
Housing Income Team Leader – overall responsibility for leasehold service charges. Telephone: 01323 443374.
Leasehold & Right to Buy Officer – who deals with queries on accounts, leasehold repairs, surrender and sales. Telephone: 01323 443283.
Exchequer Assistant – who deals with payment arrangements, queries and direct debit information. Telephone: 01323 443127.
Tenant Involvement Officer – is the key contact for all forms of resident engagement. Telephone: 01323 443370 or email: email@example.com.
Retirement Living Team Leader – responsible for the day to day running of the Retirement Living Courts. Telephone: 01323 443274.
Housing Solutions Worker – helps those requiring major adaptations explore possible alternatives such as moving to more suitable housing. Telephone: 01323 443250.
Things to remember to do when you move in.
• Please discuss television licensing arrangements with your Court Manager.
• Contact your electricity supplier to put the account in your name.
• Set up an account for your landline telephone and broadband, if applicable.
• Inform Council Tax.
• Arrange for the post from your old home to be re-directed to your new property.
• Bungalows only – contact your gas supplier to put the account in your name.
If you are on benefits
Don’t forget to inform (as applicable):
• The Housing Benefits team.
• Pension Services (for state pension or pension
• Disability and Carers Service, for:
• Disability Living Allowance
• Personal Independence Payment
• Attendance Allowance
• Carer’s Allowance
Update details for:
• Bank/building society accounts.
• Driving licence.
• Insurance policies e.g. car, life insurance,
• Credit cards or store cards.
• Solicitor – e.g. to update your will
Looking after your home
1. The Council insures the Development/Retirement Living Court and property against loss or damage by fire and other risks as necessary to the full
rebuilding cost. The cost of the buildings insurance for your property is recoverable from you on an annual basis in advance under the terms of the
lease (see Section 5) with the exception of the Newnham Way Bungalows, where residents are themselves responsible for the buildings insurance.
2. Further information on Wealden District Council’s buildings insurance may be obtained from the Finance Department at Vicarage Lane.
3. If you wish to make a claim on the Council’s Buildings insurance, please contact the Councils Finance Department in the first instance.
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. This may be done with an insurance company of your choice and you are advised to shop around for the best deal.
Internal painting and decoration is your responsibility and is required once every 7 years under the terms of the lease
Now that you have moved home you may require some new furniture or may wish to get rid of some of your existing furniture, particularly if you have downsized.
There are local charities that may be able to assist you.
When entering the main building please ensure that the door is closed properly behind you and do not wedge it open. Please do not let strangers into the block or
anyone else that you do not know including those presenting themselves as “officials” as this poses a security risk to other residents. Locks are part of special mastered suites, replacement keys or locks must be ordered through the Court
Manager for which a charge may be made.
Should you wish to discuss any matters relating to general fire safety in the home, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service are happy to offer expert advice
including home visits. To contact them visit:
Living in a flat is a greater responsibility than a house in many ways as your actions can affect your neighbours safety – and vice versa. We have listed below some things you can do to live together more safely:
The shared areas of our flats are ‘no smoking’ areas, this includes all corridors and stairwells and in addition all bin stores, drying areas, etc.
Corridors and Meter Cupboards
These must not be used for storage, for bicycles, mobility scooters, etc.
Please do not put up pictures or curtains and do not lay carpet or doormats unless agreed by the Court Manager.
Please ensure that where possible the bin area/bins are locked or closed.
Do not store rubbish outside the bins and especially not against the building or any timber fences, etc.
Fire Doors and Fire Equipment
The entrance doors to the Retirement Court and most corridor doors are self-closing fire doors. Please do not alter these or prop them open – if they are faulty
report this promptly. Where there are designated fire exits and routes from
the building make sure you know where these are in case of an emergency.
There are fire alarms and emergency lighting within the main building which are tested and serviced regularly.
Fire Alarms will be tested weekly so please see your Court Manager or Notice Board for details on which day/time the fire alarms are tested in your Court.
Flat Entrance Doors
All doors to individual flats are fire doors, both to prevent fire spreading into your flat and from your flat. All doors must be fire rated doors, with fire rated glass,
intumescent strips on the edges and be self-closing. Under no circumstances must any alterations or replacements be made to the door or frame without
the prior express written consent from the Council.
Loft Areas (bungalows only)
Loft areas should be kept clear and not used for storage as they are an important part of the fire integrity of the building.
What can you expect from the Council
All Retirement Living properties have been fitted with a smoke detection system that is connected to the main electrical supply. The Court Manager carries out
a weekly fire alarm test and the system is serviced by a specialist contractor. Should you be concerned at anytime that there is a fault please report it to us as a
Do not leave any personal belongings in internal and external communal areas, as this is a health and safety risk.
Normal waste (including items that can be recycled such as paper, plastics, tins and cardboard) is collected from the Court. However if you have large items such as furniture to dispose off please take them to a waste disposal centre or contact the Council to arrange for a special collection – please note that there will be a charge for this service.
Living in your home
Booking, and checking in and out of guest rooms, is arranged through the Court Manager.
Some Do’s and Don’ts
- Make use of all the communal areas which are part of the Court in which you live.
- Join in activities provided within your Court.
- Report any repairs or concerns to your Court Manager.
- Be considerate and responsible towards your neighbours.
- Abide by your legal responsibilities as set out in your lease.
- Pay any rent, service charges and other charges on time.
- Allow us access to your property at a conveniently agreed time as necessary.
Abide by your maintenance responsibilities.
- Get involved in improving your community and the services provided to you by speaking to your RLRG representative or the Tenant Involvement Officer.
- Do not smoke in communal areas.
- Do not breach any of your legal responsibilities as set out in your lease.
- Do not prop open communal doors or entrances.
- Do not store personal belongings in communal areas.
Getting on with other residents is not always easy; however it is essential for a happy and peaceful life for both yourself and others.
With residents we have agreed the following definition:
“Acceptable behaviour is behaviour that is considerate and responsible; empathises with the individual circumstances of our neighbours and is respectful of our community”.
What do we expect from you?
It is expected that residents will be considerate of one another. Antisocial behaviour means different things to different people, and what might appear to
be acceptable behaviour for one resident, may not be acceptable to another.
With regards to issues which could cause antisocial behaviour, your lease states that:
You must not and you must not allow your visitors to do anything within the Retirement Living complex which may be or become a nuisance, annoy, damage
or inconvenience the Council or anyone else living in the Court or surrounding area.
You must not play any music or musical instrument loudly or in any other way to cause annoyance to the Council or other occupiers.
You must not leave boxes or anything else including rubbish in any communal areas, whether internal or external.
You can only keep a pet in the property if you have been given written permission by the council. If the pet causes a nuisance or annoyance to the Council or
other occupiers at the Court then permission may be withdrawn.
Each property is allowed to park just one private motor vehicle in the parking spaces contained within the Court. If you have visitors then they must find
alternative parking if you already have a private motor vehicle parked within the Court. Please note that no privately owned commercial vehicles must be parked
within the Court/Development.
What to expect from the Council
If you are experiencing problems with another resident you may be able to resolve it yourself by approaching them to discuss an issue of concern.
If this is not possible, or if the nuisance continues, then speak to your Court Manager for advice. We treat antisocial behaviour very seriously and are committed to preventing and tackling the causes of antisocial behaviour.
What is a shared ownership lease?
As a leaseholder you have bought the right to live in your property for a fixed number of years – initially, up to 99 years. Your lease is a legal document/binding
contract, enforceable in law, which contains both your rights as leaseholder and the council’s rights as freeholder. Your legal representative should have
explained it to you before it was signed.
The Council is the freeholder and as such owns the building in which you live, and is responsible for looking after the structure, exterior and common areas
of the Court, as well as the services and facilities in common areas.
You are a leaseholder and as a leaseholder you have to pay your flat’s/bungalows share of the council’s costs of maintaining the Court and providing services.
The service charge is your share of the council’s costs in the day to day running the Court and/or services received.
Some leaseholders own 100% of the lease and others own as little as 25%. For those that do not own the whole lease there is a rental charge for the share of the
property not owned.
In addition you are responsible for a percentage of the cost of planned renewals such as communal lighting, boilers, lifts, laundry equipment, etc. The details are
set out in your lease and the costs are calculated as a percentage of the units within the development – e.g. if there are 20 properties (flats or bungalows) you would pay 5% or 1/20 of the costs of the works).
Your property – Your responsibilities as a Retirement Living leaseholder
It is a condition of your lease that you must not do any of the following:
- Carry out any structural alteration to your home without first obtaining Wealden District Council’s written consent.
- Not to use the property other than as a place of permanent residence and private dwelling for persons aged 60 years or over.
- You must not and you must not allow your visitors to do anything within the Retirement Living complex which may be or become a nuisance, annoy, damage or inconvenience the Council or anyone else living in the Court or
- Not to hold or permit any sale or auction on the property.
- Not to erect any structure within the boundary of the Property nor to make any structural alteration or addition to the property. Not to erect or allow
on the Property or any part of it any advertising board without the prior consent in writing of the Council.
- Not without the prior consent in writing of the Council to erect or permit the erection on the exterior of the property any aerial or other apparatus for the reception or transmission of radio or television.
- Not to leave boxes or anything else including rubbish in any communal areas, whether internal or external. Not play any music or musical instrument loudly or in any other way to cause annoyance to the
Council or other occupiers.
- To the satisfaction of the Council to maintain in good repair order and condition the boundary walls or fences to the property as marked ‘T’
inwards on any plan attached to your lease for bungalows or flats with garden.
- No fence gate or other structure shall be erected neither shall any hedge be grown on the boundaries without the prior consent from the
Council for bungalows or flats with garden.
- Do not cut, lop or fell or in any other way interfere with any trees within the boundary of the property if a bungalow or flat with a garden, without the
consent of the Council.
- You must repair and keep in good condition the interior of the property including drains and fixtures.
- You must decorate the interior of the property at least once every seven years.
Changes to your deeds
If you change your name or marital status you will need to contact your legal representative and Wealden District Council. Please forward the relevant details to the Council’s Legal Services at the Council Offices so that the records held by the Council can be amended. If the change is because of a marriage please forward a copy of your marriage certificate. A fee will not be charged for this service.
Your Neighbourhood – Your Rights & Responsibilities
We will maintain the communal grounds (including flower beds and borders), through contracts for grass cutting, tree and shrub maintenance. The Council
supervises these contracts and grass cutting is usually carried out every two weeks between April and October (weather dependent).
Please be sensible when using communal parking bays, Retirement Living leaseholders may have the use of one car parking space if available along with all
You should not park any untaxed or unroadworthy vehicle in a parking area. The Council will take action to remove the vehicle if you do not do so within a
reasonable period of time and the cost of this will be recharged to you.
Your Lease requires occupants to avoid causing a nuisance to other residents. Sometimes people, especially those not used to living in flats, can forget
that it is necessary to have consideration for their neighbours. This is particularly relevant for noise nuisance and people having their televisions, radios
or stereo systems too loud. It is important to be quiet especially in corridors and on staircases.
Your Rights as a Retirement Living leaseholder
There may be occasions where we need to gain access to your flat/bungalow for example to carry repairs or to examine the state and condition of the property relating to our lease obligations. We will of course, give you reasonable notice and request a suitable time by appointment to access the property.
Wealden District Council must keep in good and substantial repair and condition and renew, amend and clean where necessary the Development/Retirement
Living Court. This includes the entire structure from foundations to floors, walls and roofs to window frames and communal doors. It does not include the
finishing’s in your flat/bungalow or fixtures such as kitchens, bathrooms or internal doors.
Wealden District Council must maintain communal areas and items such as lighting, corridors, door entry phones and systems, pathways and stairs. The Council will also maintain fencing and gates (except those that are marked in the lease as your responsibility).
Wealden District Council must also maintain cisterns, tanks, drains, sewers, gutters, pipes, wires, cables ducts and conduits (except those that are for the
sole use of your flat/bungalow).
As a Retirement Living leaseholder you will be required to pay in your service charge for the above items as per the terms of your lease.
What are service charges?
Service charges are payments by the Retirement Living leaseholder to the landlord for all services provided to the development/Retirement Living Court and are payable monthly in advance on the first day of each month. Your service charge includes your contribution to the Council for the provision of services and carrying out obligations or functions as specified in schedule 5 of your lease. The schedule includes contribution towards current management of the Development/ Retirement Living Court, communal facilities, keeping
in good repair and condition the main structure of the buildings within the development/Retirement Living Court, drives paths parking spaces landscaped areas and grounds of the development/ Retirement Living Court and pipes cables gutters and drains that are communal.
Types of charges:
Service charges for Retirement Living housing are
made up of 3 areas:
1. Retirement Living Support Charge:
• Court managers services.
• Door entry system.
2. Other Charges (sometimes called service charge):
• Property management.
• Maintenance of communal areas including
cleaning, lighting and renewal of equipment e.g.
• Grass cutting, sweeping and general grounds
3. Shared utilities including electricity, gas, water and
sewerage, also heating and hot water (flats only).
Rent is charged annually to Retirement Living leaseholders who do not own 100% of their lease. Rent is calculated by the council based on the current yearly
rent for that type/size of property and you will be charged a proportionate amount depending on the share that you own in the property. All rents are payable by equal monthly instalments in advance on the first day of each month.
For all leaseholders who own 100% of the lease an annual ground rent of £10 is payable. The charge is payable on 1st April in advance.
You will receive a letter that states the amount of rent due and if you are entitled to assistance with paying your rent it is your responsibility to apply for it through
the Housing Benefits team. Please note that you cannot claim Housing Benefit on the heating charge.
Your rent charges are subject to an annual review and you will be given written notice of any rent increase. You will receive a quarterly rent statement showing the payments, debits and balance of your account. Contact the Income Team between 8.30 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday to discuss any matters relating to
your rent account.
The management charge under the terms of the lease is set at 10% of the actual annual cost of providing services and carrying out the obligations and functions
as stated under the terms of the lease.
The Council insures the development/Retirement Living Court including individual properties. The cost of this buildings insurance for your individual property is recharged to you annually and payable monthly, quarterly or annually by direct debit or cheque.
As a Retirement Living leaseholder, please be aware that a proportion of the cost of planned work to the development will be charged to you. The development
is the building and grounds of the Court that are defined in your lease. This proportion will depend on the number of properties in the development, so if
there are 40 properties in total, your proportion will be one 40th of the cost of the work.
To avoid any possible misunderstanding, this proportion is not affected by the percentage ownership of the lease.
In order to reduce the impact of these works, each development has a sinking fund. This is a sum of money set aside that can be used to help pay for these
costs. When a property is sold, 1% of the value is put into the sinking fund. Additionally, we have introduced a weekly charge at most developments to supplement the sinking fund. This is collected with the weekly rent (where applicable) and other service charge costs.
Ways to pay your rent/service charge
This is the safest and easiest way to pay. All you have to do is fill in a direct debit instruction form, choose the date you want to pay on, sign it and send it to us. We can also set up your direct debit over the phone. Please call 01323 443373.
If the amount you have to pay changes, we will give you at least 10 working days notice and in the unlikely event of a mistake being made, your bank will give you an immediate refund. More details are on the direct debit mandate form.
By phone, 24 hours a day
If you have a debit (not Electron) or credit card, you can pay at any time over the phone. All you have to do is phone 01323 443188 and follow the instructions. You will need to know your account reference number which can be found on your
rent statement – it’s a 6 digit number. There is no charge for using this service.
Over the internet
You can use your credit or debit (not Electron) card to pay at www.wealden.gov.uk and click on “make a payment”. You will need to select “Housing Rents” and enter your rent reference number which can be found on your rent statement– it’s a 6 digit number. There is no charge for using this service.
Through your bank
Most banks offer internet or phone banking services, including bill paying services, or you can pay by debit card or cheque at the counter. Your bank’s website will give you instructions on how to register and pay bills. The Council’s details may already be on the bank’s payment system but if not you will need to give the Council’s bank details.
Sort code: 30–80–12
Account Number: 10341360
Account name: Wealden District Council
You will need to enter your rent reference number which can be found on the front of this statement – it’s a 6 digit number.
Post Office and Paypoint
Post Offices will accept cheques (made payable to Post Offices Limited), cash and debit card. When making such payments you will have to provide them with your rent reference number, which is a 6 digit number. You can pay by cash at any Pay-Point or at any Post Office using a Pay-Point card. If you don’t have a Pay-Point card, please phone us on 01323 443373 and we will be happy to issue one. You will need to tell us your rent reference number when you phone.
Please do not bring or send cheques or cash to the Council offices, as we cannot accept them and they will not be receipted onto your account.
Problems paying your Rent
If you are having difficulty paying your rent or any other charges please contact us to discuss.
Your Responsibilities for Maintenance and Repair
Regardless of whether the whole or part of the lease is owned by Retirement Living Leaseholders:
1) Own and are responsible for the maintenance and repair of everything inside your home or which relates solely to it.
2) Are also responsible for:
• Internal doors in your home.
• Internal repairs.
• Undertaking decoration of your flat/bungalow once every seven years and in the last year of the said term.
• Glass in your windows (damage due to vandalism may be claimable under the leaseholder insurance) but not window frames.
• Fixtures, fittings, pipes, tanks, cisterns, plumbing and wires used exclusively by your flat/bungalow.
• Television points.
• Letterboxes, locks and window catches.
• Internal walls, ceilings, floor surfaces and plasterwork including Artex.
• Gardens and steps if they are for your sole use and have been included in your lease plan.
For a detail schedule of items and whose responsibility they are please see Appendix 1.
Since you are responsible for many repairs it may be necessary for you to employ a trade’s person at some point. For your own safety it is essential that you employ someone with the correct insurance and qualifications. How can you ensure this:
Buy With Confidence
East Sussex County Council’s Trading Standards Service run a “Buy With Confidence” scheme which puts local consumers in touch with approved traders
who have agreed to provide high standards of customer service, including dealing promptly with any complaints.
How does it work?
Approved traders are vetted before they join and agree to:
• Ensure that staff are properly trained for their work.
• Respond promptly and correctly to customer complaints.
• Get Criminal Records Bureau clearance for all staff who carry out work in people’s homes.
In addition, Trading Standards will provide a mediation service if there is a dispute that cannot be resolved between the parties concerned.
For more information including details of local traders visit www.eastsussex.gov.uk and use the search
facility to search for “Buying With Confidence” or alternatively call East Sussex County Council.
If you need to report a repair which is not your responsibility (see Appendix 1) including communal repairs please speak to your Court Manager or in
emergencies call the 24 hour repairs line.
If you have a problem which is your responsibility then you may find your own contractor/s to complete the repair. Alternatively you can request for the repair to be completed by the Council’s nominated contractor. We will then arrange for the repair to be completed and the cost to be reclaimed from you.
Carrying out alterations
Alterations include putting in a new kitchen or bathroom or adding a conservatory. Due to the specialist nature and construction of Retirement Living
Courts, improvements and alterations will not usually be permitted, unless detailed plans are submitted and approved by Housing Services before works are
started. It is essential that you take advice from the Leasehold & Right to Buy Officer before undertaking any works in your property.
Any costs incurred by Housing Services for carrying out work to the communal systems as part of your improvement may be passed on to you.
If your alterations/improvements are approved by Housing Services you are responsible for the on-going maintenance on works that you have carried out.
If you add a conservatory or make any other alteration to your property you may need to inform your insurance company.
Before installing a satellite dish you must get our written consent and also check with the Planning Service to ensure that you are not restricted from doing so.
For advice on dealing with mice, rats, cockroaches or other types of pest in your home, contact the Environmental Health department at the Council. Please note that there may be a charge for this service. If the pests are within the communal areas then the Council is liable to deal with the problem, in which case please report it to your Court Manager.
If you smell gas act quickly, call Transco – freephone:
• Turn off all gas appliances.
• Do not smoke, use naked flames, or touch any electrical switches.
• Open doors and windows.
For leasehold flats the Council will maintain the hot water and heating systems as they are serviced by a communal boiler system. For bungalows you are responsible for dealing with repairs and getting an annual service on your boiler.
You must provide the Council with a copy of your service certificate. As an alternative, the lease allows you to benefit from our current Gas Servicing Contract, for an annual premium. This contract would provide you with an annual service for the boiler and repairs, although complete replacement of the system would be at the leaseholders expense – please contact us for more information.
In most cases reports of damp and mould are due to condensation. Effects of condensation can be improved or eliminated by changes in lifestyle. It is
important to maintain a balance between warmth and ventilation. By keeping a low background heat and using vents helps achieve this balance. For further
advice on condensation please telephone us or visit our website: www.wealden.gov.uk/Wealden/Housing.aspx
We are responsible for the upkeep of the development as a whole, ensuring it is maintained properly and in addition that major components such as lifts and roofs are replaced as and when necessary. This includes ensuring that sufficient money and resources are available to complete the works.
To enable this we hold detailed records of all the major components on all our sites and how long they are likely to last – ideally replacing them just before they fail to achieve the best value for money.
To ensure this is accurate we carry out regular surveys of the condition of these components and maintain a planned works programme on a bespoke asset
We will also wherever possible include in the replacement works upgrading to modern standards, for example replacing single glazing with double glazing,
upgrading lighting to more energy efficient equivalents, also considering options such as photo-voltaic panels to generate electricity and reduce running costs.
In order to keep down your fuel costs, make your home warmer and help protect the environment it is important to use energy efficiently.
For advice on energy efficiency visit our website: www.wealden.gov.uk
For advice and information on energy efficiency and on grants/loans available please call us.
Some properties contain asbestos; however this is generally bound within another material, such as asbestos cement sheeting or board, and is only harmful if damaged or disturbed.
We adhere to the recommendations of the Health & Safety Executive by identifying and managing all materials containing asbestos, encapsulating or
removing them if they deteriorate or as part of other works e.g. kitchen replacements.
We maintain an asbestos register and can provide details on request; in addition we carry out regular surveys to ensure we hold current details on the condition of these materials.
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.
Resident Involvement Team
Wealden employs a small team to help residents to become involved in their area, including help with setting up resident associations or with community
surveys or applying for funding to deliver community projects.
There is a recognised residents association, the Retirement Living Residents Group (RLRG) that represents all Retirement Living residents; both tenants
and leaseholders living at any of the Wealden Courts.
If you would like any information or advice about resident groups please contact the Resident Involvement Team or at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Resident groups across the District
There are a number of existing resident groups across the district set up to work together to improve their neighbourhood; this includes RLRG. If you would like
to get involved in RLRG please either speak to your Court representative or contact us.
For more information go to www.wealden.gov.uk or contact the Resident Involvement Team.
Range of ways to get involved
Depending on your interest and the time you have available there are various ways in which you can get involved which include:
• Joining RLRG.
• Attending a focus group for tenants on a particular subject.
• Completing phone and postal surveys and/or questionnaires.
• Court inspections/walkabouts.
• Involvement in selecting contractors who carry out works to our properties.
• Developing the Retirement Living Compact.
• Helping us monitor delivery of contracts.
Tenant Compacts/Partnership Agreements
We have two Tenant Compacts (partnership agreements) one for Retirement Living Tenants/Leaseholders and one for General Needs Tenants that
show how we work with our tenants. We also have estate based compacts. To find out more about these or to see if there is a compact for your area please
contact us or at: email@example.com
For most projects external funding will be required. The Resident Involvement Team work closely with residents to identify and bid for such funding. If you would like to know more please contact the Resident Involvement Team or at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Staircasing: what is it and how can I do it?
If you do not buy 100% of the lease to start with, your lease enables you to buy additional shares in your property if you are able to do at some point in the future; this is known as staircasing. You can buy additional shares until you own 100% of the lease. If you buy out the full lease then you will be required to pay £10 per year in ground rent.
If you would like to buy additional shares of your lease, then under the terms of your lease you must let the Council know. The Council will then undertake the
necessary work including instructing an independent valuation. You will be required to pay all the costs associated with buying more of your home including
valuations costs and legal costs.
Selling your flat/bungalow
You may sell your home back to the Council (surrender the lease) whenever you like and must give the Council the option to buy back your lease. Your lease and
‘Giving up your lease’ below details the procedure which will be followed, together with the deductions which will be made from your share of the property.
Giving up your lease
Making a Will
It is important to remember to make a Will to ensure that your estate (your property and any other assets or money that you have) is dealt with how you would like when you die.
You can give up the lease on your property at anytime. This is called surrendering your lease. If you decide to do this you must offer the lease back to the Council.
The Council will make a decision within 1 month whether to accept the surrender. This decision is called the Option Notice.
If the Council accepts the surrender of the property you own the lessee will receive the current market value of the share (which may have gone up or down
since it was purchased according to how the housing market is performing). This will be less the following:
• Any arrears of rent or service charge as well as any other outstanding charges (buildings insurance etc. will be charged pro rota).
• Any amount of money required to put the property in a good state of repair.
• The Councils reasonable and proper costs and expenses relating to the surrender of the lease.
• A 1% deduction of the full market value of the property will be made for the sinking fund.
Once the final figure is agreed the lessee has 1 month to decide whether to proceed with the surrender.
What happens if I die whilst a leaseholder?
On the death of the lessee they can leave the property to their spouse or family member if:
• He/she is residing at the property when the lessee dies, and
• Is aged 60+
If the person cannot meet the terms of the lease e.g. is not aged over 60 years old then the lease shall be offered back to the Council (i.e. surrendered).
The Council will make a decision within 1 month whether to accept the surrender. This decision is called the Option Notice. See ‘Moving On’ for details of how the value less any deductions will be arrived at.
Once the final figure is agreed the lessees executor has 1 month to decide whether to proceed with the surrender.
Mortgages on or charges against your property
Your lease states that you cannot mortgage or have a charge against the property (for example a secured loan) without the written consent of the Council unless
it is with a Building Society in which case you need to notify the Council in writing within 14 days of the charge/mortgage taking place.
Wealden and Eastbourne Lifeline
Wealden & Eastbourne Lifeline provide a 24-hour alarm system that is installed in all of our Retirement Living properties. There is a charge for this service and this is paid annually via the service charge for your property.
Other Support Services
It is important to help support people to live independently within their own home and Housing Services and East Sussex Adult Social Care work
together to ensure that there are services to meet people’s needs.
To find out what current support services are available and whether you qualify visit the Council’s website at: www.wealden.gov.uk or contact your Court Manager.
As an owner occupier if you or a person living with you is disabled, you may qualify for a Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) to adapt your property
to enable the disabled person to live as independently as possible.
The DFG must be for a person who is registered, or could be registered as a disabled person. The disability can be caused by physical illness or injury, a major
sight, hearing, speech or mental-health problem, or a learning disability.
In order for works to be carried out it is necessary for the person to undergo assessment by one of East Sussex County Council’s Occupational Therapist, who
will advise the Council what works are considered necessary and appropriate for their needs. To arrange an assessment call the East Sussex Occupational
If the works required would costs more than £5,000, the grant is registered as a local land charge against the property. The charge will last a maximum of 10
years, and is limited to a maximum repayment of £10,000. The level of grant is means tested by looking at the income and savings of the disabled person and
their spouse or partner, so you may have to make a contribution towards the cost of any works. More information is available by visiting:
www.wealden.gov.uk or by calling us.
The legislation concerning consultation is extremely complex. Below we have given a brief outline of the basic requirements.
What must we consult you on?
The Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002 requires the council to consult with you before it begins any major repairs, maintenance or improvements for
which you have to pay a share, and which will cost any leaseholder in the building/bungalow more than £250.
You must also be consulted on certain long-term agreements, or contracts lasting more than 12 months, which the council intends to enter into, and will cost
you more than £100 a year. When existing long-term contracts are due for renewal we will also carry out consultation with all leaseholders in line with current legislation.
How will we consult with you?
Works with new contractors
You will be written to with an outline of the proposed works (known as a ‘notice of intention’) and ask if you wish to nominate a contractor. We will allow 30 days
for written comments.
if the contract for services, supplies or works exceed the set thresholds and we are legally required to publish invitations to tender in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), you have no right to nominate a contractor but we will write to you telling you about our intentions. In each case we will give you 30 days to reply.
Housing Services will invite the contractors who have been nominated by the majority vote of leaseholders to quote or in the case of OJEU we will select a shortlist from those contractors who apply in response to the advert. The contractors will, as a minimum, have to meet the Wealden District Council criteria for finances, health and safety and workmanship.
Works with existing contractors
On major works to the Development/Retirement Living Court where we have an Existing Long Term Agreement with a contractor we will provide you with
details of the works we propose together with a reason why the works are required and an estimated cost. This is classed as a section 20 notice.
Your Comments on the Estimates
We will invite your comments on the proposed works (notice of intention) and on the estimated costs. You will be invited to send in written observations on
the estimates within 30 days. Housing Services must have regard to these written comments. We will then award the contract.
However, we do not have to write to you again if the chosen contractor has been suggested by a leaseholder, or has sent in the lowest estimate.
In exceptional circumstances we can carry out emergency or urgent works, for example if a roof has collapsed. This will be without consultation with leaseholders in advance, although the costs will still be charged to you providing we have gained permission from the First Tier Tribunal Property Chamber (who is
able to decide on a variety of leasehold disputes). We will notify you as soon as is practicable of the costs.
Wealden District Council has a procedure for complaints about our services. The procedure, which has a leaflet and form, is called ‘I Want to Make a Complaint’. These are available online at: www.wealden.gov.uk Or are available by contacting us.
The leaflet explains fully the procedure to follow; there is no requirement for complaints to be made in writing. You can provide feedback to any member of staff who will log and action it accordingly or alternatively you can visit our website and log the details at: www.wealden.gov.uk or you can:
Telephone , Email, Write to us or visit us at our office.
The formal complaints procedure is intended to deal with specific situations such as mistakes, delay or inefficiency.
Complaints/Disputes about Service Charges
We also have a procedure for formal disputes that Leaseholders may have with their Service Charge. Simply mark on the job description list and/or account
the items you are disputing and forward it to the Leasehold & Right to Buy Officer. If there is a need to consult with another member of staff then the
Leasehold & Right to Buy Officer will advise you of this and arrange to telephone you back or contact you in writing when the answer is at hand. We will aim to
answer your query, in full, within two weeks. You will still need to pay for the items on the account that you are not disputing.
If you are not satisfied with the decision you can request a review by the Chief Executive of Wealden District Council. If you remain unsatisfied at this point
then you would need to take your case to the First Tier Tribunal Property Chamber (FTTPC).
The FTTPC also deal with issues arising from Enfranchisement (see the Glossary) and Lease Renewals, Service Charges, Administration Charges, Estate Management Charges, Insurance and Dispensation with Section 20 consultation requirements. The fees may vary but the maximum fee is £500.
A Citizens Advice Bureau may be able to help you with advice and your local library may have useful information for Leaseholders.
Feedback about our services
We are keen to hear from residents about our service.
Giving a Compliment
If you are pleased about something that we have done or the service we provide please let us know.
Room for Improvement
If you have a suggestion for how we can improve one or more of the services that we provide, please let us know.
The following tables provide a guide to the most common issues, but the lists are not exhaustive.
A – Wealden District Council will carry out the work or service and can recharge the leaseholder a percentage of the total cost as set out under the terms of the lease
B – The leaseholder is responsible for arranging the work and making
full payment to the supplier
Repairs, Maintenance & Services to Retirement Living Flats
Leaseholder Responsibility for work and payment
- Pipes, wiring, cables and conduits, supplying water, electricity etc. within the walls of the flat that no other person benefits from
- Radiators, radiator valves and pipework (within flat)
- Bath, shower and all parts of toilet cistern (within flat)
- Taps, tap washers (within flat)
- Drainage from kitchen, bath sink or toilet (blockages within flat)
- Extractor fans in bathrooms (within flat)
- Kitchen units, handles, sinks, taps and waste (within flat)
- Internal doors (within flat)
- Internal locks & door furniture
- Decoration (within flat)
- Carpets (within flat)
- Glass, latches, locking arms, hinges, keys of windows (within flat)
- Handles, Hinges and glass to flat entrance doors
- Internal plaster & ceiling of walls (within flat)
- Contents Insurance
Council Responsibility for work and payment
- Central heating supply into flat
- Smoke alarms installed by Council (within flat)
- Suited locks to flat entrance doors
- External window frames
- External doors – front and back
- Building Insurance for individual flats
Repairs, Maintenance & Services to Bungalows
Leaseholder Responsibility for work and payment
- Pipes, wiring, cables and conduits, supplying water, electricity etc. within the walls of the flat that no other person benefits from
- Radiators, radiator valves and pipework
- Boiler maintenance
- Hot water tank
- Cold water tank
- Bath, shower and all parts of toilet cistern
- Taps, tap washers
- Drainage from kitchen, bath sink or toilet
- Extractor fans in bathrooms
- Kitchen units, handles, sinks, taps and waste
- Internal doors
- Internal locks & door furniture
- Glass, latches, locking arms, hinges, keys of windows (within the bungalow)
- Handles, Hinges and glass to entrance doors
- Internal plaster & ceiling of walls
- Boundaries, fences or walls to private garden
- Maintenance and repair of any sheds within boundary
- Individual satellite dish
- Contents Insurance
Council Responsibility for work and payment
- Smoke alarms installed by Council
- Suited locks to bungalow entrance doors
- External window frames
- External doors – front and back
- Building Insurance to the property (except Newnham Way)
Repairs, Maintenance & Services to the Communal Areas
- Radiators, radiator valves and pipework in the communal areas
- Central heating system
- Central heating supply to communal areas
- Smoke alarms installed by the Council in the communal areas
- Interior and exterior lighting to communal areas
- Disabled bath and shower room
- Communal kitchen
- Communal lounge
- Communal toilets
- Decoration to communal areas
- Floor structure including floor coverings and carpets to the communal areas
- Internal and external doors in communal areas
- Facias, soffits, rainwater goods (gutters & downpipes) in the building
- Roof to the building including roof space
- Communal passage and stairways
- Communal garden maintenance, paths, fencing, walls, hedges and grass cutting
- Communal TV aerial
- Door entry system
- Communal washing and drying room
- Parking areas
- Building Insurance
- Safety equipment including fire
Adaptations – Alteration to the property so that it becomes better fitted to the needs of the disabled occupier/s.
Alterations – Adjustment, change or modification to the property structure or its fixtures.
Antisocial behaviour – The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 defines anti-social behaviour as ‘acting in a manner that caused or was likely to cause harassment,
alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as (the defendant)’.
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – Is an area of countryside considered to have significant landscape value in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, that has been specially designated on behalf of the Government in the UK.
Building Society – Means a building society incorporated (or deemed to be incorporated) within the meaning of S119 of the Building Societies Act 1986
Buildings Insurance – Building insurance is coverage purchased to protect financial risks because of a loss or damage to physical structures owned.
Communal – communal areas means an area of property/building/land which residents of the development have shared use of.
Conservation area – Is a tract of land that has been awarded protected status in order to ensure that natural features, cultural heritage or biota are safeguarded. A conservation area may be a nature reserve, a park, a land reclamation project, or other area.
Contents Insurance – Is insurance that pays for damage to, or loss of, an individual’s personal possessions whilst they are located within that
individual’s home. Some contents insurance policies also provide restricted cover for personal possessions temporarily taken away from the home by the
Council – Local governing body.
Deeds – Written deed conveys ownership of a property.
The Development – Means the bungalows and flats for people aged 60 or over including car parking areas and amenity areas.
Dispensations – An exemption or release from an obligation or rule, granted by or as if by an authority.
Enfranchisement – A statutory right or privilege granted to a person or group by a government.
Executor – Executor is a legal term referring to a person named by a maker of a will, or nominated to carry out the directions of the will.
Fittings and Fixtures – There is no legal definition of what constitutes fixtures and what constitutes fittings, however, it is generally considered that ‘fixtures’ are
items that are secured or bolted to the walls or floor and ‘fittings’ are free standing items. For example:
Fixtures – light fixtures, central heating systems (including radiators), kitchen units, bathroom suites, built in wardrobes.
Fittings – paintings, pictures and mirrors (hung to wall), curtains and rails, carpets & lampshades.
There is a general assumption that, unless otherwise specifically stated, fixtures will remain in the property and fittings will be taken by the vendor.
Freehold – A freehold is the lifetime ownership (unless sold) of land and all immovable structures attached to such land (e.g. properties). This is opposed to a lease.
Lease – A lease is a contractual arrangement which requires the lessee (user) to pay the lessor (owner) for use of an asset usually a house, building or land for a
period of time.
Leasehold – The property subject to the lease reverts to the freehold owner of the land after the lease period has expired.
Lessee – The holder/user of a lease.
Lifeline – Is a 24 hour response service in Wealden provided by Wealden and Eastbourne Lifeline (WEL). The service provided to all Retirement Living properties is the Lifeline pull cord. The service is designed to protect people living in their own homes and is supplied with a personal pendant trigger. WEL also provide the housing service with out of hour’s emergency cover.
Listed Building– A listed building, in the United Kingdom, is a building that has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or
Historic Interest. Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) – This is the publication in which all tenders from the public sector which are valued above a certain financial threshold according to EU legislation, must be
Property Charges – A second charge is a legal charge put on a property in favour of a lender. A second charge comes second in line to a first charge, which
would normally be your mortgage. Therefore when the property gets sold, the first charge – i.e. your mortgage will be cleared in full before the second charge
receives any money. The second charge would then have access to any remaining funds up to the amount of the full outstanding balance of the second charge.
Second charges are put on goods or property as a way of securing a debt.
Service Charge – Service charges are levied by landlords to recover the costs they incur in providing services to a dwelling.
Site of Specific Scientific Interest – Is a conservation designation denoting a protected area in the United Kingdom.
Sinking Fund – A sinking fund is a sum of money set up to build up an amount to pay for major work, usually to a block of flats/Retirement Living Court/
development such as replacing a roof or door entry system. This means that when major work is carried out, the bill will not be as large because of the money collected over a period of time from different leaseholders.
Staircasing – Once you have completed your purchase you can buy further shares in your property. This process, known as staircasing, enables you to own a
greater proportion of your home.
South Downs National Park – The South Downs National Park is England’s newest National Park, having become fully operational on 1 April 2011. An
area is designated as a national park for conservation purposes.
Surrender – The legal process of ending the lease.
Valuation – The process of finding out how much the property/land/asset etc. is worth.
DFG – Disabled Facilities Grant
FTTPC – First Tier Tribunal Property Chamber
OJEU – Official Journal of the European Union
RLRG – Retirement Living Residents Group