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13 leaseholder rights

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

If you own or plan on owning a leasehold property it is important that you understand the legal nature of this type of property ownership.

The ownership of a leasehold property is very different to owning the freehold, as our article ‘The difference between leasehold & freehold’ explains in detail. This article will focus on your rights as a leaseholder, which should be outlined in your leasehold contract with the landlord. 

One of your simplest rights is that you will have the right to peaceful occupation of the property for the duration of the lease, called ‘quiet enjoyment’. Contractually, you also have the right to expect the freeholder to maintain, repair and manage any shared parts of the building. Shared areas are parts of the property that you do not own as part of your lease but have the right to access. Shared parts of the building are likely to include the exterior of the property, the entrance hall and staircases. There are many other rights that the leaseholder has and should be aware of.

A leasehold can and should ask for a summary of the costs involved for ground rent, service charges and insurance cover. The leaseholder may also ask to see invoices for any services charges like building maintenance.

The freeholder should always consult with the leaseholder first before carrying out any major building works when the proposed work is going to cost the leaseholder more than £250. The freeholder must also consult the leaseholder regarding any service agreements that are longer than 12 months and the cost for the service is over £100 per year. Leaseholders have the right to challenge their freeholder at a tribunal over service or administration charges.

Unless the landlord is a housing association or a local authority, the leaseholder(s) can apply to the tribunal to appoint a manager if the freeholder’s management isn’t effective. Additionally, a group of leaseholders, for example a block of flats, have the right to change the management of their property unless the landlord is a local authority. This is referred to as the right to manage and is where the leaseholders decide the management arrangements for the property as a group.

Other rights include:
  • the right to extending the lease by 90 years after owning the lease for 2 years
  • the right of first refusal, which is when the freeholder decides to sell the property but has to offer it to the leaseholder(s) first
  • the right to buy the freehold if certain conditions are met

At Rollingsons, our experienced leasehold enfranchisement team can assist you within this specialist topic. The team offers a complete service from the drafting of notices through to representation at the First Tier Tribunal. For more information or to arrange an initial consultation, please contact us on 0207 7611 4848.

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