Rights and responsibilities

Alterations

You cannot make any alterations or additions to the structure or appearance of the flat or building (either internally or externally) without our written consent. This includes removing internal walls and satellite dishes.

Antisocial behaviour

Clauses in the lease include:

  • not to annoy, be a nuisance to or cause damage to us or other residents 
  • to keep pets under proper control 
  • not to use the premises for any illegal or immoral purposes 
  • to keep the floors of the flat covered with suitable material (for example, carpets, underlay) to reduce noise 
  • not to obstruct or leave any rubbish in any communal areas, apart from in the bins.

Inflammable materials

You must not store materials that can catch fire easily, other than what you reasonably need for domestic use. No inflammable materials, including gas bottles may be kept in buildings with two or more floors.

Insurance

We must arrange insurance cover for the building. This covers the structure and communal areas against any accidental damage such as fire, storm damage, vandalism, flooding (including burst pipes and roof leaks) and subsidence. You should arrange your own contents insurance.

Parking

You must not park any motor vehicle or caravan in any garden, forecourt, roadway or pathway next to or near the building, without our written permission.

Payment of service charges, ground rent and other rates and charges

You must pay:

  • ground rent
  • service charges 
  • our costs and charges in dealing with any nuisance in the flat, or breaches of the lease or in dealing with applications for granting consents (e.g. for alterations to the property).

If you fail to pay your service charges, you will be breaking the terms of your lease agreement. This could result in us taking legal action against you.

Purchasing the freehold

The right to purchase the freehold of the building is a right which is given in addition to those in the lease. Groups of leaseholders who satisfy certain conditions can get together and purchase the freehold. This is also known as ‘collective’ or ‘leasehold’ enfranchisement. This is more common with converted houses than blocks of flats. The right is available if:

  • there are two or more flats in the block 
  • qualifying leaseholders live in at least two-thirds of the flats in the block 
  • the qualifying leaseholders use the right between them to hold the leases of at least half the flat in the block.

We recommend you get independent legal advice beforehand.

Repairs and maintenance

We are responsible for maintaining the outside of the block, the structure and the communal areas. Below are some of the things that we will maintain and repair in your building:

  • the structure of the building, including roofs, foundations, walls, joists, doors, window frames and guttering 
  • boundary walls and fences
  • plumbing and drainage outside your flat, including main sewers and common drains 
  • controlled entry systems, communal TV aerials, lifts and lighting in communal areas 
  • the communal areas of the building that all residents have access to (for example, an entrance hallway).

Below are some of our most important responsibilities, when managing your property:

  • if we provide a caretaking and cleaning service, we must do it properly and on a regular basis 
  • we must maintain any communal gardens, forecourts and pathways 
  • if your property is on a communal heating system then we must maintain the heating system
  • we must arrange to remove vermin, such as rats, cockroaches or mice from communal areas. However, unless it is clear the source of the problem is in a communal area, you must pay the cost of any work carried out inside your property.

You are responsible for maintaining the inside of your home. This means that you have to:

  • regularly redecorate 
  • carry out repairs to the internal plumbing, gas pipes and electrical wiring, and maintain your gas boiler and central heating. If your property is part of a communal heating system it is for us to maintain. You are advised to have a gas safety check every year and provide us with a copy of this.

You are also responsible for cleaning the area outside your front door and if a garden is included with the property, you must keep it in good order and condition.

Selling

You can sell your flat whenever you wish, but if you bought your flat under the Right to Buy and then sell it within the discount repayment period (either three or five years), you must repay some or the entire discount.

You must also give notice of any sale or (re-)mortgage within one month. The new leaseholder must also enter into a Deed of Covenant with the Council to agree to follow the conditions of the lease.

Short-term letting

This relates to properties rented on a short-term basis, through platforms such as (but not limited to) Airbnb, Housetrip, Gumtree and Booking.com. 

The Council does not give approval for short-term let arrangements, and may take legal action against leaseholders who may rent their properties on a short-term basis. If you are in doubt about your responsibilities, you should seek independent legal advice. 

Sub-letting

You can sub-let your property, but you will have to inform us and let us know your new correspondence address.

  • You will probably have to get permission from your mortgage lender. 
  • You will still be responsible for paying the service charges and you will still be responsible for both the property and the way that your tenant(s) and their family and visitors behave. 
  • You will be responsible for landlord’s duties under the gas safety regulations.

Statutory rights

You have other rights in addition to those set out in the lease:

  • along with tenants, you have the right to manage your estate or area through a tenant management organisation under the Right to Manage(1994) legislation 
  • you can extend the term of your lease 
  • groups of leaseholders who satisfy certain conditions can get together and purchase of the freehold. This is also known as ‘collective’ or ‘leasehold’ enfranchisement 
  • the right to seek recognition for a tenants' association (RTA).

You also have various legal rights in relation to service charges:

  • they must be fair and reasonable, and you have the right to challenge their reasonableness and the standard of works or services at the First-tier Tribunal (FTT)
  • we must consult you before carrying out major works to your block/estate 
  • we must consult you before entering into certain long-term agreements for works/supplies/services with outside contractors 
  • demands for payment must be within time limits 
  • you are entitled to obtain a summary of the costs on which your service charge is calculated, and to view the accounts, invoices and other documents on which the summary is based 
  • you also have the right to appoint a qualified auditor to undertake a management audit.

Use of premises

The property can only be used for residential purposes. You cannot:

  • use it for any illegal or immoral purpose 
  • hold any sale by auction in the property 
  • run a business from the property; nor 
  • display outside or in the windows of the property any nameplate, notice, sign or announcement.