We are responsible for maintaining the outside of your building, the structure, all communal areas and any communal heating system.
You are responsible for maintaining the inside of your home. This means redecorating where necessary and carrying out any repairs to fixtures and fittings. You are also responsible for replacing anything such as kitchen units, boilers, bathroom fittings, plumbing and electrical wiring. We strongly advise you to have a gas safety check every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. 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.
You are responsible for maintaining and decorating the inside of your home, but not the structure.
We advise you not to carry out any work such as new windows. This is because under the conditions of your lease, you will still have to make a full contribution to the cost of all the work we do to the block.
When you purchased your lease or freehold, your lease agreement or transfer document described the premises you have responsibility for maintaining, as well as your rights and obligations, and those of the landlord.
Each lease agreement or transfer document will be specific to the individual property, but most will contain similar descriptions and general rules. You will usually have the responsibility of maintaining the inside areas of your property, including keeping it decorated to reasonable standards, but there will be some things you cannot do to the property, such as knocking down walls.
These restrictions usually, but not exclusively, relate to altering the structure of the property and adding or removing services or facilities.
The lease agreement or transfer document generally requires you to get permission from the landlord to carry out any works, such as renewing windows or removing internal walls.
However, planning permission may also be required for some works as a legal requirement, these are not the same thing: though the Council is your landlord and also runs the Planning Department that deals with planning regulations, gaining planning permission is not the same as gaining the landlord’s permission to carry out work.
- Communal repairs
Communal repairs are those repairs carried out to areas of your building or estate which you share access rights to with other residents.
Your lease or transfer document will show you which areas are communal for your property.
The plans generally show the boundary lines of your building and/or estate, and show some areas shaded, coloured or cross-hatched on the plans, with others showing no infill at all. As a general rule, the shaded, coloured or cross-hatched areas are the communal areas to which the different schedules of the lease agreement give you access.
Communal repairs can also be classified as those that we must carry out to the buildings and outside areas but not within individual flats. The lease agreement also allows you to be charged for a share of the costs of maintaining and managing these areas.
Communal repairs that may be carried out
- footpath or pavement repairs
- boundary fences and walls
- security or entrance gates
- hallways, landings, stairs
- general lighting (where it is provided) other than street lighting
- repairs to communal heating and hot water systems
- entry phones
- repairs to the outside structure of the building
- drainage systems, cabling and pipe works such as mains electricity or gas supply, as long as they serve more than just your property.
Repairs that are not classed as communal
As a leaseholder it is generally your responsibility to carry out repairs to the premises demised to you. Your lease plans will show you the extent of the demise of your property, which generally means the boundaries of the outside walls, floors and ceilings of your property.
Each flat has its separate demise. If the flat is sold, any works within those walls are considered the responsibility of the leaseholder or freeholder. If it is a tenanted property, they are the responsibility of the Council as the landlord. Any repairs carried out in these areas are not rechargeable to leaseholders.
For pipe works and systems, a general rule is that the point where each service separates towards your property alone marks the boundary between a communal system and one serving individual properties, and so communal repairs and those you must carry out yourself.
What happens if I carry out communal repairs myself?
You do have the responsibility of carrying out some repairs within your property. However, you must not carry out any communal repairs. If you do, you may invalidate any insurance cover to the building, and the work may have to be re-done by Council contractors. If this is the case, you may face paying the costs of that work yourself.
Carrying out communal work is a breach of the lease agreement, which could lead to further legal complications. If you are not sure about carrying out a repair, please contact us for advice.
- Day-to-day repairs
We are responsible for day to day repairs which include general repairs and maintenance to the structure, the outside and the communal areas of the building and your estate. Repairs which are classified as day-to-day repairs are those which will result in a cost of no more than £250 per home owner. We do not have to consult with you about these, but can carry them out and recharge you.
Every year we compile a list of the work that we have done to the building and the estate. We calculate your proportion of the total cost and include it in the actual charge which we send to you every September (this is different to the estimated charge for the following year, which we send you every March).
You can request a list of the day to day repairs that we have charged you for.
- Major works and improvements
Major works is a commonly used term which describes work carried out to buildings or estates where a share of costs could be recharged to leaseholders and where we have to issue formal consultation notices to you under s20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act.
It's a legal requirement to consult with leaseholders about any work which will cost you more than £250, and any contract that will last longer than a year and you may have to contribute more than £100 towards. This is covered by the Landlord and Tenant Act, 1985 and is also known as Section 20 or s20 consultation. The process usually has two stages and sometimes three.
We carry out regular maintenance to all our estates but every building requires major works during its life. There are three different categories of major works:
This work includes joinery repairs, repointing around windows, replacing stone sills and painting outside woodwork, metalwork and so on.
These are large, one-off jobs such as the repairing or replacing of:
- controlled entry systems
- heating systems
- estate roads and paths
- refuse bin areas
- rainwater gutters and pipes
The provision of an amenity and/or structure where nothing similar existed before. Examples of this include the installation of a completely new concierge system or the provision of a children’s play area.
The Council is committed to consulting with residents at all stages of a major works project and has a legal duty to issue consultation notices. Consultation will range from meetings on site, to meetings with contractors, to newsletters where work will cost more than £250 per household.
Paying for major works
Your lease sets out your responsibility to contribute towards the landlords’ costs of carrying out necessary repairs. We will provide you with an estimate in a notice before any work starts and also the formula we have used to calculate the costs. The way we work out the estimate in the notice and the bill for the work is the same way as we work out all service charges. We recently changed the way we bill, so you will now receive your bill after work has started on site. This is to give you more time to make arrangements to pay. We acknowledge that paying for major work can often be difficult.