As a homeowner, you don't own the building in which your flat is located. This is owned by the landlord, or freeholder, and leased to you. There are certain rights and responsibilities set out in your lease.
What is leasehold?
'Leasehold' refers to any property where a lease has been issued by the owner of the land (the freeholder) that allows another party (you, the homeowner) to occupy part of a property, such as a flat.
What is a lease?
When you bought an MKC leasehold or shared ownership property, you purchased a (residential) lease. A lease is a tenancy agreement for a term of 21 years or more. It grants you, the leaseholder, the exclusive right to occupy your home for a set term (usually 99 or 125 years), provided you comply with the conditions, known as 'covenants', it contains. It also sets out the freeholder’s and your obligations to one another. For example, it includes the terms of payment of your service charge and the freeholder's repair responsibilities. A lease gives you more security of tenure than renting privately on a standard tenancy.
You should read your lease carefully so you understand what you have agreed to. Under most leases the leaseholder must:
- Keep the flat in a good state of repair.
- Take out their own contents insurance.
- Pay the service charge and rent (where applicable) on time.
- Give contractors access to carry out works to the shared parts or a neighbouring flat.
- Get the landlord’s permission before carrying out home improvements and alterations.
Under most leases the leaseholder must not:
- Damage, or make alterations to, the building’s shared parts.
- Do anything that may affect the buildings insurance.
- Disturb or cause a nuisance to others.
- Carry out any structural alterations.