Your Lease Explained
Your solicitors will have given you a copy of your lease to review and keep when you purchased your new home.
Your lease is an important legal document and you should keep it in a safe place.
A lease is an agreement where a landlord (or lessor) allows a tenant (or lessee) to have exclusive use of premises (for example a flat or maisonette) for a defined length of time in return for rent.
Each lease is bespoke to a specific property. In the lease that applies to your home, you are the ‘lessee’ and we (Aster Group) are the lessor.
Your lease sets out what your rights and responsibilities are as well as explaining what responsibilities we must adhere to as your landlord.
YOUR LEASE WILL ALSO INCLUDE:
- Your rights over other parts of the building and communal areas. These may include rights of access over common parts, rights to use services which pass through the rest of the building and the rights of entry to other parts of the building.
- Your obligations to us and other tenants. These obligations or ‘covenants’ can vary in number from just a few to more than 30.
- Our obligations to you. Depending on the principles on which the lease is based, this may include a responsibility to repair the main structure of the building and to insure the building.
- Specific arrangements with regard to service charge such as when this should be paid and the kind of things it can include.
- A series of general declarations and agreements. The structure and general layout of leases can vary considerably but they should all deal with the matters referred to above. If you do not have your lease a copy can be provided but there is a charge for this.
Frequently asked questions about your lease
- CAN I KEEP A PET?
Not all leases allow for pets. If you want to have a pet you must contact us first to request permission. We will check the terms of your lease and if permission is granted you will be responsible for your pet and for making sure it does not cause a nuisance. Permission can be withdrawn which could mean you have to rehome your pet.
- DO I HAVE RESERVED PARKING?
Your lease will detail any parking space that is part of your property or a space that you have the right to use. Many leases do not allow for the parking of commercial vehicles or caravans.
- CAN I SUBLET?
This will depend on what it says in your lease. Shared ownership leases do
not allow subletting. Please see SELLING OR SUBLETTING YOUR HOME
- WHAT IF MY CIRCUMSTANCES CHANGE?
Your lease is a legal document. Sometimes your circumstances may change and you will need to notify us of these changes. There can be a difference in legal requirements between those of a shared owner and a leaseholder. Your homeownership officer will be happy to discuss these with you.
MARRIAGE: We will need to see a copy of the marriage certificate to update your name. If you wish your partner to have responsibility for the lease and mortgage you will need to consult a solicitor. If you would like your partner to be able to deal with your account or repairs in your absence you can request a data sharing permissions form from us.
SEPARATION: We can log this information for you. You will need a correspondence address and contact information for the partner who has left. Until their name is legally removed from the lease they will continue to be responsible for any financial liabilities and anti-social behaviour issues at the property.
A Notice of a Change of Title to add or remove a person will need to be completed via your solicitor.
NAME CHANGE: You will need to supply a copy of the deed poll.
DEATH: We will need a copy of the death certificate. We need to establish the type of lease held (sole, joint, tenants in common) and therefore may need to ask questions. We understand this is a very difficult time but to make sure we meet the legal requirements we do have to be sure we have the right information from you.
REMORTGAGE: If the remortgage relates to a leasehold property we need a Notice of Mortgage prepared by your solicitor.
These are just some of the changes you will need to tell us about. If in doubt please contact your homeownership officer who will be able to advise you.
- CAN I EXTEND MY LEASE?
You may have the right to extend your lease. This means that you can pay to increase the length of term your lease runs for. For example if you have 70 years remaining on your lease you may want to increase it. Typically the longer the term of the lease, the higher the value of your home. There is a legal process you must follow and there will be a charge for extending your lease, you will also need to get advice from a solicitor.
For more details on the process please contact your home ownership officer.
- CAN I BUY THE FREEHOLD OF THE BLOCK?
If you live in a flat you and the other leaseholders in your block may have the right to buy the freehold (the actual building) of the block as a group. This is known as collective enfranchisement.
To qualify you, and the building your flat is in must meet all of the following conditions:
• The block must have two or more flats in it
• No more than 25% of the floor area inside the building must be used for non-residential purposes e.g. as a shop or office
• At least two thirds of the flats in the block must be owned by leaseholders
• At least half of the leaseholders must want to buy the freehold.
These details are a rough guide only. Please take legal advice if you and the other leaseholders in your block are interested in purchasing the freehold.
- CAN THE LEASE BE CHANGED?
It is possible for some conditions of the lease to be changed. This is called varying the lease. One reason for doing this would be to bring different leases for properties in the same building into line. You will need to pay legal and administrative fees to get this done.
For more details on the process please contact your home ownership officer. If you decide to go ahead you will need to get advice from a solicitor.
- WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU BREAK A CONDITION OF YOUR LEASE?
If you break a condition of your lease we can take action against you. This can include action through the courts. In some situations we can ask the courts to make an order for forfeiture which means your lease could be terminated and you would lose your home.