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What is a lease?

A lease is a contract between you, as the leaseholder, and High Peak Borough Council, as the landlord, giving conditional ownership for a fixed period of time. It is an important document and you should ensure that you have a copy and that you understand it. If you do not have a copy of your lease you may be able to obtain one from the Land Registry, or the solicitor who acted for you when you purchased the flat. High Peak Borough Council can also usually provide you with a copy but there will be an administration fee chargeable for doing so.

The wording of leases is usually in legal language and can vary from property to property but is usually the same for all flats in a block. Leaseholders who find it difficult to understand their lease should get advice from a solicitor or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

The lease sets out the contractual obligations of the two parties:

  • what you, as the leaseholder, have contracted to do; and
  • what High Peak Borough Council as the landlord is contracted to do

 

In relation to leases granted by High Peak Borough Council the leaseholder's service charge obligations include:

  • payment of the ground rent (£10 per year)
  • payment towards the costs of maintaining, repairing and improving your block
  • payment towards the costs of maintaining the external areas and grounds
  • payment towards communal utilities such as gas, electricity and water where there are internal communal areas
  • payment towards the block buildings insurance
  • payment of administration, management, legal and professional fees
  • payment towards general management the building

These costs are usually split between the total number of flats in the block and not just the leasehold owned flats.

High Peak Borough Council's obligations under the lease are to:

  • manage and maintain the structure
  • manage and maintain the exterior and common areas of the block
  • insure the building and collect a proportion of that insurance from the leaseholders
  • collect service charges
  • collect ground rent
  • collect a management fee
  • collect any administration, legal and professional fees
  • collect money into a sinking or reserve fund to pay for future major works where such sinking or reserve fund has been set up (currently High Peak Borough Council do not collect into a reserve or sinking fund and only collect money for major works when the works have been done)

The lease also places certain conditions on the use and occupation of the flat. Leaseholders are not entirely free to do whatever they want in or with the flat - the lease comes with conditions, to protect the rights of everyone with an interest in the building.