10 Essential Leaseholder Rights You Might Not Know

When you decide to become a leasholder and purchase a leasehold property, it’s crucial to understand the terms of your lease and the obligations it imposes on you. These often include contributing to a service charge fund and maintaining and repairing your flat.

While each lease is unique to its property and building, there are several legal leaseholder rights that leaseholders are entitled to. Here are 10 essential leaseholder rights you might not be aware of:

1. The Right to Information About Your Landlord

Your landlord or managing agent is required to provide certain information under Section 1 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. This includes a formal address in England or Wales for sending notices, as well as the landlord’s actual name and address on any payment demands. If these details are missing, the demands are void until corrected.

2. The Right to Form and Recognize a Tenants’ Association

Leaseholders have the right to organise a tenants’ association, which can provide access to information that an individual leaseholder might not obtain. Your landlord must recognise your association if it’s properly set up. If not, you can seek recognition through a tribunal under Section 29 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

3. The Right for a Leaseholder to Challenge Service Charges

Under Section 19 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, leaseholders can challenge the reasonableness of service charges. You can make a claim to the First Tier Tribunal, which will require the landlord or managing agent to justify the amounts charged.

4. The Right for a Leasholder to Challenge Unnecessary Building Works

Section 27a of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 allows leaseholders to challenge works carried out by the landlord or managing agent. You can request a judgment from the First Tier Tribunal on whether the works were necessary and if you should contribute to them.

5. The Right to Be Consulted on Major Works and Long-Term Agreements

If major works costing any one leaseholder over £250 (inclusive of VAT) are planned, your landlord must complete a full consultation process under Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

6. The Right to Information About Insurances

Leaseholders typically contribute to building insurance and possibly other insurances like mechanical insurance for lifts and boilers. Under Section 30a and the Schedule of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, you are entitled to request a written summary of the insurance, including costs, risks, and named parties.

7. The Right as a Leaseholder to a Management Audit

With the agreement of two-thirds of the building’s leaseholders, you can request a management audit under Section 78 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993. This audit is for informational purposes and must be paid for by the leaseholders.

8. The Right to Take Over Building Management

Leaseholders can start the process of managing their building via a specifically set up company, as outlined in the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002. This doesn’t imply fault with the landlord but reflects a collective desire to manage the building.

9. The Right to Request a New Manager

Leaseholders can ask the First Tier Tribunal to appoint a new manager under Section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 if they are dissatisfied with current management. Proof of fault on the landlord or managing agent’s part is required, and there may be cost implications.

10. The Right to Inspect Receipts and Invoices

After receiving the annual service charge summary, leaseholders or the secretary of a recognised tenants’ association can formally request to inspect all related receipts and invoices. This right is granted under Section 22 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, though there may be charges for making copies.

Leaseholders have numerous rights to protect their interests. For more detailed information on these rights and their procedures, consult a legal expert. Additionally, explore our other blog posts for more insights and guides on the leasehold sector.

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