Changes needing permission

When you buy a flat or maisonette from us through the Right to Buy scheme you become a leaseholder. This means you own the lease to the property for a fixed number of years. After this time, the ownership transfers back to the council as the freeholder.

It is very important that you understand the terms of your lease, including your rights and responsibilities.

You should get independent legal advice if you are unsure about anything to do with being a leaseholder.

Leaseholder handbook

Our leaseholder handbook provides you with most of the information you need in relation to owning your own flat or maisonette and understanding your responsibilities as a leaseholder and ours as your landlord.

You should also refer to your lease which contains your legally binding responsibilities and ours.

Read the leaseholder handbook [pdf]

Changes that need permission

As your landlord, there are some things that you need to get our permission to do with your leasehold property. 

Alterations and improvements

You do not need permission to do minor work such as decorating but you must request written permission before making some alterations and improvements to your property.

Request permission for alterations that may affect the: 

  • structure
  • walls
  • windows
  • floors
  • ceilings
  • doors and frames
  • plumbing
  • electrical services

You should also request permission for:

  • outside aerials
  • satellite dishes
  • cable TV
  • outside decoration
  • replacement windows and exterior doors

It is not possible to list all of the types of alteration for which you would require permission. Full details of your responsibilities for maintaining and improving your home can be found in your lease.

You can contact our leaseholder team with any questions. Email leasehold@arun.gov.uk

Subletting your property

If you are considering subletting your home, you'll need to get our permission first and that of your mortgage lender. You should also seek independent legal advice.

Please email leasehold@arun.gov.uk

If you are permitted to sublet, you are legally responsible for the actions of your tenants. If your tenants breach any conditions of the lease we will take action against you as the leaseholder.

You must ensure that the conditions of any tenancy agreement make clear provision for these matters.

You must tell us the name of your tenant and your contact details.

Health and safety hazards

When you sublet you are legally required to make sure that:

  • your home has at least 1 smoke alarm on every floor which must be tested on the first day of the tenancy
  • you obtain safety certificates so you can see when gas and electrical supplies were last checked
  • your gas appliances are check by a Gas Safe registered gas fitter every year
  • any furnishings included with the property are fire resistant and meet safety regulations
  • there is a carbon monoxide alarm in all rooms with a solid fuel burning appliance, for example an open fire

You must ensure at the beginning of each new tenancy that the alarms are in working order.

Selling (assigning) your lease

If you bought your flat from us within the last 5 years under the Right to Buy scheme, some of the discount you received on the purchase price will have to be repaid. View the section Selling your ex-council property for further details.

If you are thinking about selling your property on the open market please let us know when you have instructed estate agents or solicitors. We will need time to prepare detailed and comprehensive information for the prospective purchaser.

Leasehold Property Enquiries form (LPE1)

The form provides details relating to the management of the property, compliance documents and service charges for the prospective purchaser.

If we are not informed of the potential sale this could cause delays which could prevent the exchange of contracts taking place. We will notify the solicitor of any arrears of ground rent, buildings insurance or service charges which must be paid before we agree to the sale taking place.

Fees

There are fees that need to be paid for registering remortgages, notices of charge, notices of transfer and providing the information required for the assignment of a lease. These fees are reviewed in April each year, please check with us for the latest fees.

Please email leasehold@arun.gov.uk

Extending your lease

The length of the lease for properties purchased under the Right to Buy scheme is usually 125 years. This starts from the date the first property within a block was sold, meaning that anyone buying a flat at a later date will have a shorter period on their lease.

Leaseholders who have owned their flat for over 2 years may be entitled to purchase a statutory extension to their lease. You are responsible for all costs, including any professional advice you may need to make your application and our costs in dealing with your request.

To start the application process, you will have to serve a formal notice to us. We recommend you use a solicitor to prepare your application and notice, and a surveyor to estimate the price you will pay for the extension.

You can find more information about this process from The Leasehold Advisory Service.

Once your notice is prepared, you can email it to us at leasehold@arun.gov.uk

Tell us about a change in your details

You need to let us know about any changes in your details. This includes things like a change of name, telephone numbers or similar.

You can report these to us online.

Report a change in details

Or email leasehold@arun.gov.uk