Who owns what
When you buy a property in a block owned by the council, you buy a leasehold interest in the property. The council keeps the freehold interest.
Your lease is a legal agreement between you and the council. At the end of the lease period, the rights over the land and building return to the council.
Attached to your lease will be the lease plan, showing the areas that you own, and an estate plan.
What leaseholders own
As a leaseholder you own:
- the walls, ceilings and floors inside your home
- cisterns, tanks, drains, pipes, wires and ducts serving your home only
- glass in the windows
- the internal surfaces of the doors and door frames inside your home
- the surfaces of walls that are inside your home
- gardens and pathways which lead to your home only and are inside the legal boundaries of your home.
What Barnet Council owns
As the freeholder, Barnet Council owns:
- the main structural parts of the building, for example, the walls and the roof
- joints and beams
- the front door, door frame and window frames (unless you have a Deed of Variation)
- pipes running through your home if they serve more than one home
- drains, gutters, pipes, cables, sewers and wires which serve more than one home
- shared hallways, corridors, stairways and doors
- recreation areas outside your home, communal gardens and parking areas
- shared TV aerials.
Your lease will set out your responsibilities as a leaseholder, including those set out below.
Please ensure that you meet all of these responsibilities. Otherwise you could risk losing your home.
- pay all charges that are due for services, repairs, major works, insurance and ground rent.
- keep your home in good repair, including the decoration. You may be charged for any necessary repairs. Find out how to report a repair
- allow Barnet Homes staff or our contractors to enter your home at reasonable times to inspect your home or carry out work. We will give 48 hours’ notice, unless in an emergency.
- ensure that other members of your household (including children) or visitors do not cause a nuisance, harass or disturb other residents. You must pay for any damage they cause to council property.
- pay other charges relating to your property, such as contents insurance, gas, water and electricity charges, council tax, parking charges and rent for a garage of parking space
- get rid of rubbish correctly and keep landings, staircases, balconies, lifts and corridors clean, tidy and safe.
- receive permission before putting up a radio or TV aerial or satellite dish on the outside of your home. We may remove any aerials or dishes put up without permission. If your block has an integrated reception system installed you may not be given permission to install your own aerial or satellite dish.
Barnet Homes’ responsibilities
- We will insure the structure and shared areas of the building
- We will repair and maintain the structure of your home, any shared areas and amenities
- We will redecorate and renew the structure of your home and the shared areas of your block or estate as and when it is deemed to be necessary.
You must receive written permission from Barnet Council before making any structural alterations, changes or additions to your home. You will need to:
- contact Building Control
- contact Planning Services
- download an Alterations Information Sheet
- complete an application form for consent for alterations
- complete an application form for installation of a gas boiler (if applicable)
- complete a method statement and risk assessment form
Please find below some useful information about the lease extension process.
Your request to extend the lease will be dealt with by Harrow and Barnet Legal Services. They will deal with this matter direct with you or through your solicitor according to your preference.
You or your solicitor will be required to serve a ‘Tenant’s Notice’ (Leasehold Reform Urban Housing Development Act 1993) on the London Borough of Barnet, care of the address shown below. A tenant’s notice template has been attached here for your reference.
You may like to visit the following websites which contain valuable information for leaseholders including lease extension guidelines:
- LEASE website at www.lease-advice.org which includes a calculator that will give you an idea of the likely premium for your property
Notices should be served by sending them to:
Barnet Homes Leaseholder Services
2 Bristol Avenue
Please note that charges will be incurred when a valuation is carried out by the Council for which you will be liable; this will be agreed beforehand. In addition, legal fees will be payable by you to the Council’s Legal Section on receipt of the notices from you / your solicitor. Where possible you will be notified of the costs prior to your request being processed. These will include the following:
Valuation Fee – minimum fee £350
Cost of extending or renewing your lease – Dependent on the market value
Legal Fees – Dependent on the level of work involved*.
*For reference purposes only indicative costs are estimated to be between £1,000 and £1,500 depending on the level of complexity.
A deposit being whichever is the greatest of either:
10% of the tenant’s proposed figure for the total amount payable under the initial notice, (including the “other amounts” payable under Schedule 13 to the LRHUDA 1993 (the amounts due to the other landlords;
Please make cheques payable to London Borough of Harrow
You should note that we are unable to give you any exact indications of the cost of extending or renewing the lease until the relevant notices (Leasehold Reform Housing Urban Development Act 1993) have been correctly served and your property has been valued.
For more information on the process, how and where to serve a Section 42 Notice under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993, please seek independent legal advice or visit the following website: www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-leasehold-reform-legislation/practice-guide-27-the-leasehold-reform-legislation.
Deed of Variation
If you wish, you can apply for a Deed of Variation to change some of the terms of your lease.
The most popular request is to apply to take over responsibility for doors and windows, so that you can paint or replace outside doors and windows yourself. Once a Deed of Variation is in place you will no longer receive service charges for works to other individual windows and doors in the block.
If your property is on the second floor of a block or above Deed of Variation approval will not be granted for health and safety reasons.
There is a cost for Deed of Variation, and it must be agreed by Barnet Homes and approved by the county court.
Please complete this form if you would like to apply for a Deed of Variation.
You can download the Deed of Variation guidance notes here.
Extending your lease
You may also be able to extend your existing lease for a further 90 years. Please contact us for more information.
Buying the freehold
You cannot buy the freehold of your own individual home. However, you may be able to join with other leaseholders to buy the freehold of the block in which your flat is situated.
Contact us for more information.