Leaseholder Forum

Welcome to Leaseholder Service Page. The Leaseholder Forum meets twice a year to discuss issues that matter to Leaseholders. Download the latest meeting documents below.

Leaseholder Forum Agenda 22 November 2016

Leaseholder Action Monitor 22 November 2016

Leaseholder Forum 26 April 2016 - Agenda, Presentation and Actions


Buying, selling or renting your home

You do not need permission from us to sell your home.

When you sell the lease, you transfer the conditions contained in it (for the period that is left on the lease) to the new owner. This includes any outstanding charges that relate to the property. Your solicitor must register the change of ownership of the lease to Bury Council within 21 days of the transfer.

If you bought your property under the Right to Buy (RTB) scheme and sell it within 5 years, you may have to repay all or a proportion of any discount you received on the sale price. Prior to any disposal of the property - other than an exempt disposal within a period of 10 years from the date of purchase of the property from the council - you must first offer the same for sale (in writing) to the council. This is known as the right of first refusal.

You should advise us when you sell your property. We will then update our records and issue further invoices and any other relevant information to the new leaseholder.

You have the right to rent your home to someone else subject to certain restrictions within your lease. As the leaseholder you will remain responsible for paying the service charges on the property unless you legally transfer the lease to your tenant. We would therefore remind you to do the following:

• Ensure the tenancy agreement you use includes the same rules and regulations that apply to you;

• Contact your mortgage provider before you sublet;

• Tell us that you are subletting to make sure that you are covered for any insurance claims you may have;

• Let us have your correspondence address so that we can send you your invoices and any other information;

• Give us the name and contact details of your tenant in case we need to gain access to the property in an emergency; and

• Arrange for any gas appliances in the property to be serviced annually. This must be carried out by a CORGI registered gas engineer. You should give a copy of the safety check record (CP12) to your tenant.


Major Works

We must consult you before we start any major work, maintenance or improvements to your flat or block.

This is defined as work costing more than £250 and includes such things as: 

• Replacing windows

• Re-roofing

• Re-cladding and pointing

• Painting to external blocks and internal communal areas

If your block is included in our improvement plans, we will send you written notice, detailing the work that will be carried out and the estimated costs. This letter is called a ‘Section 20 Notice’. You will be given 1 month to give us your written comments on our plans.

We do not have to consult you if we need to do emergency or urgent work to your flat or the block. You will however be charged for any work we have to carry out.

We will give you a 28 day introductory letter and 14 days notice of the estimated start date of our plans to start work. The exact date will be confirmed in writing 7 days before the work starts.

Download more information on Section 20 Notices here.

Download samples of Section 20 leasehold process letters; Notice of Intention, Notice of Landlords Estimates, Notice of Reasons.

Find out more about ongoing major improvement works here.


Service Charges

As a leaseholder, you will have to pay annual charges to cover the upkeep of the structure and communal areas of the building you live in. These charges are known as ‘service charges’ and can covers some or all of following services:

Ground rent

Because leasehold is a tenancy, it is subject to the payment of ground rent (£10) to the landlord. Ground rent is a specific requirement of the lease and must be paid on the due date.

By law, we must send you a written demand no less than 30 days before and no more than 60 days after the day your ground rent is due to be paid. You will receive this notice by March each year but we do not ask you to pay your ground rent until we issue your service charge invoice.


Buildings insurance

Bury Council insures the building where you live. This is because it is still responsible for the upkeep, repair and maintenance of the structure and shared areas of the block. You are responsible for getting your own household contents insurance.

Block repairs and maintenance

This is the cost of providing day to day communal repairs to the structure of the building, communal areas and any outdoor areas within the boundary shown on your original terms of sale. This can include:

• Door-entry systems;

• Communal lighting replacement / repair / re-setting;

• Repair to internal communal areas including stairways;

• Guttering repair / blocked drains;

• Repair / replacing paving & fencing; and

• Communal aerial maintenance.

The cost of this is shared between the number of properties in the block or area, even if you do not report the repair.

We will send you a list of repairs done to your block with your statement, if you disagree with any of these you can appeal in writing to us. Our address is included on our contact page. Whilst this is being investigated you should still pay or make arrangements to pay your invoice. 

Grounds maintenance

This is the cost of providing annual grass cutting (clearing up grass is not included in the charge), pruning of shrubs and trees to the area in which your block is included.

Communal lighting

This is a proportionate charge for electricity used and general maintenance of the communal lighting system in your block. 

Management fee

This covers the costs of the Leasehold Service which is provided to our leaseholders.

Major works

These charges are not included in the service charges, but are invoiced separately if we do any major works to the building in which you live. Major work can include some of the following types of improvements:

• Replacing windows;

• Re-roofing;

• Re-cladding and pointing; and

• Painting to external blocks and internal communal areas.

We may not invoice you for this type of work until all of the work is done. This can be up to 18 months later because we are unable to calculate the final costs until the scheme is complete.

There are a range of payment methods available for this type of work, including the option to pay in instalments. Pease contact us if you would like more information.

Service charge invoices are issued annually in April and payable in advance. The charges cover the period from April of the current year to March the following year. As you need to pay your service charges in advance, the figures included in the invoice are estimated based on what we think the charges will be. You will be issued with a full statement in September each year showing the actual amounts of the invoice for the previous year.

A summary of the key dates is given in the table below:

April We will send you an estimated invoice for the current financial year (April to March).

You will need to pay or make arrangements to pay this invoice within 21 days of issue.
 
September A statement will be sent to you showing actual charges for the previous financial year.

You do not need to do anything with this unless you have a query. A credit note (if we owe you money) or invoice (if you owe us money) will be sent to you a few weeks later.
 
October/November An invoice or credit note will be sent to you adjusting the estimated charges for the previous financial year to actual charges (April to March).

If you receive an invoice, you will need to pay this or make arrangements to pay it within 21 days.

If you are sent a credit note, you will either receive a cheque or an adjustment will be made to your account.

Due to the cost involved, adjustments of less than £25 up or down will not be made.
 

The leaseholder at the time of issue of an invoice or statement is the person responsible for the charge or, who will receive the credit note.

Click here for details on the ways you can pay your service charges.

If you do not pay your service charges you will be breaking your lease agreement. We will take action against you to recover the monies owed, this could result in a charge being put against your property and in some circumstances you could lose your home.

You may be entitled to help with some of these costs, depending on your personal circumstances. Please contact us or your local Citizens Advice Bureau for more information.


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