Flats

Points to consider when buying a leasehold flat on the open market

NB This is not a legal document but is for general information only. You should always discuss the purchase in detail with your solicitor 

  • The lease is a contract between yourself and Southampton City Council (SCC) and gives you the right of possession of the flat for a set period of time. The length of the lease will depend on if the flat in the block has previously been sold. If this is the first sale of the flat, the lease will be for 125 years. If the flat has previously been purchased under right to buy or if other flats in the block have already been sold then your lease will end on the same date as the others meaning you will have the remainder of the term. Ask your solicitor to explain your obligations under the lease

  • Ensure you are aware of any major works projects either planned /currently being undertaken or recently completed. Speak to your solicitor to ensure you fully understand your liabilities once you purchase the lease

  • You should be aware that the leaseholder in residence is responsible for major works charges at the time of invoice, not when work is carried out

  • You have the right to be consulted about major repairs where the cost will be over £250 per property. Or before entering into a long term qualifying agreement under which the works or services will be carried out for a period of more than 12 months and the contribution per property will exceed £100 per annum. Leaseholders have to pay their fixed proportion of any repairs/charges/works to the block/communal areas. i.e. 1/14th of the total charge if there are 14 properties in a block

  • SCC have the right to make decisions about the management of the block, repairs and maintenance to the structure and shared areas of the block also in addition to improvements

  • You should ensure that you can afford to save monthly amounts to pay for major works invoices on top of your service charges and mortgage if applicable

  • Leaseholders are responsible for repairs within their own property

  • Leaseholders are charged on a monthly basis for service charges, repairs and ground rent

  • Estimated charges are produced in March to commence paying in April. Actual statements are produced in September which will correct any over or under charges on the previous year’s estimates. Therefore, if you become a leaseholder in September you will be responsible for this amendment to charges

  • Depending on how much time is left on the lease, you may need to consider costs for a lease extension depending on number of years left. To qualify to do this you should have lived in the property for at least 2 years. Once a lease reduces to 80 years or below, it will become difficult to obtain a mortgage against the property. The cost of a lease extension will also increase

  • As a property owner, you will be unable to receive housing benefit or UC housing element payment towards mortgage costs, as there is no rental liability

  • If the leaseholder is not living at the property, they must advise SCC of their up to date contact address and email/mobile number. There may be times when we need to gain access urgently and you will also need to receive statements/correspondence/invoices and consultation information

  • If you plan to let out the property, you have a responsibility to ensure that it is not over crowded and that your tenants are abiding by the terms of your lease. We also recommend that you advise your own contents insurer that the property is let


Can I make improvements to the flat?

If you are a leaseholder, you can make improvements to your home, but you will need our written agreement before you start. This is a condition of your lease.

Please note that you will have to pay for the improvements yourself and find quality tradespeople to carry out the work.

Remember that you must not commence work until you have received written permission from Southampton City Council.

For further information or to request permission using the online form please go to:

Request permission