Information for leaseholders

If you buy a property from Tamworth Borough Council on a leasehold basis, we share the responsibilities for repairs, maintenance and ongoing improvements.

Before you buy

It is important you fully understand your obligations as a leaseholder, and our responsibilities as the owner of the freehold, before committing to buying a lease. We’d advise you to do the following to help inform your decision:

  • Ask your solicitor or conveyancer to undertake a full leasehold enquiry. There may be an additional fee for this, but it should help you understand potential future costs involved.
  • Ask your solicitor or conveyancer to fully explain the implications and responsibilities of owning a leasehold property
  • Look at the Leasehold Advisory Service website, this is a government-funded independent service with useful resources for leaseholders.

Leaseholder and landlord obligations

Leases may vary so please check and understand the terms of the lease that relates specifically to the property you are buying, but typically:

  • The leaseholder will be responsible for all repairs inside their flat or property, including all external doors and windows in many cases
  • The council will be responsible for repairs to the external parts of the building and main structure, apart from external doors and windows in most cases
  • The council will be responsible for repairs to any communal parts of the building, inside and out, such as communal heating and lighting, decoration, door entry systems, fire safety systems and cleaning.

Service charges

Leaseholders are responsible for arranging and paying for any work in their own home. As a leaseholder, you’ll also be required to contribute towards the cost of repair and maintenance work needed outside individual flats – such as to the main building or communal areas.

This is known as a service charge and could include annual charges for routine maintenance, as well as bigger costs for major capital works.

The total cost of work is divided equally between all flats. The council will pay the proportionate share of the costs for any properties rented by council tenants.

General routine service charges, such as for cleaning, utilities and minor repairs, are usually charged annually. For larger, more expensive projects, invoices will be sent out on completion of the work. You will only be charged for the actual cost of the work or service, there are no general management fees or charges paid to the council.

Full payment terms will be set out in your lease, but payment is typically required within 28 days of the invoice date. However, alternative arrangements can be discussed for anyone who is struggling to pay.

Service charges can vary considerably depending on the type and age of the building. Your solicitor can request a leaseholder pack which will provide a service charge history and an estimate of costs. You might want to put money aside each month to cover these costs and factor this in when working out if you can afford to buy your council home.

You can read more about service charges on pages 20 and 40 of the Right to Buy guide.

Enquiries regarding invoices should be directed to sundry-income@tamworth.gov.uk

Consulting on works

We may be required to formally consult with leaseholders before carrying out major works, depending on the type and value of the work needed.

As part of the consultation, we’ll let you know what is proposed, why it’s needed and how much we expect the cost to be for individual leaseholders. If you don’t believe the work is needed for any reason, you’ll have 30 days from receiving the consultation letter to let us know.

If you feel we have failed in our obligations to consult on work, to fully assess the need for any work or to properly procure the work, you have the right of appeal.

You can contact the First Tier Tribunal, which will assess your complaint. This is a legal process and any decision they make is binding on all parties.

Leaseholders can also use our own comments-compliments-complaints process.

Other leaseholder charges

Buildings insurance: In addition to sourcing your own contents insurance, leaseholders must also contribute a yearly amount towards the building insurance. This does not cover work that would come under service charges. Building insurance is for catastrophic events such as fire, storms and floods.

Ground rent: Leaseholders have to pay an annual fee of £10.00.

More information about Right to Buy in general, including how to apply, can be found on our dedicated Right to Buy webpage.