If you live in an ex-Council flat or maisonette property you are a leaseholder of Sheffield City Council.
As a landlord, the Council are responsible for calculating and issuing bills to leaseholders. These may be for service charges and similar costs, as well as for major works.
We also look after:
- consultations on major works
- consultations on regular works like painting
- answering questions
- inspecting leasehold properties during work
About your lease
The lease is a legal contract, which sets out the terms and conditions of your agreement between you (the Leaseholder) and Sheffield City Council (the Lessor).
It is a complex legal document that sets out the obligations and rights of the leaseholder and the Council.
Your lease will have a plan attached showing your property and the building in which it is situated, together with any garden or outbuilding, which may be included in the sale. It will also identify any communal areas that you may be entitled to use within the estate.
The lease is an important legal document and should be kept in a safe place.
You have responsibilities and rights as a leaseholder, as do Sheffield City Council as your landlord. The lease sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties, which are summarised in this section of the Leaseholder Handbook. In addition, you have rights given to you by law – these are called Statutory Rights.
When you become a leaseholder you become a ‘shareholder’ in your block. This means you have a responsibility to pay your share of the costs of managing and maintaining it. Sheffield City Council, your landlord, has a legal duty to charge you for your share of the costs and you have a legal duty to pay them.
Leasehold ownership usually includes everything within the four walls of the flat, such as floorboards and plaster, but does not normally include external or structural walls or window frames, which are classed as part of the structure of the building. The building’s structure and the land it stands on belong to the landlord (the Council).
Under the terms of your lease you are required to have your part of the building covered by the Council’s insurers. This is in order to provide protection against storm damage, floods, lightning, earthquakes and malicious damage. It also covers certain fixtures and fittings within the dwelling.
Paying towards service charges
Service charges for leaseholders are paid annually and vary depending on the cost incurred to the block during the service charge year, which runs from 1 October to 30 September. You will pay your fair share of the costs calculated for your block.
For example; if there are 8 dwellings in your block, your service charges will amount to 1/8th of the total cost.
Service charges cover all works and services carried out to the structure of the block and communal areas, including cleaning of communal areas, lighting, lift maintenance and upkeep of gardens. It also covers day-to-day repairs, maintenance and improvement work.
Leaseholders can now pay in instalments, spreading the cost over 10 months.
For larger items of work commanding higher costs, leaseholders can ask their lender for a further advance or take out a bank or building society loan.
Anyone having difficulty paying their service charge should contact one of our Leasehold Officers on 0114 273 4468 for further advice.
Repairs within your own home
You are responsible for repairs within your own flat or home, and should make your own arrangements for these.
If you, or someone you have employed, are carrying out repairs inside your flat you must make sure that no damage is done to communal areas or to the structure of the building.
You are liable for any damage caused to the building as it is owned by Sheffield City Council and you will have to pay for any such damage. This includes any damage caused by visitors or other members of your household.
Repairs in shared or communal areas
You do not have the authority to carry out repairs in shared areas, such as landings, hallways or stairways. You would not be covered by our insurance if you had an accident or caused any damage. Only Sheffield City Council or Sheffield Council may carry out this type of work.
Please report any communal repairs to the Council Housing Repairs service centre using our repairs hotline 0114 273 5555. You can find more information about doing this in the Order a repair section of our website. The same phone number 0114 273 5555 can be used for emergency repairs, on evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays.
When reporting repairs to the service centre it is important to let them know any additional information about the reason for the repair. If you feel that the repair is needed due to vandalism or neighbour nuisance then please tell them when you are reporting the repair and the call centre can record it as such.
Selling your home
You have the right to sell your home at any time after purchase. However, you must tell Sheffield City Council of any change in ownership within one month of the date of the transfer of the lease. You should ask your solicitor to send the appropriate ‘Notice of Assignment’.
Sheffield City Council will charge £10 to register any transfer and to record the involvement of any banks or building societies which have granted a mortgage against the lease.
Home Information Packs
The Home Information Pack, or HIP, is compulsory for all homes on the market in England and Wales. It is a set of documents that provide the buyer with key information on the property and it must be provided by the seller or the seller's agent.
HIPs are designed to ensure that buyers have easy access to all important information at the start of the sales process, to try and avoid delays and extra expense later on.
It is a legal requirement to have a HIP and you cannot put your home on the market without one.
As a leaseholder you have the right to sublet your home. This means that you may take in lodgers or rent your home to someone else, if you want to.
You will also need to advise your mortgage lender if you do rent out your home.
You will remain responsible for ensuring that the terms of the lease are complied with and you will remain liable for any breaches, regardless of whether the breaches are committed by you, your sub-tenant or other parties connected to your sub-tenant. You will therefore be responsible for the behaviour of your sub-tenant(s). This would include, for example, ensuring that they do not cause a nuisance to neighbours.
Expect ‘quiet enjoyment ‘of your home. This means the ability to live peacefully without unnecessary interference from your neighbours or from Sheffield City Council, as long as you keep to the terms and conditions of your lease.
Your neighbours have the same right. We will try to deal with people who cause a nuisance to you, but equally you must not cause a nuisance to them. People who cause serious harassment to their neighbours can lose their home – even leaseholders!
Sheffield City Council and Council Housing Service are legally obliged to consult leaseholders and seek their views before we carry out any works where the cost will be over £250 for any one leaseholder, or over £100 if we enter into “Qualifying Long Term Agreements” for the provision of services. Sheffield City Council and Council Housing Service will always tell you why we consider works or agreements to be necessary.
Under the conditions of your lease, you must contribute towards the cost of any services or work to the building your home is in and the grounds or estate around it. You do this by paying service charges.
However, under section 20 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 you must be consulted.
The Council must send notices to every leaseholder who will have to pay towards the work or services and to any recognised Tenants and Residents Association (TARA) which represents them. These notices are called Section 20 notices. They contain information about what the Council or Council Housing Service plan to do.
Notice of assignment, transfer or change
These are required for re-sales and re-mortgages of properties and land sold on a Leasehold basis.
You need to complete 2 copies of this document and return them, along with the required fee as stated in the lease, to:
Sheffield City Council