A lease is simply a long term tenancy agreement, the right to occupation and use of the flat for a long period.
The ‘term’ of Trivallis leases are 125 years from the original sale date and the flat can be bought and sold during that term.
The term is fixed when the lease is agreed, which means it decreases in length year on year. If it were not for inflation, the value of the flat would decrease time until the lease expires.
Leasehold ownership of a flat relates to everything within the four walls of the flat, including floorboards, plaster, walls and ceiling. It does not include the external or structural walls. A garden can be included, unless it is a communal garden for the building. What the leaseholder owns is often defined in the lease as the “Demised Premises”
The structure and common parts of the building and the land it stands on are owned by Trivallis, also known as the landlord or Freeholder. Trivallis is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the building. The costs for doing so are recoverable through the service charges and billed to the leaseholders.
What is a lease?
A lease is a contract between the leaseholder and Trivallis. It is an important document and leaseholders should ensure that they have a copy and that they understand it.
If you are a leaseholder and don’t have a copy of your lease you may be able to obtain one from the Land Registry, or your solicitor who acted for you when you purchased the flat.
Leases usually use lots of legal language so if you find it difficult to understand your lease, you should get advice from a solicitor and request a report on the terms of the lease when they are instructed to deal with the purchase.
The lease sets out the contractual obligations of the two parties: what the leaseholder has contracted to do, and what the Trivallis is bound to do. The leaseholder’s obligations include payment of the ground rent and contribution to the costs of maintaining, insuring and managing the building. The lease also places certain conditions on the use and occupation of the flat. Trivallis is required to manage and maintain the structure, exterior and common areas of the property, to collect service charges from all the leaseholders, insure the building and keep the accounts.
Leaseholders are not free to do whatever they want in or with the flat – the lease comes with conditions, to protect the rights of everyone with an interest in the building.
What are service charges?
Service charges are payments by the leaseholder to Trivallis for all the services it provides as a landlord. These services include maintenance and repairs, insurance of the building and, in some cases, provision of lighting cleaning of common areas and communal grass cutting.
Service charges will vary from year to year; they can go up or down without any limit other than that they are reasonable.
Details of what can (and cannot) be charged by the landlord and the proportion of the charge to be paid by the individual leaseholder will all be set out in the lease.
Leases allow for the landlord to collect estimated service charges in advance, repaying any surplus or collecting any shortfall at the end of the year.
The landlord can only recover the costs of services which are reasonable. Leaseholders have the right to challenge service charges they feel are unreasonable at the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
Trivallis will provide insurance for the building and the common parts, the cost of the premium will be recovered through service charges. This policy will not cover the possessions of individual leaseholders, for which contents insurance should be taken out. Any claim against the policy should be made directly with the insurance company.
Right To Buy
There is no longer a right to buy/ acquire a social rented property in Wales. The Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Act 2018 ended the Right to Buy, Preserved Right to Buy and Right to Acquire for tenants of local authorities and registered social landlords in Wales on 26th January 2019.
For further information, please visit: gov.wales