Your lease and rights

As a long leaseholder you have the right to live in your home for a fixed number of years.

South Tyneside Council still enforces the tenant's responsibilities in the lease.

They also still have ownership and responsibility for the building and all common areas.


Your lease

Your lease is a legally binding agreement between the Council and you.

It sets out all the rights and obligations of both parties relating to your property and the block and estate in which it is located. 

Each lease may be different and it is important to always check your own document for exact details.

Many leaseholders do not have a copy of their lease. We would advise you to get hold of your own copy so that you know your rights and obligations.

Although individual leases can differ in some respects, the general principles are common to all leases.

We provide some explanations for the main sections below.

When the Council signs the lease it agrees to:

  • Allow you to live in your home, as long as you pay the ground rent and other charges and meet all your obligations.
  • Keep your home insured for the full reinstatement value (not contents), give you a schedule of cover and a summary of the policy, and allow you to see the full policy if you ask.
  • Keep the structure and outside of the building in good repair, and keep all shared parts of the building and estate where you live in good repair.
  • Restore the building if it is damaged by any insured risk.
  • Allow you to use the facilities that you share with other residents in your building or on your estate.
  • Keep proper accounts in relation to service charges. The Council should make these accounts and supporting documents available for your inspection if you ask and give you information on how service charges are calculated.

Your rights as a leaseholder

These are some of your rights under thelaw.

You will have other rights under the terms of your lease.

Please refer to your own lease to check these rights. 

  • Freedom from interference
    You have the right to 'quiet enjoyment'. This has nothing to do with 'noise' but means that you can live in your home without the Council interfering, as long as you keep to your obligations under the lease. The Council can go to court if you do not keep to the conditions of your lease
  • The right to enfranchise
    "Enfranchisement" means that leaseholders can group together and buy the freehold of their block of flats if they and the building qualify. If you meet the requirements of the law, you can do this even if the freeholder does not want to sell it. The new owners of the freehold take on all the landlord's responsibilities for managing and maintaining the building, serving legal notices, collecting service charges, accounting for payments and enforcing the terms of the leases.
  • Staying in your home
    You are secure in your home as long as you keep to the terms of the lease. Only a court can allow your home to be taken from you. This could happen if, for example, you failed to pay your service charge or mortgage, or you knowingly made false statements when you applied for the lease.

Get a copy of your lease

If you need a copy of your lease please take the following steps:

  1. Contact the Solicitor who acted for you during the purchase of the property, as they may have a copy. If you have a mortgage, the original lease document should be with your lender. Your Solicitor should be able to confirm if the document was sent to your lender.
  2. If your Solicitor or lender do not have a copy or you have no mortgage, contact The Land Registry at Durham who should be able to supply a copy for £12, if the document is held electronically, or £24 if not. Telephone: 0191 301 3500 or visit GOV.UK: Land Registry.
  3. If you have been unable to get a copy from either of these sources, contact the Conveyancing Team at South Tyneside Council who can supply a copy of the counterpart lease for a charge of £30.