Homeowner information

Use the links below to find a wide range of information relating to your lease.

About the lease

The lease is a legal agreement between the landlord (freeholder) and the person buying the lease (leaseholder).

As a homeowner, it gives you the leaseholder rights over your home for a fixed term of years. Typically our leases are set for an initial fixed term of 125 years.  

The lease contains a general section which tells you what we have both agreed.

Each paragraph under this section is called a ‘clause’. The clauses explain matters such as when to pay your service charges, how often to redecorate your property and our responsibility to insure, repair and maintain the building.

It also has ten other sections, which are called ‘schedules’. Each schedule tells you something important about our agreement.

The last part of the lease is the declaration. The declaration states that you, as the ‘lessee’, understand and will keep to the conditions of the lease and we, as the ‘lessor’, accept our responsibilities under the agreement. This must be signed by both parties and then becomes legally binding. Your lease should be kept in a safe place at all times.

If you have a mortgage it is likely that your mortgage lender will keep a copy of your lease.

Rights and responsibilities

Your rights under the lease include:

  • living in the property without any disturbance from us, so long as you meet your responsibilities as given in the lease
  • using any lift in the building
  • using any gardens and recreation areas on the estate
  • getting structural support for your property from the building.

In addition to the rights listed above, you also have rights granted to you by law. These include the right to:

  • view a summary of the service charge costs
  • inspect the service charge accounts and receipts
  • challenge your service charge at the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)
  • receive the summary of your building’s insurance policy
  • be consulted about certain matters, such as major repair works
  • take over management of your building or estate.

Your responsibilities under the lease include:

  • paying annual ground rent of £10 in advance
  • paying your service charges within 21 days
  • allowing us access to inspect or repair the building
  • keeping your property in good condition
  • not making structural changes to the property without our written consent
  • painting the inside of your property every six years.

Our rights as lessor under the lease include:

  • collecting your service charges
  • running services through your property
  • getting structural support for the building from your property
  • accessing your property, giving reasonable notice, to carry out our responsibilities under the lease.

Our responsibilities under the lease include:

  • insuring the reserved property (the structure and communal parts of the building and grounds that your property is situated within) to the full value
  • repairing the structure of your building
  • repairing and maintaining all equipment providing services to your building
  • to manage the estate and building in a proper manner
  • ensuring conditions in the contract (mutual covenants) are being observed
  • decorating the exterior of the property every 5 to 10 years.

Obtaining a copy of the lease

When you buy a leasehold property, either through the Right to Buy or from a private seller, you will receive a copy of the lease. You can obtain a replacement copy of your lease by contacting us. There is an administration fee for supplying this. You can also obtain a copy of the lease and title plan from the Land Registry. 


Under the terms of your lease you are allowed to rent out your home. This is known as subletting.

As a Phoenix homeowner, you do not need our permission to sublet your property but you must tell us in writing and provide a correspondence address in England or Wales so that we can send you notices and/or service or demands. We will also need a telephone number and/or email address for contact in the case of emergencies, such as leaks.

We suggest that you draw up a tenancy agreement with anyone renting your property, and that this contains similar terms to your lease, as you are responsible for the behaviour of your tenants. Any tenants must also follow the terms of your lease. Please forward a copy of the tenancy agreement to Phoenix for our information. 

If you have a mortgage on the property you may need to get your lender’s permission before you can sublet.

An annual gas safety inspection must be carried out on the gas appliances, flues and pipe work in your home. We recommend  that these inspections are carried out by engineers registered on the Gas Safe Register™.

You are required by law to supply a copy of the gas safety certificate to your tenants within 28 days of the inspection if you are subletting your home. Please also provide a copy of your annual gas safety certificate to Phoenix.

We offer a specialist private lettings service for homeowners who sublet their homes. Home Makers offers a personal, professional and competitively priced service to landlords, and makes full use of our experience in housing management and tenancy matters. 


If more than 2/3 of your block is leasehold-occupied and 50% of the block agrees, you could buy the freehold of the building together through a process called collective enfranchisement. 

Owning a share of the freehold means that you are responsible for deciding when repair and decoration works are carried out. You also control the services provided to your block as well as lease management, such as granting new leases or extending the existing leases and arranging buildings insurance.   

Not all leaseholders have the legal right, though. For example, you may not be eligible if:

  • There are commercial units in your block
  • You own a lease on more than two flats in the building
  • Phoenix doesn’t own the freehold.

Did you know?

Independent information on the collective enfranchisement process can be found at Leasehold Advisory Service.

The process for collective enfranchisement may soon change with a standardised process and a cap on administrative and legal costs for leaseholders.

We will let you know how these changes could affect you as soon as the information becomes available. 

Extending the lease

Most leaseholders have a statutory right to a lease extension. We want to help you achieve this in a cost effective and timely manner.

Completing a lease extension could give you a greater sense of security in your home as up to 90 years can be added to the remaining term of your lease

We recommend extending your lease before it falls below 80 years, as this can avoid an additional payment known as a marriage fee. 

Did you know?

To find out how long is left on your lease, or if you want to extend your lease now, please contact us.

The process for lease extensions is currently under Government review and is expected to simplify the current process.

Ground Rents on leasehold homes

You might have seen news items over the past year about unfair practices in leasehold, including ground rents on leasehold houses. 

These have focused on the doubling of ground rent clauses in leases starting at £250, which could then end up costing £00,000’s before the end of the lease term. Sometimes this means homes cannot be sold because the ground rent burden is greater than mortgage lenders are prepared to cover or buyers are prepared to meet. 

We want to reassure our leaseholders that none of our leases have a doubling covenant and you are not affected by this in any way. Typically, Phoenix leases set ground rent at £10 per annum and do not increase annually.


It is sometimes necessary to carry out repairs and maintenance to buildings or estates.

We do not usually carry out repairs that are your responsibility under the terms of your lease.

Emergency repairs

Please report any emergency repair by calling 0800 0285 700 and press 1 for repairs.

Repairs carried out on your behalf

If we carry out repairs to the building or estate, you are required under the lease to contribute towards the cost. This contribution will form part of your service charges.

For repairs that are your responsibility you should arrange for qualified, reputable people to do the work. You will be solely responsible for the cost of those works.

In certain situations, such as a serious leak that is causing damage to other properties or where the health and safety of other residents in the building is at risk, we may ask you to carry out immediate repairs.

If you do not do so, we will carry them out on your behalf and will charge you the costs that we incur.

Gaining access

We may sometimes need to gain access to your home to carry out a repair that is not affecting you.

For example, a leak could be affecting the property beneath you and the communal water pipes may run beneath the floor in your home.

If this is necessary, we will arrange an appointment with you giving as much notice as possible. We always aim to minimise any disruption to you.

It is a requirement of your lease that you provide reasonable access to Phoenix or our operatives so that we can carry out maintenance to the building.

If you do not allow us reasonable access, we may take appropriate formal action for the breach of covenant. Please be aware that this may affect any future sale of the lease.

Making alterations

You must get our written permission before carrying out any alterations or improvements to your home.

You must obtain written permission for any works that will change:

  • the construction
  • the height elevation
  • the architectural appearance
  • any of the principal walls or timbers.

You must also gain written permission before you:

erect or build any additional or substituted buildings
erect any fences, poles, wires, aerials, for sale/to let boards or any other equipment.

If you have any questions, or would like more information about getting permission for alterations, please contact us detailing the works you plan to carry out.

There is an administration fee for reviewing alteration or improvements applications. 

If you plan to carry out any structural alterations to the property, you must also provide two structural drawings which show the property in its current form and the property after the alteration, as well as obtaining the written permission of the local authority's planning department. 

Where we give you permission, it may also be necessary to incorporate the alteration into your lease. A Deed of Variation must be drafted by a solicitor and you would be responsible for our legal costs in dealing with this matter, as well as your own. 

Any future sale of your property may be affected if you have not obtained written permission for works carried out.

Retrospective consent 

If you have already carried out alterations to the property and have not sought our permission, you can do so now by contacting us and requesting ‘retrospective consent’.

This is permission that we may give after changes have been made and it may be necessary for us to inspect the works. If we have any concerns, or if we are not satisfied with the works, you may be asked to either rectify or reinstate the property. You would have to cover the cost for this. 

Aerials and satellite dishes

You must obtain written permission from us before installing any aerials or satellite dishes. Please send us your written request including as much detail as possible about the works. Once you have gained our permission it is your responsibility to obtain all other consents needed for the works. This will be a condition of our permission. 

Selling your home

If you are selling your home, we strongly advise you to appoint a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to make sure everything is done correctly.

We will only respond to enquiries from the registered homeowner or people you have authorised to act on your behalf, such as your solicitor. We will not respond directly to potential purchasers or their appointed agents.

We are not able to apportion (or split) service charges. Any balance outstanding on your service charge account must be cleared by the date of completion.

The new homeowner is responsible for the accounts from the date of completion onwards, including any existing debt or credit on the account. Any actual account not yet produced, for example a final account adjustment, (regardless of whether it is a debit or credit) will be the responsibility of the new homeowner.

For sale / to let boards

You must obtain our written permission before displaying a ‘for sale’ or 'to let' board on the property or in the grounds. We will not unreasonably withhold our permission but there are restrictions attached such as:

only one board can be displayed
permission is given for a fixed period and will be reviewed at the end of the period
once a purchaser has been found, the board must be removed.

We reserve the right to charge an administration fee for the erection of ‘for sale’ and ‘to let’ boards on our land.

Pre-sales enquiries

When you are selling your lease, your solicitor will request information from us to help with the sale.

This information will be requested by the person who buys the lease for your property and is known as a pre-assignment, pre-sales or management pack and includes details of:

  • current estimated service charge
  • any known major works or other high cost items for the near future that will affect the property
  • information on any breach of covenant
  • actual service charges for last three years
  • requirements for transferring ownership of the lease
  • summary of insurance cover.

There is an administration fee for providing this information.

To obtain a pre-assignment pack please forward the administration fee with your request to our Home Ownership team. The pack will be forwarded to your solicitor within ten working days of receiving the administration fee.

Deed of Covenant

Please ensure that your buyer is aware that they must enter into a Deed of Covenant when purchasing the lease. We can provide your solicitor with a draft Deed of Covenant.

There is an administration fee for registering the Deed of Covenant.

Repayment of the Right to Buy discount

If you purchased your lease under the Right to Buy scheme and intend to sell it within five years of purchase, you may have to repay some or all of the discount you received. 

You may be exempt in the first five years only if:

  • the property is transferred to a husband or wife as part of a divorce settlement as ruled by the courts
  • you sell as a result of a compulsory purchase order
  • the property has been transferred to you under a will. However, if you wish to sell the property that you have inherited you will be required to repay the discount should the sale take place within five years of the original date it was sold under the Right to Buy. 

The amount of discount you will be asked to repay is based on the value of the discount that you intially received as a percentage of the value of your home when you bought it. For example, when Mr Bloggs purchased his lease, it was valued at £200,000. He received a 50% discount so paid £100,000. If within five years of purchase he sold his lease, he would then need to repay up to 50% of the sale price. If he sold his lease for £300,000, he could repay up to £150,000. 

If you are considering selling your home please contact us and we will calculate the amount that you will have to repay. 

Right of first refusal regulations

If you applied for the Right to Buy after 18 January 2005 and wish to sell your property within ten years, you are required to give Phoenix the right of first refusal. This means that we have the opportunity to repurchase your home before you offer the property for sale on the open market. 

We do not have to buy your property, but we must be given the option to do so. We would pay the market value for your property. 

Informing us about completion of sale

Within 21 days of a sale being completed, the new owners are required to serve us with a notice of transfer/assignment and/or notice of charge and signed Deed of Covenant.

Failure to do so is a breach of covenant. There is an administration fee for registering the notice.