Leaseholder information - terms & conditions

When you buy a home with Home Group there are some terms and conditions you need to be aware of.

You can read about them below or contact us if you have any further questions.
  • Alterations and improvements

    • What is meant by ‘alterations and improvements’?

      These might be any changes you would like to make to the inside or outside of your property. Your lease will state exactly what you are and aren't allowed to do. It will also tell you what you need to ask Home Group for permission to do.

      Why do I have to ask for permission?

      Your lease, which you signed when you bought your property, includes the details of your obligations. Your solicitor will have advised you about the details and we recommend that you check what permission is required before you carry out any work on your property.

      How do I make an application for permission?

      Contact our Customer Service Centre. You will need to provide all the details of the work you want to carry out including any planning permission, architect drawings and contractor details. 

      What do I do if I want to make changes to help with mobility issues?

      Contact our Customer Service Centre. You will need to give all the details of your requirements and provide any supporting information like an occupational therapist report that could help us deal with your enquiry as quickly as possible.

      What happens if my lease does not allow the work that I need to do?

      Contact us to discuss the situation. It may be possible to consider a variation to the lease for the scheme where your property is situated, but that would depend on consultation with other leaseholders who would be affected by any proposed change.

      Do I have to pay for permission to do alterations and improvements?

      Yes – there will be an administration fee and possibly other fees depending on the complexity of the work you are proposing. If your application is not successful we will not make any charge.

      Other useful contacts

      We recommend you obtain independent specialist advice if you have any concerns about your lease and any restrictions within it. You might find the following details helpful.

      The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE)
      www.lease-advice.org
      Tel: 0207 832 2500

      You can email or speak to someone on the phone and there is no charge.

      The Leasehold Advisory Service is a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) funded by the government to provide free advice on the law affecting residential leasehold property in England and Wales.
  • Costs on resold properties

  • Data protection - Fair Processing Notice

    • Introduction

      In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, we (Home Group Limited and our subsidiary companies) are committed to protecting your rights and privacy when you use our services. We have notified the Information Commissioner in detail of the purposes for which we use your information. Further details are available from the Information Commissioner’s Office at: www.ico.org.uk   

      What information do we collect about you and why?

      To provide you with the services we need to collect, store and use your personal information. We will hold information about you such as your name, address and contact details, household and financial details, and sometimes sensitive personal information relating to your health, special needs or alleged or actual criminal offences, if relevant.

      When you provide us with information you will be told what we will use it for and who we will share it with. We will usually ask for your direct consent to use and share your personal information (especially if it is sensitive) at the time that you provide the information, for example when filling in an application form. However, it may sometimes be necessary to share your information without consent. For example; in order to detect or prevent a crime, or if we are required to do so by law.

      What do we do with your information?

      Generally, only our own staff see your personal information. However, we may also share your personal information with other agencies or organisations where appropriate, such as but not limited to: government agencies and departments, police, local authorities, social services, managing agents, contractors (including our market research contractor), utility companies, commissioners, tracing agents and debt collection companies, credit reference agencies and with other bodies for the prevention and detection of fraud. When we share information, we do our best to ensure it is kept secure and used properly.

      We may also use the details you have provided to contact you about special offers or other information which you may find interesting or to get feedback about a service you have received. You may opt out of receiving marketing and other information, such as surveys from us or our partners at any time by contacting us. 

      How long will we keep your information?

      We will keep your information for as long as necessary to provide the relevant service and in accordance with our retention and disposal guidelines.

      How can you find out what information we hold about you?


      Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have a right of access to personal data held on you. This is called a subject access request. There are certain exceptions to this right. In particular, we may not be required to give you access to personal information which is about another individual or which has been provided by a third party, without their consent.

      If you want to see the information we hold on you or to request a copy, please contact us. If any information in incorrect, let us know so we can change it.

      How to contact us about data protection

      For further information, please contact our Customer Service Centre on 0345 141 4663.
  • Down staircasing

    • This is the process that enables you to sell back shares in the value of your existing shared ownership property to Home Group. This option is only available in exceptional circumstances as it is intended to help if you are in danger of losing your home because of financial and personal changes. Click here to read more about downstaircasing.

  • Freehold purchase - enfranchisement

    • What is enfranchisement?

      This is the term used for the process leaseholders can use to force their landlord to sell them the freehold of the land on which their property is built. When a group of leaseholders buy the land on which their block of flats is built it is called collective enfranchisement.

      What are the criteria for collective enfranchisement?

      The law involved is the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (as amended by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002) and it requires that the building (or block) be eligible, and that the people wishing to purchase are also eligible (that is that they must be ‘qualifying tenants’).

      Does your block qualify?
      • It must be a self-contained building or part of a building that is purpose built.
      • The building must contain at least two flats held by qualifying tenants.
      • At least two thirds of the total number of flats in the building must be held by qualifying tenants.
      • Not more than 25% of internal floor area can be in non-residential use.
      • Do you have the support of qualifying flat owners holding 50% or more of the flats in the block?
      Do the leaseholders qualify?

      To count as a ‘qualifying tenant’ and be entitled to participate you must:

      • Lease your flat on a ‘long-lease’ (one where the original term was more than 21 years)
        OR
      • Hold a former shared ownership lease where you own 100%
        OR
      • Hold a Right to Buy or Right to Acquire lease
      Flat owners who own more than 2 flats in the building may not count as ‘qualifying tenants’.

      What should a leaseholder do if they wish to apply for collective enfranchisement?

      We recommend you seek independent legal advice and arrange for all the leaseholders to enter into a ‘participation agreement’. You can then decide who will be the ‘Nominee Purchaser’ (this is often a company that is created for the purpose). The ‘Nominee purchaser’s’ representative should put their request in writing to our legal team.

      Further information

      Please note leaseholders are responsible for all the landlords' legal / valuation fees.

      Useful contacts

      The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE)
      Tel: 0207 832 2500
      www.lease-advice.org

      The Leasehold Advisory Service is a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) funded by the government to provide free advice on the law affecting residential leasehold property in England and Wales.
  • Insurance

    • Who organises buildings insurance?

      Home Group arranges a bulk insurance policy that covers all of the properties that are included within its freehold portfolio. Alternatively insurance may be arranged by a 3rd party where Home Group is not the freeholder of a property, but the cost will have been paid by Home Group initially.

      Why do I have to contribute to the cost of buildings insurance?

      As a leaseholder of Home Group your lease will include the requirement to refund the cost of the buildings insurance that is arranged by your landlord or freeholder on your behalf. We will collect your contribution through your service charge.

      Can I have a copy of the policy?

      You can contact us to ask for a copy of the summary of the current policy.

      How do I make a claim and what is covered?

      You can contact the insurer directly using a claim form, which we can provide. Or you can phone them (the contact number is on the summary of cover document). All main risks are covered including the cost of trace and access to determine the source of a problem (full details are in the policy documents). It may not cover the repair of the source of the problem.

      Is there an excess clause in the policy?

      Yes: you have to pay the first £100 of each claim and the first £1,000 any claim in relation to subsidence.

      What other types of insurance are arranged by Home Group?

      We also have to arrange for public and third party liability insurance to cover the possibility of injury to people or property in communal areas of an estate as well the internal common parts of a scheme (like the stairwells in a block of flats).

      If you are a leaseholder or a freeholder you may contribute to this type of insurance through your service charge or through the management fee that you pay to Home Group.

      Does the buildings insurance cover the contents of my property or other people’s property?

      No.  You will need to arrange separate contents insurance for yourself and make sure that it allows for cover of the cost of a failure to extra fixtures and fittings you have provided within the property (like a washing machine) that damages someone else’s property. You can find out more about contents insurance here.

      Please note:

      Although the policies we arrange are bulk policies there is a clause in the policy that states your interest as a leaseholder or freeholder is automatically noted in the policy, including any building society or bank from which you may have a mortgage.  The policy is not allowed to lapse without prior notice being given to you.
  • Lease extension

    • What is a lease extension?

      It is the process used to enable you to acquire a new lease for your property which works as an extension to your existing lease. For a flat, the new lease will expire 90 years after the expiry date of the original lease. For a house, the new lease would expire 50 years after the expiry date of the original lease.

      Who can extend their lease?

      Under the 1993 Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act most 100% leasehold owners with an original lease term of 21 years or more are legally entitled to negotiate a lease extension at a fair market price.

      Eligibility criteria:
      • You must have owned the property for at least 2 years
      • You cannot apply if the lease is held by a registered company or commercial enterprise

      There are some types of property that are excluded from lease extension so you will need to check the situation for your property.

      Why would I need to extend my lease?

      As a lease expiry date gets closer the more expensive it is to extend. Mortgage companies will check how long is left on the lease, and some companies require a minimum of 80 years before agreeing to offer a mortgage on a leasehold property. If you want to sell your property, the length of the lease may affect your ability to sell, as well as the price that someone is prepared to pay.

      How do I go about extending my lease?

      We recommend that you seek independent legal and financial advice in order to identify whether lease extension is possible and if it would be in your best interest to do it.

      If you decide you want to proceed, you can make a formal request in writing to our:

      Legal Team or Asset Management Team
      Home Group
      Gosforth Business Park
      2 Gosforth Park Way
      NE12 8ET
      Tel: 045 1551234

      What happens next and how long will it take?

      Your solicitor will communicate with our legal team and a formal valuation will be obtained from a registered valuer so that the price for your lease extension can be agreed. Every application is dealt with individually so time frames may vary, but it is estimated to take around 3 months.

      Please note: you will be responsible for all fees associated with the extension of the lease for yourself and your landlord.

      Further information

      The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE)
      www.lease-advice.org
      Tel: 0207 832 2500

      The Leasehold Advisory Service is a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) funded by the government and provide some very helpful advice guides on the above web site; you can also ring or email them to discuss lease extension and other legal questions about leasehold management free of charge.
  • Repairs and major works

    • What type of repairs am I responsible for?

      Your lease or the legal contract you signed when you bought your property includes the details of your repairing obligations. Usually you will be responsible for everything that is on the inside of your property, all services that are exclusive to your property (like water, gas & electricity supplies and drains) and also for a fair proportion of the cost of repairing everything in the common parts of the building and/or the estate where your property is situated.

      What are major works and cyclical redecorations?

      This is repair, replacement or decoration work relating to the care of communal areas and facilities of the building and/or the estate in which your property is situated which will be required occasionally or at intervals of more than a year.

      Will I be consulted about such work before it is done?

      You will be consulted. For any expenditure that Home Group may plan which would mean you have to pay a contribution of £250 or more we are required by law to follow a consultation process which is called ‘Section 20’. The consultation will mean that you have a stated period of time to comment on the work and sometimes to nominate a contractor that we might use. You can always write to or email your customer service partner or homeowners team or contact us to ask any questions.

      What will I have to pay and when will I be charged?

      Some repair costs may be covered by the regular service charge that you pay.

      If your lease or legal contract allows us to collect a regular contribution from you to be added to a reserve fund (sometimes called a building, sinking or cyclical fund) then the cost of works will be charged to this fund. If the fund does not cover the cost of the planned work or there is no fund you will be sent an invoice after the work is complete or asked to pay extra at the end of the financial year when your receive your summary statement of expenditure (usually in September).

      You can pay by cheque or by contacting our payment line (tel: 0345 141 4663, option 1) and using your debit or credit card.

      Other useful contacts

      We recommend you obtain independent specialist advice if you have any concerns about the management costs you are being charged. You might find the following contact helpful.

      The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE)
      www.lease-advice.org
      Tel: 0207 832 2500
      You can email or speak to someone on the phone and there is no charge.

      The Leasehold Advisory Service is a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) funded by the government to provide free advice on the law affecting residential leasehold property in England and Wales.
  • Right to manage

    • What is Right to Manage?

      The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 provides a right for leaseholders to force the transfer of the landlord’s management functions to a specially formed company set up by them (called the Right to Manage Company).

      This right was introduced to empower leaseholders to take over the responsibility of and decision-making for the management of their block of flats so it is not necessarily about taking control away from bad managers.

      What are the criteria for Right to Manage?

      The right can only be exercised by a company (not an individual). The building must meet certain conditions and a minimum number of leaseholders (50% of the total number of flats in the block) are required to take part. At least two-thirds of the flats in the block must be let to 'qualifying tenants' (that is a leaseholder whose lease was originally granted for an original term of more than 21 years). If the block contains a ‘commercial’ area this non-residential part must not exceed 25% of the total floor area of the block.

      Are all leaseholders eligible?

      The right is only available to leaseholders of flats (not houses)

      What is a Right to Manage Company?

      This is the company that must be set up formally by the leaseholders’ in order to exercise the right to manage. It must have ‘Articles of Association’ and, on registration with Companies House, a
      Memorandum of Association is required which is a short statement from the people involved which sets out their intention to incorporate the company together with a list of their names.

      Further information

      Companies House produces several free explanatory leaflets about setting up a company in relation to officers of the company and producing annual accounts for example.

      Contact: The Registrar of Companies, Companies House, Crown Way, Cardiff CF14 3UZ. Tel: 0303 1234 500 or visit their website at www.companieshouse.gov.uk.

      Other useful contacts

      The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE)
      Tel: 0207 832 2500
      www.lease-advice.org

      The Leasehold Advisory Service is a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) funded by the government to provide free advice on the law affecting residential leasehold property in England and Wales.
  • Section 20

    • What is Section 20?

      This is the short term used to describe the method of consultation with leaseholders that a landlord must follow in certain situations.  

      Under the terms of your lease, you have to pay towards the cost of any services provided by Home Group.  

      However, under Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (amended by section 151 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002), we must consult with you when we think we will spend more than certain amounts on your behalf.

      What are the benefits of consultation?

      • You get the chance to comment on service arrangements and planned works in relation to your building or scheme and you can sometimes nominate a contractor for us to get a quote from.
      • Knowing in advance when works are due to be done and how much it will cost helps you plan for the financial and personal impact the work may have on you.
      When does consultation happen?

      We start the consultation process when we consider:
      • Work is required that will cost you more than £250; this includes repairs, maintenance, redecoration of communal areas and improvements to your building or estate.
      • Entering into a long-term contract for works or regular services that will last for more than 12 months and will cost you more than £100 in any one year.
      What should I expect to receive?

      There are a maximum of 4 stages to the consultation process and the notices we must send are in a format shown in the legislation so we can’t change it.
      • Stage 1 - Notice of intention.
      • Stage 2 - Notice of estimates.
      • Stage 3 - Notice of reasons for awarding the contract.
      • Stage 4 – Notice of intention to carry out works under a long term agreement.
      Each notice includes notes about your legal rights and you are given 30 days to make observations about the work at most stages.

      When can I nominate a contractor?

      During the 30 day consultation period in stage 1 of the process unless it is for a contract that will be advertised publically in the European Union.  

      The person or company you nominate must be able to provide proof of the following things:
      • Public liability insurance
      • VAT status
      • Health and safety policy
      • Accounts showing adequate turnover to be able to take on the proposed works
      • Trade body registration
      • Ability to do the work stated in the specification
      • Experience of carrying out works to occupied residential properties
      We will provide updates throughout the consultation process and you can always ring your local management team.

      Further information

      For more detail & independant advice we recommend you contact:
      The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE)
      Tel: 0207 832 2500
      Website: www.lease-advice.org
  • Service charges

  • Staircasing

  • Subletting

    • What is subletting?

      Subletting is the term used when a leaseholder chooses not to reside in their flat and instead rents it out.

      What are the criteria for subletting?

      You can only sublet your property if your lease allows it, and you will need to get our permission before you start making any arrangements.

      If you are a shared owner your lease will not allow you to sublet your property. In some circumstances we may be able to consider a short term subletting agreement if you show that there is an exceptional situation (like being unable to afford to keep the property but the sale process taking longer than 6 months or having to live elsewhere to take care of a sick relative for a short period). The maximum period for an exceptional sublet agreement would be 12 months and you would not be allowed to make a profit from the process.

      When would subletting be useful for me?

      You may prefer to sublet your property rather than selling and you may consider subletting as a business opportunity.

      If you want to live elsewhere or travel abroad for a long period of time it might give you peace of mind that your property will not be empty.

      How do I arrange for permission to sublet and what is involved?

      You must request permission to sublet your property by completing an application form which we can provide. Contact us for the form and details of our administration fees that you will have to pay. Our legal team will draw up a licence agreement which you will need to sign so there is also a legal fee for this part of the process.

      Are there any special arrangements that I need to know about?

      You must meet certain legal requirements as a landlord which you will need to investigate and you may also need to obtain permission from your lender (if you have a mortgage). The person living in the sublet property is your tenant and has no contractual relationship with Home Group: you remain responsible for both the property and the conduct of your sub-tenant. You must ensure that your tenant complies with the terms of the lease as we will take action against you if they don't.

      Other useful contacts

      We recommend you obtain independent specialist advice about subletting your property to make sure you are aware of the full implications. You might find the following details helpful.

      The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE)
      www.lease-advice.org
      Tel: 0207 832 2500
      You can email or speak to someone on the phone and there is no charge.

      The Leasehold Advisory Service is a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) funded by the government to provide free advice on the law affecting residential leasehold property in England and Wales.