Leasehold flats and houses: responsibilities for repairs
Find out who has to organise repairs and who pays for them when you have a leasehold flat or house.
Who pays for repairs in a leasehold home?
Leaseholders must pay for repairs that the lease says they are responsible for.
Leaseholders also usually have to contribute towards the cost of repairs that the freeholder is responsible for. You pay for these repairs through service charges.
Sinking fund for repairs
Leaseholders may pay into a sinking fund or reserve fund over a number of years. This can be used to pay for major repairs such as replacing a lift or roof.
You only have to pay into a sinking fund if your lease says you have to.
Check the lease to see if the freeholder or the leaseholders are responsible for insuring the building.
The freeholder's buildings insurance may cover all or part of the cost for example if damage is caused by an accident.
Each leaseholder usually has to pay a share of the total cost if anything isn't covered by insurance.
Freeholder responsibility for repairs
Your lease will set out who is responsible for carrying out repairs to your home, the building and to any shared facilities.
The freeholder is usually responsible for arranging repairs to:
the building's structure, including the roof and guttering
shared parts of the building, such as lifts and communal stairways
Leaseholder responsibility for repairs
Most leases say that the leaseholder is responsible for looking after the part of the building they lease.
This usually includes repairs to:
plasterwork and floorboards
Leaseholders are also normally responsible for:
the paintwork and decoration of their flat
furniture and appliances
Leaseholder's right to be consulted
The freeholder has to consult leaseholders before carrying out any repairs or building work that will cost more than £250 per leaseholder.
You may not have to pay all the costs if the freeholder doesn't consult you properly.
Contact LEASE for advice if you think your freeholder has not consulted you properly.
How to report repair problems to the freeholder
Write to your freeholder as soon as there are any problems:
give details of the repairs needed that they are responsible for
give the freeholder a realistic deadline for carrying them out
date your letter and keep a copy
If the freeholder refuses to do repairs
Your freeholder is breaking the conditions of your lease if they don't carry out repairs they are responsible for.
Get advice if you are in this situation. You may be able to take your freeholder to court to force them to do the work. The court could also order them to pay you compensation.
Report the problem to the council's environmental health department if disrepair means that your home is dangerous or damaging to your health. The council can order the freeholder to do the work
Still need advice?
Last updated: 6 May 2018