Responsibility for leasehold repairs

You and your freeholder are responsible for different repairs to leasehold properties.

Check your lease

Your lease sets out who is responsible for repairs to your home and to shared facilities.

If you don’t have your lease, you can usually get a copy from your mortgage lender or the Land Registry

Leaseholder responsibilities

Most leases say that you as the leaseholder are responsible for maintaining and repairing the inside of your home.

This usually includes repairs to:

  • all internal decoration, including carpets and paintwork
  • furniture and appliances
  • internal plumbing and wiring
  • plasterwork
  • floorboards

Freeholder responsibilities

The freeholder is usually responsible for repairs to:

  • the building's structure, including the roof and guttering
  • shared parts of the building, such as lifts and communal stairways

Freeholders don't have to inspect their properties to check for repairs. Some freeholders make regular checks for repairs, particularly in large blocks of flats.

Contact your freeholder in writing as soon as repairs are needed. Give details. Date your letter and keep a copy

The freeholder should complete the repairs within a reasonable period.

Who pays for repair work

As a leaseholder, you usually have to pay for repairs that the lease says you're responsible for.

The freeholder is usually responsible for taking out buildings insurance. This may cover all or part of the cost of the repairs, for example if the damage is caused by an accident.

If a repair isn't covered by insurance, each leaseholder usually has to pay a share of the total cost - for example replacing a worn-out lift.

The amount you pay should be reasonable.

You are normally billed for your share of repairs to shared structures and areas through service charges.

Reserve funds for repairs

Sinking or reserve funds are often used to help cover the cost of major repairs.

Many leaseholders are required to pay a certain amount every month or year to build up these funds.

If the freeholder refuses to do repairs

Get advice if your freeholder won't carry out repairs.

You may be able to take the freeholder to court to force them to do the work. The court may also order them to pay you compensation.

Your council's environmental health department may help if the problems risk your health or safety. They could order the freeholder to do the work.

Find your local council's contact details

If your freeholder still doesn't do the repairs, you can sometimes do the work yourself and claim the money back from the freeholder.

If other leaseholders won't pay

The freeholder can't put off essential repairs because other leaseholders refuse to pay.

This is usually true even if your lease says the freeholder doesn't have to arrange the work until leaseholders have paid.

If any leaseholder refuses to pay the service charge, the freeholder can take that person to court.

Freeholders can't ask any leaseholder to pay more than their share. You only have to pay your share, even if other leaseholders don't pay theirs.

Consultation about repairs

Your freeholder must consult you and the other leaseholders if the cost of a repair will be more than £250 per property.

Any tenants' association must also be consulted.

A consultation means the freeholder must:

  • tell you what work they plan to do and why it is needed
  • allow you at least 30 days to make any comments you have in writing

The freeholder must then give you estimates for the work and another 30 days to respond.

You may not have to pay all the service charges for the work if the freeholder hasn't consulted you properly.

Participating in a consultation does not mean that you are giving permission for the works

Help and legal advice

Get legal advice if you have concerns about repairs or if your lease does not say who is responsible for a repair.

Contact LEASE or a solicitor for further advice.

Use the Gov.uk Legal adviser finder to find a legal adviser in your area.


Last updated 17 Apr 2019 | © Shelter

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