Your lease

A leasehold is the right to live in and use part of a property for a long period – known as the ‘term’ of the lease.


The lease is the formal contract between you and Lambeth Council. Both you and Lambeth Council have a duty, by law to keep to this agreement. By signing the lease you are accepting the responsibilities that are described in the lease .the housing office is responsible for managing your lease on behalf of Lambeth Council.

Most leases last for 125 years, beginning from the date when the property was first sold. This means there is likely to be a long time left on your lease when you buy it. If your lease is approaching its expiry date, contact the housing office for more information about renewing it.

You can request a copy of your lease from your mortgage provider, the land registry or the housing office. You may be charged a fee.

Your responsibilities

As a leaseholder you must:

  • Pay your service charges and ground rent on time.

  • Keep your boiler and heating system in safe condition, if you do not get heating and hot water from a communal boiler. Your boiler system must be serviced every year by Gas safe registered engineer. You must keep a copy of the inspection certificate for your records.

  • Make sure a qualified electrical engineer carries out any electrical work to your property and gives you a copy of a valid certificate.

  • Maintain and repair your home

  • Allow access to your home to do any work needed to the property or the block.

  • Use your property only as a private home.

  • If you live in a flat, keep communal areas clear.

  • Not engage in anti-social behaviour.

Additional requirements include :


Anti-social behaviour



Gas safety check

Running a business from home




You must not carry out any major structural alterations to your property without written permission. For example, you must ask if you want to put in new windows, a satellite dish or new heating system replacement front and back doors must meet current fire-safety regulations. Contact the housing office if you want to make any changes, including fitting a new kitchen or bathroom, and we will tell you if you also need planning approval and/or building regulations approval from Lambeth council.  


Anti-social behaviour

You must not cause alarm, harassment or distress to another person where this could damage their quality of life or the wellbeing of the wider community. You are responsible for your own behaviour and the behaviour of anyone who lives with or visits you.



If you own a pet, it must be suitable for your home and lifestyle. You are responsible for your pets and those owned by your visitors, subtenants or lodgers. If they cause damage or a mess. The housing office will charge you for clearing it up and will take any other action deemed necessary to resolve the problem. You must not keep dog breeds which contravene the Dangerous Dogs Act 199 (as amended).the housing office does not permit residents to breed dogs commercially or sell animals from their is recommended you microchip you pets and ensure they wear collars and identification discs in  public at all times. You must not keep more than two dogs per property.



If you decide to sublet your home, you are still responsible for your lease or transfer. This includes continuing to pay your service charges. You are also responsible for behaviour of your tenant(s).To ensure your tenant(s) is aware of the conditions of your lease or transfer, you may ask them to sign a tenancy agreement. A solicitor or managing agent will be able to advise you about tenancy agreements.


If you decide to sublet you must give the housing office your forwarding contact details or those of your managing agent. You should also notify:

  • Lambeth council’s insurance team, who manage the buildings insurance for leaseholders.

  • Your lender, if you have a mortgage.

  • Your insurance company. Failure to tell them may mean your contents insurance policy will not pay out – you will not be insured.

Gas safety check

It is important to arrange your gas safety check by a gas safe registered engineer, if you have gas appliances in your home. Under the gas safety (installation and use) regulations 1998, and the terms of your lease, you have a duty to carry out these checks, and must ensure that your appliances are properly maintained.

It is important that you keep your gas safety certificate and give your tenant(s) a copy, as the housing office will carry out regular checks.


Running a business from home

If you wish to run a business from your home, you will need written permission from the housing office first. We will generally grant permission, unless:

  • You intend to carry out your trade or business from a garage, shed or shared area at the property.

  • Your activities will cause risk to your or anyone else’s safety.

  • You will disturb or cause nuisance to your neighbours, or

  • Your activities will break the law, planning or environmental health requirements.

The housing office will not normally give permission for business or trades that require you to employ staff or install machinery, but will generally agree to occupations like accounting, freelance writing/journalism or child-minding. The housing office may withdraw permission if the business or trade causes a nuisance, or you fail to seek planning permission where this is required.



For more information check your lease, or contact the housing office.

Your freehold

If you buy your property’s freehold, you will own your home and the land it is built on, and you will have the right to live there for as long as you please. You can make alterations to the property within the restrictions of the law and Lambeth Council’s planning controls.

When you buy the freehold you will receive a transfer document (similar to the lease agreements for leaseholders), which transfers the title of the property to you. This document is legally binding. It is important that you know the conditions of your transfer document. Contact the housing office if you have any questions.

The transfer document contains a plan that outlines your house, any gardens or structures that are your responsibility, and the area where you also explains your rights and conditions. For example a free holder is responsible for repairing and maintaining the whole property – both inside and outside – and services on the land. If you have shared walls, boundary walls and fences, or shared pathways, the transfer document will state who is responsible for paying for these.

Utility companies, such as water, gas and electricity companies, run mains pipes under the street to provide their services. They repair and maintain these up to the border of the freehold a freeholder you are responsible for repairing and maintaining service pipes that run from the boarder of the land into your home.




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