Leaseholders

If you’re a Karbon Homes leaseholder then you’re in the right place. Find out about repairs and maintenance, sub-letting or selling your property and leaseholds in general.

We’ve compiled a list of questions that we often get asked by our leaseholders, but if you need any more information on any aspect of your property or its lease, then please contact us for more information.

Your leasehold questions answered

Who can be a leaseholder?

A leaseholder is:

  • A resident who has bought their flat, under the Right to Buy Legislation or through other leasehold schemes – they own their own property but not the block it’s in, or the land its built on
  • A resident who has purchased the property outright but doesn’t hold the freehold of the building or the land it’s associated with
  • A shared owner – where they have purchased a share of the property
  • Someone who has bought a property from a Karbon Homes leaseholder and taken over the lease
  • Someone who inherits the lease in a will.

What is a freeholder?

Karbon Homes is the freeholder. We own the building in which you live and are responsible for looking after the structure, exterior and common areas of the block.

What charges do I have to pay and why?

As a leaseholder you will pay monthly charges that cover the cost of Karbon Homes maintaining and managing your home. These charges include administration costs, buildings insurance, service charges and ground rent, and vary from property to property. If you want to find out more about your charges, visit our contact us page and ask to speak to the leasehold team.

What if I don’t agree with the charges I’ve been asked to pay?

If you don’t agree with a service charge or with a valuation for works, then contact Karbon Homes and we will seek to resolve your problem. If you are not satisfied with the company’s response, you may want to have your case heard by the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT). The Leasehold Advisory Service is funded by the Government and provides free, impartial advice to leaseholders. Visit their website for further advice.

Can I sub-let my property?

Karbon Homes shared owners cannot take in lodgers or rent their property out because sub-letting is not allowed under the terms of the lease. However, some 100% owners and Right to Buy owners can sub-let where the lease allows. It is important that you inform us of any change of tenants so that we have up-to-date information of the people living at the property. When renting your property, you remain responsible for all monthly charges and the conduct of your tenants.

How do I sell my property?

If you’re planning on selling your property you’ll need to contact our home ownership team on 0191 223 8749 or email karbonhomes.homebuy@karbonhomes.co.uk. The team can help you with the sales process and – if you’re looking for somewhere new – can let you know what is available in other locations.

How do I extend the lease on my property?

If you would like to discuss extending your lease you should contact our home ownership team. It’s not a difficult process and we recommend that you consider it. From a mortgage lender’s point of view, it is recommended that you have a minimum of 75 years left on the lease if you are planning to sell it on.

How do I get a copy of my lease?

If you don’t have a copy of your lease, then the solicitor who advised you when you bought your property will hold a copy. The HM Land Registry can also supply you with a copy.

What is staircasing?

Shared owners can increase the share of their property that they own by purchasing additional shares; this process is known as staircasing.

Usually the minimum percentage you can staircase by is 10% although this may depend on the terms and conditions in your lease. Unless there is a restriction in your lease you can usually staircase until you own 100% of your property.

You can staircase providing that your rent account is up to date and stays up to date throughout the process.

There are three main benefits to staircasing:

  • As you purchase more shares your rent will be reduced
  • Once you own 100% of the property, you will no longer be required to pay rent (although you may still need to pay services charges)
  • The larger the share of the property you own, the more you will benefit if the property increases in value

To find out more about staircasing call our home ownership team on 0191 223 8749

Is my property insured?

All Karbon Homes leasehold properties are automatically covered by our building insurance policy – meaning residents have one less thing to worry about. The insurance covers the likes of falling trees, damage to supply pipes and cables, fire, water escapes and more. The contents of your property are not insured – you need to arrange this insurance yourself.

What is Forfeiture?

Forfeiture is where Karbon Homes applies to the court to end your lease because you have broken the lease conditions.

This could happen if:

  • You do not pay your service charges or ground rent
  • You cause nuisance and harassment to your neighbours
  • If the court decides that you have seriously broken the terms of your lease, it may end it and give us possession of your flat. You would lose your home and would not usually get any payment or compensation.

I’m having trouble paying my service charge and ground rent – can you help?

The first thing you should do is contact us – you don’t have to deal with your difficulties alone. We have a specialist team that can offer advice and support if you’re worried about your financial circumstances. Vist our money advice pages for more information.

Can I be repossessed?

If you have taken out a mortgage to buy your lease, your mortgage lender has a ‘legal charge’ on your home. This means they can apply to the courts for repossession if you do not pay your mortgage. If the court grants them possession, they have the right to evict you, sell your lease and take what you owe them out of the proceeds.

Where can I find more information specifically for leaseholders?

The Leasehold Advisory Service is funded by the Government and provides free, impartial advice to leaseholders. Visit their website on www.lease-advice.org

Gas Safety Reminder

You are responsible for having all your gas appliances checked at least once a year. If you are sub-letting your property as a landlord you have a legal responsibility to your tenant user the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. You must ensure that an annual safety check is carried out on each appliance and that a record of each safety check is kept for two years.

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