Leaseholder information

We know that entering into a lease is a serious ongoing financial commitment so we want to give you as much information as possible.

What is leasehold ownership?

Leasehold ownership of a flat is simply a long tenancy. The lease is usually set at 99 or 125 years and once the lease time has run out the flat returns to the landlord.

Buying a flat and becoming a leaseholder is different to buying a house. When buying a house you own the building and its land, but with leasehold ownership it usually relates to everything within the walls of the flat.

The external structure, communal areas and the land it stands on belongs to Ongo Homes. Always take professional advice before taking the leap into leasehold ownership.

If you have any questions, please contact us. You can also contact the Leasehold Advisory Service, who are a non departmental public body funded by government. They can provide free legal advice to leaseholders on the law affecting residential leasehold in England and Wales. You can contact the Leasehold Advisory Service on 020 7832 2500 or by emailing

The lease

Your lease is a legal document between you and Ongo Homes. It sets out the legal relationship between you as a Leaseholder and Ongo Homes as a landlord.

The main elements of a lease include:
• The set period of time you have a right to occupy your home – initially up to 125 years
• The parameters of your home which fall under your ownership or
responsibility during that set period, including any garden areas or outbuildings
• The rights and responsibilities you have as a Leaseholder
• The rights and responsibilities we have as a landlord and freeholder of the block
• Service charge terms and repayments
• Major works terms and repayments.

A lease is effectively a long-term tenancy, in which you own the right to occupy the property.

Find out more about leasehold ownership in the drop-down boxes below

If you are an existing Ongo Homes tenant you may be eligible to buy your flat through:

  • Right to Buy – If you are a permanent Ongo Homes tenant with a secure tenancy, you may have the Preserved Right to Buy. Those eligible for this scheme are usually tenants who held a tenancy with North Lincolnshire Council and  then transferred to Ongo Homes (was North Lincolnshire Homes) in February 2007. Further eligibility checks required.
  • Right to Acquire – if you are a permanent Ongo Homes tenant with an assured tenancy, you may be eligible for the Right to Acquire scheme. You need to have been a tenant with us for at least three years. Those eligible for this scheme are usually a tenant who started tenancy with Ongo Homes (was North Lincolnshire Homes) following the transfer of the housing stock from North Lincolnshire Council in February 2007. Further eligibility checks required.
    If you are eligible you will be entitled to a discount which will be variable depending on whether it is a Right to Buy or Right to Acquire and how long you have lived there. Please remember, buying a lease for a flat is not the same as buying a house. When buying a flat, you are only buying the right to occupy your home for a set period. Also certain properties and areas are excluded from the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire schemes.
    Please contact the Home Ownership Team for more information.
  • Buying a leasehold property on the open market –  If you bought your flat or are thinking of buying a flat on the open market, the seller will transfer the rights and responsibilities to you under the lease for the rest of its term.
    This is called an assignment of the lease and is the legal transfer of the ownership of the property from one person to another. It is highly recommended that you fully understand the terms of the lease of the property you are looking to buy.

Under the terms of your lease your rights and responsibilities as a leaseholder are to:

• Pay your apportioned share of service charges, which includes communal services such as electricity, repairs,
cleaning, buildings insurance and grounds maintenance.
• Not to make structural alterations or additions to the property without first seeking written permission from Ongo Homes.
• Tell us as the landlord of any transfer of ownership or mortgage, or if you decide to sub-let.
• Keep the property in good repair.
• Comply with all terms and regulations set out in the lease.
• Not cause any nuisance, annoyance or disturbance to residents or cause damage to any part of the building.
You have the right to information regarding your service charges and the money spent on the communal block within which your flat is situated.
You also have the right to be consulted on expensive works and long term contracts that will affect your communal block.

Ongo Homes are the freeholder of the block which means we own the building. Under the terms of the lease, it is our responsibility to look after the main structure, exterior and any communal areas.

Our responsibilities are to:
• Keep the structure, exterior and communal areas of the block including drains and external pipes in good repair.
• Insure the building structure.
• Manage the communal block in a proper and reasonable manner.
• Provide information readily to leaseholders regarding their service charges including itemised statements of service
• Consult with leaseholders before carrying out any major works.

We also have the right to:
• Enter the property to keep the building in good repair, carry out improvements or to inspect (having given prior notice, unless in an emergency).

Service charges are invoiced annually and cover the yearly running costs of the communal block in which your property is situated.

Every leaseholder has to pay their apportioned share of the services they are provided with that are specified in your lease.

You do not pay anything towards services provided solely for tenants who are renting their properties within the communal block.

Depending on the type of property you own, your service charges will cover:

• Lighting and cleaning of communal areas
• Door entry systems
• Caretaking
• Day to day repairs
• Grounds maintenance
• Maintenance of boundary walls or fences
• Management costs
• Buildings insurance
• Caretaking

The above are only a summary, if you would like to know exactly what your service charges cover, then please get in touch.

Service charge estimates are invoiced annually.

Your lease may state certain payment terms, however as the freeholder we allow leaseholders to pay in a variety of ways:

• Direct Debit
• Standing Order
• Cash/Cheque at our Head Office or Cole Street Branch.

If you have any difficulty in paying your service charges, Ongo Homes will work closely with you to support and assist you in creating a re-payment plan.

After the estimated service charge financial year has finished, we collect the actual costs of what was actually spent during that period. If less has been spent than what was invoiced in your estimate, then we will credit the difference to
your service charge account. Likewise, if the year actually cost more than was estimated we will invoice you the difference. You will be notified in writing of your actual service charge with either a credit note* or invoice enclosed.

Actual service charges are usually completed in September every year.
*Please note: A credit note doesn’t always mean a credit on the account so cannot always be refunded.

If you feel a mistake has been made, that you are being charged unfairly or being charged for a service you are not receiving then please inform us of this first. Please provide details of what charges you do not agree with and why.
Your query will then be investigated to make sure you are being charged correctly for the services you are receiving.

First tier tribunal
If you still disagree with the charges made to your property, you have the right to apply to the First Tier Tribunal.
The First Tier Tribunal govern the practice and procedures relating to residential and leasehold property and allow leaseholders and landlords to apply to settle disputes over charges. They will ultimately decide:
• If the charges are reasonable
• If the work being charged for is of a good

A tribunal can charge up to £500 to hear your case. They may or may not decide to charge you the cost, or they may decide to charge the costs against the landlord. If you are considering this route, then seek appropriate legal advice.

Under the terms of your lease, you must pay all reasonable charges that are incurred to manage and maintain the block including any communal areas. We will always try our very best to help leaseholders who have financial difficulties so you must tell us if you are struggling to pay any charges due.

Prompt payment of your service charges and your mortgage are essential to keeping your home.

Ultimately if charges are not paid, Ongo Homes can apply to the tribunal for your lease to be forfeited and your home could be repossessed.

Ongo Homes would have to prove to the tribunal that the charges were reasonable and that no attempt
was made to pay them.

The submission of a case to the tribunal is a last resort, and not a route that we as a landlord want to
go down. So please, get in touch with us as soon as you

If you are buying your flat as an Ongo Homes tenant through the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire schemes, your service charge is fixed for the first five years from the date of the sale. This initial charge is calculated by estimating what the likely costs will be to provide the services to your block and any communal areas and also any potential major works that may be conducted.

It is payable through the same means and methods as regular annual service charges.

If by the end of the five year period the service charge has been overestimated, we will refund the difference between what it actually cost and how much you have paid.

The fixed five year service charge is only applicable to properties bought first time through Right to Buy or Right to Acquire schemes.

From time to time it will be necessary for Ongo Homes to form new contracts and carry out major repairs.

Under Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, you have a legal right to be consulted about any major repairs costing over £250 to each property within the block or any long term agreement lasting more than 12 months that will cost more than £100 each year.

If we expect a contract or piece of work to exceed these amounts we will consult you by serving the appropriate notices required by law that allow you to provide feedback, and depending on the type of contract, nominate contractors to carry out the works.

We are legally required to respond to feedback received from leaseholders and provide full details of the contract and estimated costs throughout the consultation process.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about this process.

Our responsibilities
We are responsible for the repair and upkeep of the structure, exterior and communal areas of the block that your property forms part of.

These normally include:
• Exterior walls
• The roof
• Foundations
• Chimneys
• Rainwater and soil pipes
• Sewers and drains
• Gas, water and electricity pipes leading up
to the flat
• External decoration
• Communal redecoration
• Communal gardens, paths, walls and fences
• Communal grounds and parking areas
• Communal lighting/electricity.

If you notice that a repair is necessary within your block, please contact us on 01724 279900.

Your responsibilities
Your main repair responsibilities concern the inside of your property.
These normally include:
• Fitted units
• Floorboards
• Internal non-structural walls
• Plaster or other surface materials on
interior walls and ceilings
• Internal doors and frames
• Toilets, baths and showers
• Radiators, cisterns, tanks, boilers and
pipes within the flat
• Gas, water and electricity installations
within the property
• Fixtures, fittings, and internal decorations
• Responsibility for any leaks or burst pipes,
including damage caused to other
properties as a consequence
• Property front door and frame.

It is your responsibility to maintain your boiler. Ongo Homes offer Gas Service packages. Contact us for more details.

We are responsible for arranging building insurance for leasehold properties. This covers the cost of rebuilding or reinstating the building in the event of it being destroyed. This service forms part of your annual service charge, please do not take your own buildings insurance alongside this.

The buildings insurance does not cover the contents of your home, you are responsible for taking out your own contents insurance.

From time to time we will look to find the very best deal for buildings insurance cover for our properties. You will be notified as soon as any changes are due to be made.

If you have purchased your flat through Right to Buy or Right to Acquire and wish to sell within your first five years, you will be required under the terms of your lease to repay a certain percentage of your discount.

Please contact us if you are looking to sell your property within this period and we will let you know how much you would be required to pay back.

If you are outside of this five year period or you bought your property on the open market and are now looking to sell, your solicitors will need to get in touch with us.

Please get in touch with us if you are looking to sell your leasehold property. We will then be able to compile the information required and ensure it is a swift and efficient process.

If you wish to sub-let your property, you need to inform us and provide the following additional information:

• Contact details of the tenant living in your property including their name and a contact telephone number
• A copy of the tenancy agreement between you and your tenant
• Your correspondence address
• Details of any managing agents acting on your behalf

Please note: If you are intending to sub-let your property, you are taking on important responsibilities as a landlord for the property. We would strongly recommend you seek legal advice before sub-letting your property to fully understand your legal obligations.

Leaseholders have the right, as a group, to request to purchase the freehold of the building their property forms part of. This is called Collective Enfranchisement.

Several conditions have to be met in order to be eligible including:

• The block must contain two or more flats
• At least 75% of the leaseholders must want to buy the freehold
• The qualifying leaseholders must have held their lease for at least two years with a remaining term of more than 21 years

Even if the above conditions are met, the law surrounding Collective Enfranchisement is very complex. If you were to successfully apply for Collective Enfranchisement you would be expected to take on a whole range of responsibilities and therefore, you should seek legal advice and guidance throughout the whole process.

Where a group of leaseholders meet the qualifying criteria for collective enfranchisement, but do not wish to purchase the freehold, they are entitled to set up their own management company and to exercise their Right to Manage.

This right empowers leaseholders to take responsibility for the management of their block and Ongo retains the ownership of the freehold. Ongo would also retain the right to become a member of the management company.

Any application for Right to Manage will be dealt with on an individual basis and in accordance with all relevant legislation.

Further information and guidance on Right to Manage can be found on the Leasehold Advisory Service website here.

Our promise 

We are committed to working in partnership with our leaseholders, because together we can achieve more. We aim to deliver the very best level of service to all of our leaseholders at all times.

In order to continue our commitment to our leaseholders, we always look for ways in which we can improve the services we deliver. We are always keen to hear from you with suggestions, compliments or feedback as this is the best way we can understand our service delivery and identify ways in which we can improve. You can find out how to contact us here.