House or bungalow
When buying a house or bungalow, you will purchase the freehold and own the property outright.
You will be responsible for the costs of all repairs and maintenance, regardless of the condition of the property when you bought it. Some freeholders may also have to pay service charges for the repair and maintenance of shared communal areas on an estate, for example, pathways, play areas and gardens.
Because flats are part of a larger building, when you buy a flat you usually purchase the leasehold, and we continue to own the block (the freehold). Owning the lease allows you and your successors to live in the property for a fixed period, usually 125 years.
The freeholder is responsible for the upkeep of the building as a whole and any communal areas and facilities. All leaseholders have to pay a share of the our costs for this work – known as service charges. Your share is based on the number of flats or maisonettes in the block.
Service charges can be several hundred pounds each year, or much more if the block needs major repairs or maintenance, such as a new roof or windows, and other improvements. To get a rough idea of your service charges it is worth asking an existing leaseholder from your block, or you could contact your local residents’ or leaseholders’ association.
Your service charges can be composed of different kinds of work including:
- annual charges for day- to-day maintenance and building services
- major works service charges, payable as a lump sum when large-scale repair or if refurbishment is needed. These costs could be thousands of pounds
If you decide you want to buy your flat, we must give you an estimate of any service charges payable during the first five years of your lease. We cannot charge you more than the estimated ‘major works’ service charges during the first five years of your lease, except to take account of inflation. However, the annual charge can change during the first five years.
There is no limit on charges for repairs and improvements carried out after the first five years. Remember that you will have to pay major works service charges whenever your block is repaired.
You will be responsible for keeping the inside of your home in good repair.