If you buy a flat or maisonette, you will be given a long lease (125 years) that allows you and your successors to live in it for that time, as Leaseholder.

The block within which your building sits will still be owned by the Council who, as Freeholder, will be responsible for maintaining the fabric of the building itself and the communal areas inside and outside, as well as any shared facilities. The inside of your property will be your responsibility to maintain.

The Council will every year charge you a proportion of the costs of the work it carries out to communal areas or shared facilities, and this is called a Service Charge.

Service Charges:

There are two kinds of maintenance service charges: day-to-day repairs and maintenance costs, and major works costs when refurbishment, replacement or improvement work is necessary to your block or surrounding area (for example a new roof or new bin stores).

Other service charges which you may be required to contribute towards include grounds maintenance, building insurance, communal lighting, estate cleaning, security, water tank cleaning and chlorination, future liabilities and a management fee.

Depending on when their freehold was purchased, certain freeholders are also required to contribute towards the costs of repair and maintenance of shared communal areas on an estate, for example pathways, play areas and gardens.