Leasehold Services Section:
- Provides advice and guidance to leaseholders and anyone interested in buying a leasehold flat where the Council owns the Freehold.
- Co-ordinates the calculation of service charges for leasehold properties.
For further information on Leasehold Services please contact Leasehold Services on 01543 462621 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Leaseholders live in flats where they own the leasehold of the flat but the freehold of the block belongs to Cannock Chase Council. When you buy a leasehold flat you sign a contract called a lease. The lease explains your rights and responsibilities and the rights and responsibilities of your landlord. You are the leaseholder and Cannock Chase Council is the landlord. Not all leases are the same. Your own lease will give you details that apply to you and your home.
The Council has published a leaseholder handbook which provides information on the following
- Your lease - rights and responsibilities
- Repairs and improvements
- Service charge cycle
- Selling or letting out your flat
- Collective enfranchisement (buying the freehold)
- Extending your lease
- Service standards
- Disputes, disagreements and complaints
- Useful contacts
You should, however, remember that the handbook is only a guide. It is not meant to give a full interpretation of your lease or the law. If you require specific information about your own particular situation, we recommend that you seek independent legal advice.
Please see below:
Under the terms of your lease you are required to pay a service charge. Your service charge is the money you pay towards the day-to-day running costs of the block in which your flat is situated aswell as your share of any major repairs/improvements. We also charge management and administration costs. This charge reflects the cost of managing and administering the services we provide, raising service charge bills, etc.
We also arrange buildings insurance on your behalf. The cost of this is included in your annual service charge. To keep your insurance valid you need to let us know of any changes to your property that might affect your policy, eg. you let your home to tenants. You may not be able to claim on your insurance if we are not told about these changes as they happen. Please remember that it is your responsibility to arrange contents insurance cover (ie. your own possessions).
Every year in April - at the start of our financial year, we will send you an invoice for the estimated service charge and ground rent for the year ahead. (The ground rent is the money you pay to Cannock Chase Council for your right to occupy the land as the leaseholder of the building). Details as to how to make payments will accompany the invoice.
Cannock Chase Council must tell you if they want to do major work that is likely to cost more than £1,000 per block”, “or if the amount any one leaseholder will have to pay towards qualifying work is more than £250”
The service charge year ends on 31 March. Cannock Chase Council will send you a statement showing what it has spent on your property each September. If the Council has spent more on your property than it had estimated you will be sent an invoice for the difference, if it has spent less, you will be sent a refund unless you are in the reference period (the first five years from when the lease was first purchased) in which case the account will not be settled until the end of the five year period. If you think your service charge is unreasonable please let us know and we will check the charges. If we have made a mistake we will put it right. If the charge is correct we will explain why.
Repairs and Maintenance for Leaseholders
Cannock Chase Council is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the structure, the exterior and communal areas of your block.
- Structural walls
- Guttering and roofs
- External decorations
- Window frames (but not the glass)
- Communal grounds
- Drying areas
- External doors - this includes front doors to flats
- Drains, within the curtilage of the property
- Communal doors
- Communal stairways
- Door entry system, if fitted
- Shared Waste and soil pipes
- Communal lighting
The Council also owns and maintains the following:
- The pipes supplying the mains water from the relevant water company's stopcock in individual flats
- Gas pipes within the block, up to but not including the gas meter
- Wiring for any communal TV aerial within the block, up to and including the aerial socket.
How to report a repair
There are several ways to report a repair.
- By phone on 01543 462621 - Monday to Friday 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
- In person - at the housing office or at the Hawks Green depot
- By letter - send written details of your repair problem to the Housing Maintenance Manager
- To any Housing Officer (when they call)
- By email - Housingrepairs@cannockchasedc.gov.uk
When you are reporting a repair, please make sure that you include your unique property reference, the address at which the repair is needed, access arrangements and a contact phone number.
If an emergency occurs and you need to call us outside of normal office hours, please ring 01543 462621.
When you report a repair it will be given one of the following priorities.
Priority 1 - Emergency repairs (same day)
Priority 2 - Urgent repairs (within three working days)
Priority 3 - Essential repairs (within five working days)
Priority 4 - Routine repairs (within 38 days)
Wherever possible we will try to offer an appointment for your repair work to be undertaken or inspected. We can offer four appointment slots:
- All day or
- Between school run
The repairs appointment system will give a choice of dates when an employee with the required skill is available within the priority deadline. If for some unexpected reason we find we cannot keep our appointment with you, we will contact you and give you the next alternative appointment date that is convenient to you.
If you find for some reason you cannot make your appointment, please contact the Repairs Reporting Centre on 01543 456816 as soon as possible to rearrange it. We would much rather you call us, even if it is just before we send an employee out to your home, than not at all.
External Works Programme for Leaseholders
This is a survey orientated repair programme which may include:
- External/communal redecoration
- Rainwater pipes and gutter replacements
- Repointing brickwork
- Roof repairs
- Chimney repairs
We will tell you in writing in early April if your property is one included in the external works programme for that year, giving details of the proposed work and the estimated cost.
Permission to carry out your own improvements
You can redecorate internally in your flat without permission but you must not carry out any alterations without written permission.
Some examples of when you would need our permission would be:
- Renewal of front doors
- Removing walls
- Installation of new windows
- Satellite dish
- Changing the internal structure/layout of the flat
- Roofspace - you have no right to carry out any repairs or improvements within the roofspace and you have no right of entry into the roofspace without permission.
To obtain the necessary permission to carry out any type of improvement you need to contact us (in writing). You should include as much detail as possible. If you do not obtain our permission your buildings insurance cover may be invalid.
Leaseholders living in flats
If you live in a flat, you will live closer to your neighbours than other people in houses and you may share communal areas. Living so close together means that you must show consideration to your neighbours concerning noise, cleaning and using the entry phone system.
Noise travels easily between flats and you can annoy neighbours without realising it, so please keep your radio, stereo and television down to a reasonable level, especially late at night. Children playing on the communal areas can also have a serious effect on a large number of people and spoil the enjoyment of their home.
In blocks of flats with communal entrances, we are responsible for looking after the communal lighting, redecorating and maintenance of the communal areas (although we recover the cost of doing so through the service charge) but, residents are jointly responsible for cleaning the stairs, landings, foyers, etc.
Please use the bin facilities provided. If you have any bulky items to dispose of you should contact us on 01543 462621 to arrange collection. (Please note there is a charge for this service). Items such as old furniture should not be dumped next to bin stores or in the inner communal areas of the block under any circumstances.
Door Entry System
If your block is equipped with a door entry system so you can control who enters the block, do not let anyone in unless they are visiting you and you know why they have called. It is important that you co not prop communal doors open.
Selling your flat
If you want to sell your property there are some things you will need to know:
The Council will charge Solicitors for any enquiries they make about the proposed sale. All enquiries require the collation of information from a variety of departments which may in some cases cause delays.
Repayment of discount
If you bought your home under the Right to Buy, you can sell it whenever you like but if you wish to sell within the discount repayment period you will usually have to repay some or all of the discount. The amount you repay will depend on when you made your application to buy.
If you applied for the Right to Buy on 18 January 2005 onwards and sell within 5 years of buying your home, you will have to repay some or all of the original discount as follows:
Year 1 - whole discount
Year 2 - four-fifths repayable
Year 3 - three-fifths repayable
Year 4 - two-fifths repayable
Year 5 - one-fifth repayable
In addition, the amount of discount to be repaid if you sell within 5 years of purchase will be a percentage of the resale value of the property, disregarding the value of any improvements.
Certain sales or transfers are exempt from the requirement to repay discount, eg. transfers between certain family members. In addition, if you would face hardship by having to repay discount, we may decide not to ask you to pay some or all of what you owe.
If in advance of your purchase, or within the discount repayment period, you enter into an agreement to transfer your property to a third party in the future, then this will trigger repayment of your discount. (Discount repayment is triggered from the date that you enter into the agreement. So, for example, if you enter into such an agreement before you have bought the property or during the first year after buying it, you will have to repay the full amount of the discount you received).
Right of first refusal
If you purchased your home under the Right to Buy scheme and you wish to resell or dispose of it within 10 years, you will be required to offer it to back to your landlord or to another social landlord in your area at full market value. If your offer is not accepted within 8 weeks, you will be free to sell the property on the open market.
When you sell your property, your solicitor should make an arrangement with the buyer's solicitor over any outstanding service charge or any refund of service charge that might be due to you. This often involves a fairly complicated calculation that your conveyancer should do for you. It may mean that when you sell you will have to accept a small reduction in the amount you receive if it is plain that the buyer may have to pay additional service charge in the future or it may mean that the buyer will have to pay you an additional amount if it is clear that the charges already paid will relate to the time after you sell the flat. Apportionments are part of the private deal for the sale and purchase of a flat. The Council will not calculate how much should be apportioned to each party and will not collect arrears or pay refunds to persons who are not leaseholders at the time of the collection/refund.
If you have been advised of major works that will affect your flat, you must ensure that this information is passed to your purchaser via their solicitor. If you have not received the invoice for the work when you sell your flat, it is essential that your purchaser is advised of their future liability towards these costs.
It is the responsibility of your purchaser's solicitor to make sure the Council receives a copy of the Notice of Assignment.
The Council has no objection to you subletting your flat, however, there are some points you should consider:
- You should seek the consent of your bank or building society as it may be a condition of your mortgage that you are living in the property.
- You should also tell the Council that you are subletting so that they can tell the insurance company to prevent any claim you make being nullified.
- You should seek the advice of your contents insurer - to make sure that any claim you may make isn't null and void.
- You are responsible for paying the service charges. You must therefore always tell the Council of the address to which it should send the invoices. If the bills are not paid, proceedings will be taken against you and not the occupiers.
- You are responsible for your sub-tenant and the Council will contact you or your managing agent if any problems arise from their behaviour.
- The restrictive covenants will still apply while you are not living at the property and should there be a breach, the Council will seek remedy from you not your sub-tenant.
- You will need to tell the Council's Insurance Manager if your property is to be vacant for any length of time.
- You will need to ensure that all gas and electrical safety standards are met
You will also need to complete a Sub-let Registration Form and ensure that your contact details are kept up-to-date at all times.
Please see Sub-let Registration Form below:
What to do if you have financial problems
If you are experiencing problems in paying your service charge bill, please contact our Accounts Receivable Section on 01543 462621 to discuss the problems and agree a payment plan.
If you do not pay your service charges you are breaking the terms of your lease and the Council could (in extreme cases) apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) or the Court for forfeiture of the lease. This is very serious as you would not only lose your home but also any equity you had built up in it.
If you become unemployed or your income reduces substantially, you should immediately contact your local office of the Department for Work and Pensions or seek help from the Citizens Advice Bureau as you might be entitled to receive help with your mortgage payments.
You may also be entitled to help if you are aged over 60 - please contact the Department for Work and Pensions for further information.
If you need more advice on dealing with your debts, you can phone:
The National Debtline on 0808 808 4000.
Alternatively, for advice based on your own circumstances, please call:
The Money Advice Line on 0300 500 5000.
Household building insurance provides financial protection against unpredictable risks. The insurance pays for the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home if it is damaged by unforeseen events (as detailed in the insurance policy).
We arrange building insurance cover for all leasehold properties. This is a condition of your lease which is binding on both of you and the Council and is because the Council remains responsible for the upkeep, repair and maintenance of the structure and communal areas. The terms and conditions the Council has agreed with the insurance company is similar to any comprehensive insurance cover and provides value for money for leaseholders. You do not need separate cover with your lender.
Building insurance certificates are sent to all leaseholders at the beginning of each financial year and to all new leaseholders once the purchase details have been confirmed.
Your buildings insurance policy is with Protector Insurance (Policy number: 287001) and is renewed on 1st May each year. The policy covers the structure of the flats situated within the building, constructed of brick, stone or concrete and the leaseholder’s liability for any common or structural parts of the building such as roofs and foundations that are damaged due to insured perils.
The policy also covers the internal decorations and fixtures and fittings within the flats and building and any domestic outbuildings and garages, drives, patios and terraces, walls and gates owned by the leaseholder or for which the leaseholder is legally responsible.
The policy does not cover damage to contents, and we strongly recommend you arrange insurance cover to protect your contents.
The Policy provides indemnity to leaseholders against the following events:
• Fire, Explosion, Lightning, Earthquake
• Riot civil commotion
• Malicious Damage
• Storm or Flood
• Escape of water
• Falling Trees
• Theft of or to Buildings
• Leakage of oil
• Collapse of aerials
• Accidental breakage of fixed glass and double glazing (including the cost of replacement frames) in doors or windows, ceramic hobs, sanitary ware and solar heating panels fixed to and forming part of the building.
• Accidental damage to domestic oil pipes, underground water supply pipes, underground gas pipes, underground electricity, telephone cables, sewers and drains and underground tanks.
• Legal Liability as Property Owners - £2,000,000 plus costs and expenses
• Loss of Rent and Alternative Accommodation – 20% of the Sum Insured
• Architects surveyors and legal fees
• Removal of debris
• Additional costs incurred to comply with government or local authority requirements
• Legal Fees following occupation by squatters - £10,000 in the aggregate
The policy does not cover the cost of repairing or replacing items due to wear and tear.
For information about the policy please refer to the Leaseholder Policy summary document.
If you let your property you need to know that the policy excludes malicious damage to your property caused by your tenants and any damage as a direct result of negligent behaviour by your tenants. You may want to think about getting a ‘landlord’s policy’ with an independent provider to cover you against potential losses.
If your property remains unoccupied for 30 consecutive days or more, additional conditions and exclusions also apply which are set out below:
a) the Premises are secured against illegal entry by closing and locking all windows and doors and setting any fire or intruder alarm systems;
b) all mains services are disconnected except for the electricity supply to maintain any fire or intruder alarm;
c) all water pipes and tanks are drained down;
d) all letterboxes are sealed to prevent insertion of any materials or liquids;
e) the Premises are kept clear of all moveable combustible material;
f) the Insured or authorised employee of the Insured’s appointed agent shall inspect the premises in accordance with the timescale agreed with the Insurer and a record of these inspections are kept for inspection by the Insurer;
g) any defects in maintenance or security shall be rectified immediately.
If your property is unoccupied for more than 30 days, please inform Cannock Chase Council on 01543 464336
Please also inform the Council when the property is occupied again.
Payment and premium
The annual building insurance premium applies from 1st May to 30th April every year as opposed to calendar year. You pay your Insurance Premiums with your normal annual service charges, which will be billed by the Council.
Under the policy, your property is given an 'insured value' which is the cost of rebuilding your home. The rebuilding value is different from the actual value of your home if you were to sell it. We adjust the insured value every year in line with changes made in the house rebuilding cost index.
The Council may also carry out periodic revaluations through an independent valuer.
Please note it’s the leaseholder’s responsibility to ensure that the Council has the correct insurance valuation for the property particular where the property has a mortgage on it.
Increasing building insurance cover
Your mortgage lender may ask you to increase the buildings insurance cover when you buy a leasehold property or if you are re-mortgaging. You will need to provide evidence of this so that our records can be updated, and information forwarded on to Protector Insurance.
If you need to make a claim, please contact Protector by telephone 0161 274 9077, email email@example.com or online www.protectorinsurance.co.uk
Claims must be notified as soon as possible even if the cause of damage has not been resolved. In emergencies, Protector can arrange emergency repairs and, if your property becomes uninhabitable, arrange alternative accommodation.
You must not carry out any repairs without first getting consent from Protector; this includes emergencies. Claims will typically be rejected if they are not made within a reasonable period or if works were carried out without approval.
There is a £100 excess for each building insurance claim except for subsidence, landslip and heave where a £1,000 excess applies.
Last Updated: 18/10/2022