Information for Leaseholders

Our specialist leasehold management team provides a service to approximately 2500 leasehold properties. Your lease explains the roles and responsibilities of us, as the freehold/head landlord, and you, as leaseholder. Your rights are protected by law and we ensure that there is no breach of the law when providing the leasehold management service and when supplying information about your rights. The following section provides information on some frequently asked questions.

Do I need to get consent before making alterations to my property?

Depending on the terms of your lease some property alterations do require consent.

As a general rule things like decorative works or renewal of fixtures and fittings are not regarded as alterations provided these do not affect the structure. But if you are in doubt on what would or would not require consent please give us a call.

The consent itself will always be confirmed in writing. This document is important; please keep this safe as this will be needed if you later decide to sell.

Consents for alterations will not be unreasonably withheld and applications are looked at on a case-by-case basis. We consider all applications carefully and aim to give you a decision as quickly as possible. Applications for more complicated alterations may require an inspection from one of our surveyors. Please be aware that there may be an additional charge for this service.

The Alterations Application form is available from our Customer Services team on 0300 123 3245.

Is it possible to add more years to my lease?

Where Radian is the freeholder (or where we have a long enough head lease to enable us to) it may be possible for you to buy further years to add to your lease. This is called a lease extension.

The informal process for applying for a lease extension is:

  • You let us know you would like to apply for a lease extension
  • We arrange for a RICs surveyor to value the proposed lease extension
  • You have two months from the date of the valuation to accept the terms of the offer and instruct a solicitor
  • Once the value is agreed, we instruct our solicitor who will liaise directly with yours to complete the purchase

Please note that if you would like to buy a lease extension you are liable for the value of the extension, your legal costs and the cost of our solicitor.

If you would like to get an idea of how much a lease extension could cost (less the legal fees) there is a free lease extension calculator available on the Leasehold Advisory Service website.

Or if you would like to speak to a Leasehold Officer please call our Customer Services team on 0300 123 3245.

Can I sublet my property?

If you are a Shared Owner you are not permitted, under the terms of you lease, to sublet. If you own 100% or your property you can sublet your property but your lease may state that you should get permission from the freeholder.

We will not unreasonably withhold consent to sublet and will consider each application according to the terms of your lease. When looking at an application to sublet we will also look at any planning restrictions on the block, possible effects on the property and to people living in the neighbouring flats.

If you would like to apply for consent to sublet please speak to a Leasehold Officer or call our Customer Services team on 0300 123 3245. You will need to complete a sub-letting application form and include:

  • A copy of your draft tenancy agreement*
  • Confirmation of consent from your mortgage lender to sublet
  • Details of the proposed tenant
  • Your forwarding correspondence address

*Your tenancy agreement needs to mirror the covenants and regulations in your lease.

What is a sinking fund?

A sinking fund is the name given to a long-term savings pot to cover the costs of major works required over a period of time. The works could be such things as communal area decoration, replacement roofing or windows. Homeowners within a block or estate contribute the same amount each month through their service charge payment and it avoids the need to find additional monies for large-billed items. If you sell your property the sinking fund contributions stay with the property for the next owner.

New build properties will have a sinking fund set up as a matter of course as this is prescribed in the lease. Older properties (particularly those transferred as part of stock transfers and bought under the Right to Buy) will not have a sinking fund which means that no monies have been put aside for major works and the full amount payable will be included in your end of year account bill when works have been completed.

The amount payable to a sinking fund each month is calculated from a list of the buildings component parts (such as windows, roof, lifts, pumps, communal door entry systems, fire safety systems etc.) and the approximate life expectancies for these. If you would like a review of the amount payable monthly we can arrange a residents’ meeting to discuss with all homeowners how the amount is calculated and the schedule of major works.

If you would like to speak to a Leasehold Officer about sinking funds please call our Customer Services team on 0300 123 3245.

What should I do if I have a problem paying my service charges?

We have a dedicated Leasehold team in place to help and advise you on any aspect of managing your service charge account. If an unexpected event occurs (which could lead to arrears on your account) please contact a member of the Leasehold team at the earliest opportunity, we are able to discuss options with you and agree an arrangement to pay. If you would like advice or information on any benefits which could be available we can refer you to a Welfare Benefits officer.

If you would like to speak to a Leasehold Officer about your service charge account please call our Customer Services team on 0300 123 3245.

How are service charges calculated?

Service Charge demands will be sent from the Landlord of your property. This could be Windsor Housing Association, Swaythling Housing Society Ltd, Drum Housing Association or Longwood Park, of all which are subsidiaries of Radian.

Radian manages the services and maintains the structure and communal parts of the building/estate your property is in. Under the terms of your lease you are liable to pay a fair share of running costs for the block/and or estate. In addition to the costs of services and maintenance you may be liable to pay an annual ground rent, buildings insurance, management fee and/or administration charges.

Each year we will send you details of the amount to be payable over the following 12 months, this is called an ‘estimate account’. Within six months of the financial year closing we then send you an Actual account. This shows the cost of services provided over the previous year. If you have paid more than the actual cost we will arrange a refund for you or if you have not paid enough to cover the actual cost there will be an amount outstanding.

How your contribution is calculated depends on your lease. For example if there are six flats in a block your lease may state that you contribute 1/6th of the total costs. Or another example may be in a block containing different sized properties, the owner of a two bed property is liable to pay more than the owner of a one bed property.

If you would like to speak to a Leasehold Officer about your service charge account please call our Customer Services team on 0300 123 3245.

What is ground rent?

Ground rent is a fee which is paid to the freeholder as a condition of your Lease. (Minimum ground rent payments are also sometimes called a ‘peppercorn rent’.) Ground rent is payable at the start of the financial year and you will be sent notice when this payment is due.

What is a Section 20 consultation and why do you do it?

A Section 20 consultation is a statutory requirement for us (as Landlord) to consult with you about proposed major works. Major works is the term used for repair or maintenance to your building/estate which we think may cost more than £250 per property.

There are two or three sections in a Section 20 consultation:

  1. Notice of intention: This lets you know about the proposed works and why we feel that these are necessary. It lets you know how you can give us your feedback on the works, the closing date for responses and invites you to recommend a contractor (or explains why EU law prevents this).
  2. Notice of Estimates (2nd letter): This lets you know about the bidding contractors. It details how much their estimates are and where you can inspect the tender documents. It also lets you know how you can give us your feedback and the closing date for your comments.
  3. Notice of award of contract (3rd letter where needed): If we do not choose either the lowest tender or a nominated contractor we must send you a ‘notice of award of contract’. This letter explains why the lowest priced tender/nominated contractor has not been selected. And (as with the other notices) lets you know how you can give us your feedback and the closing date for your comments.

In exceptional and urgent circumstances it may not be possible to do a full S20 consultation before we start major works. If an event were to happen that would mean we needed to start works immediately we would to apply to the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) to get formal approval for dispensation to consult. In the unlikely event this were to happen we would let you know about our request to the FTT and send you a copy of our application.

Lastly, we have sometimes in the past received comments on the notices being too long and quite legal looking (which in some cases can cause concern). Unfortunately, we are not allowed to change the wording or layout of the notices (which are prescribed in the statutory guidelines) but we do write accompanying letters to explain the process and what the notices mean.

If you would like to speak to a Leasehold Officer about Section 20 consultation or major works please call our Customer Services team on 0300 123 3245.

Related documents

For more information we have produced a Plain English guide to your lease which is designed to help you understand what is included in a standard lease.

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