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Information for leaseholders

When you buy a flat from West Lancashire Borough Council (WLBC) you buy a leasehold interest in your home. The council continues to own the freehold. 

Your lease will usually be for 125 years from the date stated in your lease. Your lease is a legal document between you and WLBC and sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

This guidance is not a legal document and leaseholders should consult a solicitor or other legal expert regarding the terms and the legal meaning of the terms of the lease. The Leasehold Advisory Service (external link) is also a useful source of independent advice.

Leaseholders can get involved in the West Lancashire leaseholder working group. The group represents all leaseholders' interests and ensures that our housing services are continually improved and offer good value for money.

Leaseholder responsibilities

In entering into a lease, you (the leaseholder) agree to undertake certain obligations, these are set out in your lease. You can find further information about these on the your responsibilities as a leaseholder page. 

Leaseholder rights

Under the Leasehold and Commonhold Act 2002 leaseholders also have the following rights:

The right to be consulted about planned works and long term agreements

For planned works and cyclical maintenance contracts where the value of works exceeds £250, a staged procedure must be adopted that:

  • Notifies leaseholders of the council’s intention to carry out the works and gives leaseholders a right to nominate a scheme contractor unless a public notice (European advertisement) is issued
  • Notifies leaseholders of the results of the quotation or tendering process, including
    estimates for the cost of the work
  • Consults with the leaseholder on the choice of contractor

The council has a three stage procedure that notifies the leaseholder of its intention to enter into a long term (more than 12 months) contract with contractors - for things such as repairs, maintenance of communal areas, lifts, fire equipment and also insurance where the charge cost is more than £100 during the year. The leaseholders must be notified of the council’s intention to enter into the contract, the tenders received and that a contractor has been chosen.

The undertaking of repairs

Leaseholders will be given 30-days notice of repairs that are to be carried out on their homes under a long term contract as described above, where a leaseholder’s contribution is greater than £250. (For urgent work, however, the council does have the right to enter your property to undertake repairs without notice).

The right to information about insurance

You may ask the council for a summary of its building insurance cover and you may inspect its building insurance policy and other relevant documents upon request.

The right to extend the lease

You have the right (if you have held your lease for more than two years) to buy a new lease for your home subject to the maximum term.

The right to buy the freehold of your building (enfranchisement)

You and your neighbours may be able to purchase the freehold of your block (or clearly defined and separate part) if you satisfy certain conditions as stated in the Leasehold Reform Act 1967. The purchase price would be agreed with the council or set by the Leaseholder Valuation Tribunal if agreement is not possible.

Right to sublet

You have the right to sublet your property for residential purposes, subject to the agreement of your mortgage lender, provision of adequate liability insurance and the completion of relevant safety checks.

If you wish to sublet your property you must inform us. By subletting your property, you become a landlord and there are many regulations which you must adhere to for the protection of your tenants. We strongly recommend you have independent legal advice if you are formally subletting.

Selling your lease

At some point in the future you may wish to move on and sell your lease. We recommend that you instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf. It is very important that your solicitor sends formal notice to us to confirm the sale has taken place. Without this we will continue to charge you for service charges. It is your responsibility to make sure all service charges and other charges attached to the property are up to date before putting it up for sale.