When you buy a leasehold property from THCH you become a leaseholder
THCH leasehold properties are sold on long leases which are usually for a period 125 years. THCH usually retain the freehold of all properties.
About the lease
Your lease is a legal document – Each lease varies and as THCH have used many different leases since 1980 we are unable to publish specific details of your own lease.
Your lease sets out you own particular arrangement with THCH. We are happy to provide guidance on interpreting your lease. You may also want to seek legal advice. The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) also provides independent advice on Leasehold matters and can be contacted via www.lease-advice.org/advice
If you require a copy of your lease please contact the customer support team at email@example.com or 0207 7803070
Generally, THCH are responsible for the main structure of the building, communal areas and services provided to your building or estate.
Depending on your lease, this can include:
- The window frames
- The lifts
- Loft Spaces
- Door-entry systems
- Grounds maintenance
- Estate lighting
- Block lighting
- Block insurance
Your responsibilities as a leaseholder are set out in your lease
The leaseholder is usually responsible for:
- Maintenance of everything within the property or only serving the property
- Contents Insurance
- Paying Service Charge and other charges set out in the lease
- The behaviour of other members of the household and any visitors
- Obtaining permission to sublet
- Obtaining permission before carrying out works/alterations
Request a copy of your lease
If you are a leaseholder of a property where we still own the freehold, we can provide you with a copy of your lease.
There is a fee of £20 plus Vat (Email) /£40 plus Vat (Hard Copy) for this service.
You will need
- Leaseholder details
- Leaseholder identification and signed authorisation (if applicable)
- Credit or debit card to make payment
Receiving the lease
You can opt to have the lease posted to you or emailed.
If you want to receive the lease by post, and the delivery address is not the leaseholder’s address, then you will need to supply signed letter of authorisation and identification from the leaseholder.
You can supply this to us by email or post after you have submitted the form.
We will not send out the copy of the lease until we have received this.
If you want to receive the lease by email we will do so.
What happens next
We aim to provide a copy of a lease within three working days of receiving the request form and payment.
If you are receiving copy of the lease for the leaseholder, we will not release the copy until we have received signed authorisation from the leaseholder.
Your lease will stipulate in which cases you are required to get permission from THCH before carrying out alterations to the property
Examples of such work include:
- replacing windows or external doors
- installation of central heating
- removing or building walls or chimney breasts
- laying a driveway
- building a conservatory
- replacement of kitchen or bathroom
Please refer to our Alterations guidance leaflet for more information - it can be found here:
As well as getting our permission you may also need to get any relevant building control approval and planning permission. If you make any improvements or alterations without first obtaining written permission you will be breaking the terms of your lease. In cases where permission has not been granted or works have not been carried out to suitable standards, THCH have the right to reinstate the property to its original condition at the expense of the leaseholder.
To apply for permission for alterations please complete the attached:
The form is to be completed by Tower Hamlets Community Housing residents only. Any questions about future alterations to a property from prospective buyers will need to go through solicitors.
The lease will usually determine that THCH, as freeholder, will insure the building structure. Your service charge will include the insurance costs relating to your property. Details of the insurance cover is available on request.
The policy certificate is available here:
You must let us know if there are any alterations made to your property because this may affect any claim. Please let us know if:
- you no longer live in the property (subletting requires formal permission)
- the property will be empty for more than 30 days in a row
- you are carrying out internal alterations (permission required)
- you have carried out any external additions with permission (eg) Conservatory
Please note that the insurance included with your service charges or without only covers the structure of the building, including fixtures and fittings. You must make your own arrangements to protect the contents of your flat and personal possessions. If you wish to make a claim under the buildings insurance, you should in the first instance contact our insurer JLT at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 0345 266 9660.
When selling your leasehold property you can obtain a standard leasehold information pack from us. The pack contains relevant information about your property and the service charges that are payable. An administration fee will need to be apid for the pack.
All service charges, major works and outstanding monies must be paid prior to completion of sale.
Notifying us of your sale
It is advisable to inform us of your sale and to provide us with the name of the solicitors acting on behalf of the purchaser. This will enable us to chase for the appropriate legal documentation if required.
Only when we receive a notice of assignment from the purchaser's solicitors, can we change our records of ownership.
Right of first refusal
If you bought your flat prior to 18 January 2005, you do not need our permission to sell your flat.
However, if your flat was bought on or after 18 January 2005, you are required to offer it for sale back to the Council or another Registered Provider in the first instance. This a requirement of the Housing Act 2004.
Service charges Service charges are charges to Leaseholders payable to the Landlord in return for services provided under the terms of each individual lease.
These can include:
• Day to day maintenance and repairs of communal areas
• Communal lighting – electricity and repairs
• Cleaning of common areas
• Grounds maintenance
• Reserve/Sinking fund – A fund to help with future large items of expenditure
• Costs of Management THCH have made a commitment to
• Comply with legislation with regards Service Charges
• Issue estimated service charge information and demands in accordance with each lease.
• Issue a Statement of Account within 6 months of the end of the year.
• Service charges will be passed on to leaseholders within 18 months of the charge becoming incurred/ due
I live on the ground floor so why should I pay towards the lift costs?
The obligation to pay towards the upkeep of facilities is related to the right to use those facilities. You have a right to use the lift whether you need to use it or not. A THCH lease and tenancy agreement provide for all lift costs to be met by all residents (tenants and leaseholders) to cover a proportion of all communal costs.
So what? I never need it.
Unfortunately, the lift is classed as communal service. These are payable by all residents of a building, regardless of whether or not you use the service. This would also apply to other communal facilities, such as a garden.
From time to time we will need to carry out major works to the building or estate that your leasehold property is in Your lease will establish if you are liable contribute towards the costs of such work. If major works are required and you are liable to pay for them, THCH are obliged to carry out formal consultation with you. This will allow you to feedback on the works and, if appropriate, nominate a contractor. This consultation process is commonly referred to as Section 20 consultation.
Examples of major works include:
- repairs to or replacement of the roof, windows or communal areas
- external decorating
- painting of internal communal areas
- roof works
Ground rent is a specific requirement of the lease and must be paid on the due date. It is not an element of the Service Charge
Subletting my Leasehold Property
Your lease sets your rights in terms of subletting and what is required to enable you to do so.
Please note - Shared Ownership leases DO NOT allow subletting
Why do I need to register a Sublet?
- Leases usually require you to do so
- THCH have Health and Safety responsibilities and information on who is living in each property and under what terms is very important
- When a property is sublet there are implications in terms of Insurance
- A robust approach on subletting allows THCH to communicate more effectively with customers who do not live in their properties
How do I register my sublet?
We ask that Leaseholders wanting to sublet complete a:
A completed form should be sent to email@example.com or Customer Support Team, THCH, 285 Commercial Road, London, E1 2PS
Deed of Covenant Leaseholders are required to provide a Deed of Covenant between THCH and the tenant to ensure that all lease terms are complied with. The fee for registering the sublet and for the drafting of the deed of Covenant is currently £125.00 plus Vat. Completed Subletting Registration Forms should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or Customer Support Team, THCH, 285 Commercial Road, London, E1 2PS.
Applications should enclose payment for the Registration Fee and a Deed of Covenant signed by the tenant.
- Any breach of lease by the sub-tenant will result in enforcement action against the leaseholder
- Leaseholders remain responsible for all payments relating to the property.
- Leaseholders must seek independent advice on managing gas safety, electrical appliances, fire protection and any other related safety matters
- Leaseholders are encouraged to register every sublet should there be a change of tenant as this allows more effective management of the property
- Leaseholders should inform any relevant mortgage lender of subletting to ensure that it complies with mortgage terms.
- Leaseholders must inform THCH if their property is uninhabited for periods of more than 30 days as there are insurance implications in such circumstances.
- A fee may be chargeable as set out in the terms of the lease.
- The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) is an independent advice service and may be able to help you with any queries. Click the link herefor further details.
Not sure of your legal rights as a leaseholder?
The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) can help you. Click the link here for further details.
Can’t find the answer to your question on their website? Call one of their specialist lawyers on 020 7383 9800 for free legal advice.
Private ownership of flats through the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire schemes has greatly increased the numbers of leaseholders in recent years.
However, the rights and responsibilities of leasehold ownership are often complicated and confusing.
We recommend our leaseholders take full advantage of free legal guidance from LEASE. The service is government funded and can put your mind at ease.