Leaseholders - rights and responsibilities

When you buy a flat or maisonette from us through the Right to Buy scheme, you become a leaseholder. This means you own the property for a fixed number of years, after which the ownership transfers back to the council, as the freeholder.

It is very important that you understand the terms of your lease, including your rights and responsibilities. You should get independent legal adviceExternal link if you are unsure.

The council’s responsibilities

The building the flat is in is still owned by us, and we are responsible for:

  • organising and making routine and major improvement works to the external structure of your flat and any communal areas
  • providing services to the block, including cleaning of communal areas and windows
  • painting communal areas
  • dealing with antisocial behaviour
  • insuring the building your flat is in – this does not cover the contents in your home
  • making some repairs to the building

Find out how to report problems in communal areas.

Costs you are responsible for

As well as any mortgage costs, leaseholders are responsible for paying:

  • costs to run their home, including electric, gas, water and council tax bills
  • home contents insurance
  • the cost for any internal repairs, and replacement of fixtures and fittings (for example new kitchens or bathrooms)
  • an annual service charge for the running costs of the building
  • a share of the cost of any major repair or improvement works to the building, including re-roofing, new gutters, and replacement of lifts
  • the cost of maintenance and repair to communal heating systems, if your block has one

Major repair or improvement works may cost several thousand pounds - as a leaseholder, you may be required to pay a significant amount towards any work the council decides is necessary.

Find out how to make payments or contact us about charges.

Alterations and improvements

You must request written permission before making some alterations and improvements to your property.

Selling, subletting or mortgaging your property

As a leaseholder, you have the right to sell, sublet or mortgage your flat. However, these rights are subject to certain conditions. Email for a copy of the Leaseholder guide.

If you are thinking about selling, sub-letting or mortgaging your ex-council property, please email us at, or contact the Home Ownership team on 0113 378 5693 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

Extending your lease

The length of the lease for properties purchased under the Right to Buy scheme is usually 125 years. This starts from the date the first property within a block was sold, meaning that anyone buying a flat at a later date will have a shorter period on their lease.

Leaseholders who have owned their flat for over two years may be entitled to purchase a statutory extension to their lease. You are responsible for all costs, including any professional advice you may need to make your application and our costs in dealing with your request.

To start the application process, you will have to serve a formal notice on the council. This must comply with the statutory requirements. You will also be responsible for getting a valuation of the price for the lease extension. We recommend you use a solicitor to prepare your application and notice, and a surveyor to estimate the price you will pay for the extension.

We cannot provide you with further advice about extending your lease. Please use the guidance from the national Leasehold Advisory Service. We also recommend you seek legal advice from a solicitor.

Once your notice is prepared, you or your solicitor should post it to:


Leeds City Council, Legal Services, Property and Development, Civic Hall, LS1 1UR.


You are responsible for insuring the contents of your home. You do not need to take out building insurance, as your property is covered by the council’s building insurance policy. Email for a copy of the policy.

If the internal structure of your property is damaged as a result of specific incidents, such as fire, water leaks or building subsidence, you can make a claim against our building insurance policy by contacting our insurer on 0161 823 1912. You will need to quote the policy reference 3148150f.

Changes to your contact details

You must let us know if your contact details change so that we can update our records. Contact us on 0113 378 5693 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

Use this form to give us your comments. Do not use it to give us personal information - please contact us if you need to get in touch.