The information below is for leaseholders, including shared owners.
- Can I extend my lease?
You may be able to buy a new lease for 90 more years on top of the time left on your current lease if you:
- own 100% of a property and
- have held the lease for at least two years.
You can usually choose to buy the freehold if you have a house. You will be able to extend your lease for 50 more years if you don’t have that right.
You need to give us notice if you want to apply for a new lease. You will be asked to say how much you will pay for this new lease. This offer might be based on a professional valuation. You will need a solicitor to act for you in agreeing the new lease.
You will have to pay our administration and legal costs for your case from the date you tell us you want to buy a new lease. This is the case whether your application is successful or not.
More information can be found in the Government’s Guide to Your Rights and Responsibilities document, on the LEASE website or from your legal advisor. You can also contact your leasehold services officer.
- Can I change, improve or add to my home?
- Which repairs and maintenance are my responsibility?
You must keep your home in a good state of repair. You are responsible for the cost of repairs and maintenance. You might need to get our permission, depending on the type of work you want to do.
If you are in a flat or maisonette, your landlord is responsible for the building and communal areas. You are responsible for your flat. Full details are in your lease.
Please report a repair online if we are your landlord or the management agent for your building.
Please contact your management agents directly to report communal repairs if we don’t own the freehold or manage the building.
- What is a service charge?
You’ll have to pay a service charge if you buy a flat,. This charge covers the cost to us of providing communal services such as cleaning of hallways and communal gardening and the cost of managing those services.
It also covers the cost of communal lights, door entry and lift maintenance. Leaseholders also have to contribute towards the costs of maintenance, for example the fabric of the building if you own a flat.
You may also be charged a contribution to a renewals and sinking fund to pay for larger work, like renewing the roof or redecoration of the communal areas.
You will pay a monthly charge based on an estimated annual cost. We will send you information on the actual costs you’ve incurred at the end of the financial year. You will also be given a summary of the services you receive along with a notice setting out your rights and responsibilities.
If you are in receipt of housing benefit or Universal Credit, your service charge may be funded in full or in part depending on your circumstances and the services Orbit are delivering. We will inform you of any payments that you are responsible for.
You are entitled to appeal against the service charges via a Residential Property First Tier Tribunal service. However, if you have a query over your service charges you should contact the Service Charge Team first.
For advice additional advice about the tribunal process or about services charges you can also contact the Leasehold Advisory Service. This is an independent agency funded by the Government that offers initial advice and provides guidance on applying for a tribunal.
You can get more information on your service charges from the Service Charge Team. You might also be charged ground rent if you live in a flat or maisonette. You will receive an annual ground rent notice if you have to pay this charge.
For details of how to pay your charges see ‘How to pay’.
You can get more information on your ground rent from your leasehold services officer.
- Does Orbit buy back properties?
If your property was once owned under a shared ownership lease you might not be able to sell it without first asking us if we want to buy it back.
If this applies to you, it will apply for up to 21 years from the date the last shares were bought. Whether we will buy back your home will depend on our plans within your area at the time you want to sell.
You will not be able to sell your home unless we provide you with a certificate saying you’ve asked our permission. We will charge a small fee for providing this certificate.
Speak to your leasehold services officer to find out more.
- Will I have to pay an administration charge when I ask Orbit to do something?
We might ask you to pay a small administration charge to cover our costs:
- when you’ve asked for permission to change your lease or for something else that needs our official consent
- for supplying information or documentation.
This leaflet has more information on our administration charges.