Alert

Please be advised that our payment systems will be taken offline in order to perform routine maintenance.
This will take place from 10pm on Friday March 24th and will continue until the systems are available online at 7am on Saturday March 25th.
During these hours all payment systems will be taken offline. You will not be able to make any rent payments using your debit or credit card.  

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Leasehold

The information below is for leaseholders who own 100% of the leasehold. If you are a shared owner, please refer to our shared ownership guide.

What repairs and maintenance are my responsibility?

You must keep your home in a good state of repair. You are responsible for the costs of repairing and maintaining your home.

If you live in a flat or maisonette, we are responsible for the outside of the building and communal areas. You are responsible for your property. More information about this can be found in your lease.

Please contact us to report a repair or service issue affecting the communal areas or external structure of the block. You can do this via email to info@orbit.org.uk; through the My Account pages on our website or via our customer service centre on 0800 678 1221.

Please contact your management agents directly to report communal repairs if we don’t own your freehold or manage your building.

We strongly recommend all home owners get a gas-safe approved contractor to carry out an annual gas safety check if they have a gas supply to their homes. We don’t provide this service.

If you smell gas or fumes you should:

  • Step 1: TURN OFF the gas supply at the meter
  • Step 2: OPEN your windows
  • Step 3: PUT OUT all naked flames
  • Step 4: DON'T USE electrical switches
  • Step 5: CALL the National Grid on freephone 0800 111 999.

 

Can I extend my lease?

You can extend your lease for a further 90 years, in addition to the time left on your current lease, if you:

  • own 100% of the long lease of the property and
  • have held the lease for at least two years.

It may also be possible to negotiate a lease extension on an informal basis outside the terms of the 1993 Act. We will give you more information on this when you apply. You can usually choose to buy the freehold if you have a leasehold house. If you don’t have that right, you will be able to extend your lease by 50 years.

You need to serve us with a notice if you want to apply for a lease extension. Before proceeding, please contact your Leasehold Officer for full details of the process via info@orbit.org.uk or 0800 678 1221.

To extend your lease, we will need to agree a premium. You will make an offer stating how much you will pay for the new lease and this will normally 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 from the date you give us official notice that you want to extend your lease. This is the case whether your application is successful or not. We may also require you to pay for our own valuation if we cannot agree a premium.

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.

Can I change, improve or add to my home?

You need our consent to carry out structural alterations and improvements to your home. We don't need to know about minor works such as redecoration or plumbing repairs but if you are in any doubt, please contact us.

We will ask you to ensure that you have all the relevant planning and building regulation permissions and may need to see copies. We will not unreasonably withhold permission but some leases have certain restrictions.

Depending on the complexity of your proposals, we may charge an administration fee to cover the cost of work involved in considering your application. A visit from our surveyors may be necessary.

It is important that you obtain our consent before carrying our works. If you come to sell your property and consent hasn't been granted for alterations, or if we find works have been completed in an unsafe manner, you may have to return the property to it's original state at your own cost. 

Please fill in and return the alterations request form or contact your Leasehold Officer if you want to change or improve your home.

What are service charges?

You’ll have to pay a service charge if you live in a flat, or a house with the use of communal areas. This charge covers the cost of providing communal services such as cleaning hallways, communal gardening and the cost of managing those services.

It also covers the cost of communal lights, door entry systems and lift maintenance. You may also be charged a contribution to a renewals fund to pay for larger work, such as renewing the door entry system.

We will provide you with an estimated budget of how much we think the services will cost each year and this is what your monthly service charge payments will be based upon. Then, after the end of the financial year when the actual costs are known, we will prepare an annual statement of account and send this to you with a covering letter telling you if the amount paid is enough to cover the actual costs or not. You will also be given a summary of the services you receive along with a notice setting out your rights and responsibilities.

You can get more information on your service charges from the Service Charge Team or here.

 

 

Can I sub-let my property?

As a 100% leaseholder, you are normally entitled to sub-let your home without our permission. Any tenant that lives in your home must however, abide by the same terms and conditions laid out in your lease and you are responsible for ensuring that they do so.

If you are going to sub-let, please contact us and make sure that we have a record of your permanent residence and current phone numbers and email addresses to reach you on. It is important that we are able to contact you in the case of an emergency. If you will be using a managing agent to look after the letting of your home, please provide us with their details as well.

Do I need to arrange buildings insurance?

We are responsible for insuring your building. This means you won’t need to arrange your own buildings insurance. A charge for this service is included in your monthly payments, along with any service charge you might have to pay.

Please call Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA) if you want to make a claim. Their contact details are:

0330 102 4100 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday) 0845 300 4006 (evenings, weekends or public holidays)

You should tell the advisor that you are an Orbit leaseholder and give them the RSA Policy Number RTT283793.

RSA will help you if you need to make a claim. All claims should be reported as soon as possible. Full information needs to be provided within 30 days (7 days if you are claiming for riot or malicious damage). You must tell the police if you make a claim for theft or malicious damage.

In an emergency you should take any immediate action needed to protect your home from further damage. This might include boarding up your home or switching off gas, water or electricity supplies.

Please contact us if you need more information.

We don’t insure the contents of your house, this is your responsibility. However, we have negotiated a Contents Insurance scheme available for Orbit residents. Please contact us and ask for the insurance team if you want to find out more.

What happens if I breach a covenant in my lease?

If you breach the terms of your lease, for example by not paying your rent or behaving anti-socially, we will make attempts to resolve the situation with you. If this is unsuccessful, we will inform your mortgage lender that you are breaching the terms of the lease.

Depending on the nature of the breach, we will then apply to the County Court or Leasehold Valuation Tribunal for a determination of the case and, if necessary, an enforcement order or injunction.

If all else fails we will apply to the courts or a tribunal for either forfeiture of the lease or repossession of the property.
Failure to comply with the covenants of the lease could result in the loss of your home.

I'm having difficulty paying my service charge

If you are having difficulty paying your service charge, it is important that you contact us straight away, to avoid large arrears building up. We may be able to advise you about benefits, or work with you to make a realistic agreement for you to clear the debt.

If you do not contact us or fail to keep to the agreed payment arrangement, we will normally have no alternative but to contact your mortgage lender or apply to court for a County Court Judgment against you. Any costs incurred by the Association will be charged to you. Ultimately Orbit must consider invoking the forfeiture clause in your lease and you could risk losing your home.

Will I have to pay an administration charge when I ask Orbit to do something?

We might ask you to pay an administration charge to cover our costs:

  • when you’ve asked for permission to change your lease or something else that needs our official consent.
  • for supplying information or documentation to you or a third party such as your solicitor.

This leaflet has more information on our administration charges.

I'm selling my flat, is there anything else I need to do to close my account?

Once you have a buyer for your property, the solicitors will require certain information from us as the Landlord.  This may include items such as:
•  Building Insurance details
•  The last three years end of year accounts
•  Details of your service charge account
•  Details of any major works proposed in the next few years
•  A service charge budget
•  Details of when redecorations, internal & external were last carried out

There is an administration charge for the information supplied, please ask your solicitor to contact us to confirm the current fee.

You will need to ensure that your service charge account is clear to the end of the month in which you are completing the sale.  You will also need to clear any additional charges that may be outstanding in respect of major work costs.

On completion of the sale, we will require confirmation of the sale from the purchaser’s solicitor, so we can recognise them as the new leaseholder. This is called a Notice of Transfer. Until we receive this documentation from the purchaser's solicitor we will be unable to close your account.

Once the sale has completed, if you pay via standing order, please ensure you cancel your service charge payments.

Does Orbit buy properties back?

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 the property back.

If this applies to you, it’ll apply for up to 21 years from the date the last shares were bought. Whether we buy back your home will depend on our plans within your area at the time you wish 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 fee for providing this certificate.

Please speak to your Leasehold Officer to find out more.

What should I do if I am unhappy about the service offered by Orbit?

Should you have a dispute with Orbit, we will refer you to our complaints procedure to help resolve the situation. If there are still problems, even when you have exhausted the complaints procedure, you can complain to the Housing Ombudsman Service, known as the Independent Housing Ombudsman. We can tell you how to do this, but if your dispute is over certain matters connected to your lease, for example, the level of service charges or your liability to pay them, then there are other routes of complaint and you should seek appropriate legal advice.

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