Your Lease

This guide is only a summary of your lease. Your lease is a legally binding document and along with any other relevant legislation, takes precedence over the information contained in this guide.

Your lease is the legal contract between you and your landlord. It is a very important document that describes the property you live in and the surrounding estate (if applicable). The lease gives you rights over the land and / or buildings for a set period of time. When this period of time expires, these rights and the property revert back to the landlord unless you successfully apply for a lease extension or purchase the freehold.

Below, we outline some of the key elements common to leases of Orbit properties:

The conditions of your lease
Your lease is divided into schedules and these outline the conditions or responsibilities applicable to you as the lessee and to Orbit as the lessor or landlord.

Orbit’s responsibilities:
• To insure the building (but not the contents of your home).
• To keep the structure and exterior of the building in good repair.
• To maintain and repair all the communal parts of the building and estate.
• To maintain the services, such as gas and electricity to your building.
• To keep clean and lighted all the communal parts of the building
• To maintain and keep tidy all communal landscaped areas and to maintain trees and bushes on the estate.

Please remember that while we are responsible for arranging and carrying out repairs, upkeep and management of your building and estate; you are responsible for paying your share of the costs incurred. We recoup these costs through your service charge. You should not undertake any repairs or maintenance to the areas for which we are responsible. Please contact us if you think work is needed.

Your responsibilities:
• To pay the ground rent and service charges (including the costs of major work) as required.
• Only to use your property as a private home
• To keep the interior of your home plus fixtures and fittings in good condition and repair
• To allow us or our contractors access to carry out necessary work to your home
• Not to alter the exterior or interior of your home without our permission
• Not to cause a nuisance or annoyance to neighbours
• To send us legal notice of any change in ownership.

Rules & Regulations contained in your lease
In addition to the above, each lease typically contains rules and regulations on the following:
• Anti-social behaviour
• Running a business from home
• Pets
• Health & Safety
• Gas Safety Tests to Gas Appliances
• Parking of vehicles and use of roadways
• Rubbish Disposal
• Damage to the Building
• Sub Tenants
• Overcrowding
• Smoke Detectors
• Advertisements or Sale Notices

Rules and Regulations are reviewed from time to time to ensure that similar regulations apply to both leaseholders and tenants living on the same estate.

A copy of the current rules and regulations applicable to your lease can be obtained from the Leasehold Team.

Your rights as a leaseholder:
As well as responsibilities, you have rights, which are included in the lease. Your main rights are:
• To live in your home for the length of the lease
• The quiet enjoyment of your home
• For flat owners, the repair of the structure and communal areas by Orbit

Leaseholders have additional rights under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002:
• The right to extend your lease
• The Right to Manage. This means that you can take over the management of the building from us. However, certain conditions must first be met. Details of these conditions can be found by visiting the following website: http://www.lease-advice.org

Orbit’s rights as landlord:
We also have rights under the lease. Some of these rights are:
• To gain access to your home to carry out inspections or repairs
• To collect ground rent and make service charges to cover your share of the costs of the repair, upkeep and management of your building and estate.

To help you understand your lease we have put together a glossary explaining some of the common terms you will find:

Glossary of common terms found in your lease

Block - The building that contains a property, as shown on a plan attached to your lease.

Common parts - The parts of the building which are shared with other residents in the building e.g. entrance hall and staircases in blocks of flats.

Communal areas - The parts of the building, estate or services shared with others - more fully described in your lease.

Covenant - A legally binding promise.

Cyclical Maintenance - This term includes regular redecoration of the common parts as well as other related repairs carried out as part of a planned programme.

Demised premises - The part of the building that has been sold to you and is your responsibility.

Estate - The estate that includes your home and building, as well as other land and neighbouring buildings maintained by your landlord.

Exemptions and reservations - Rights we keep as landlord over your home.

Freeholder - The owner of the land or building that your property sits within.

Landlord - The lessor granting you your lease. This will normally also be the freeholder unless your lease was granted by a head-lessee. In existing older leases, the landlord may be described as a Local Authority or a previous incarnation of Orbit such as Orbit Bexley Housing Association. This is because the ownership of the freehold may have changed since the lease was created. The Land Registry keeps up to date records of owners / proprietors.  

Lessee - Probably you, the person who owns the lease to the property. Also commonly referred to as the leaseholder or the flat owner. Also called the tenant in some legal documents.

Lessor - See Landlord.

Premises - The inside of your home. It can also include any, sheds or garages that may have been included when you bought your lease.

Reserve Fund - A fund set up through service charges to budget for major expenditure e.g. roof repairs and cyclical re-decoration.  Also referred to as an ‘Accumulation Fund’ or a ‘sinking fund’.

Reserved property - Areas of the building/estate that have not been included in anyone’s lease. These will include common areas, such as stairways, lifts, car parks, refuse areas, and roofs of flats.

Sinking fund - See Reserve Fund

Tenant - See description of lessee. The legal definition of tenant includes long leaseholders.

Term - The full length of time the lease has been granted for. If you are the first person to buy the property, the lease will be granted in your name for a period of years. For modern leases, this is often 125 years but you should refer to your own document. Subsequent owners take over the number of years remaining on the lease at the time of purchase.

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