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Common questions about lease agreements

If you're a leaseholder of a property from us, you can find out more about what your leasehold includes and what to do if you want to make changes.

Conditions may differ if you are a shared ownership leaseholder - please see our shared ownership agreements page for more information.

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 us to find out more about the full process.

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 (pdf, 353KB) 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, add to or improve 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.

Please see the Carrying out your own home improvements page for more information about how to apply for permission.

Can I sub-let my home?

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 see the Insuring your home page for more details about what our insurance covers, how to make a claim and options for arranging your own contents insurance.

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.

Do I need to inform you if I'm selling my flat?

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 (pdf, 353KB) for providing this certificate.

Please contact us to find out more.

Administration charges

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; or
  • for supplying information or documentation.

We will charge you for providing these services. The administration charges leaflet (pdf, 353KB) contains more information.