Leaseholders Handbook


This handbook is intended to provide council leaseholders with a guide to their rights and responsibilities as a leaseholder, and also of our rights and responsibilities as a landlord. As leaseholders live in such a variety of properties and have different concerns, this handbook cannot cover everything in depth. However, each section gives a general summary of the position and tells you who to contact if you need more detailed information.

The individual lease to a specific property is the governing document which sets out covenants and clauses for both landlord and leaseholders. The aim of this handbook is to provide a useful guide and resource to all Royal Borough of Kingston leaseholders. Your lease is a formal legal document and this handbook should not be taken as a definitive interpretation of your lease or of the relevant legislation. You should not rely on the handbook in any disputes that may arise relating to your lease or your position as a leaseholder. In those situations, you should obtain independent legal advice. When you purchased your flat or maisonette, your solicitor would have examined your lease and should have advised you of its contents.

The main provisions are summarised in Section 4 - The Lease Agreement. Kingston Council aims to provide a leasehold service to the highest standard but living in a leasehold property which may be on an estate is a contractual arrangement and leaseholders must be aware of their responsibilities to the council and also to their neighbours. You may have a Residents Association where you live and there are a number of ways you can get involved and influence the way that services are delivered. The Council’s policies and procedures change from time to time, as does the law. We will consult you on any policy changes via the leasehold forum and inform you of any relevant changes in the law as they occur.

Definition of leaseholder and freeholder


Leaseholders are: n tenants who have bought their flat under statutory “Right To Buy” scheme n those who have bought their homes under shared ownership schemes n those who have purchased their flat on the open market so that the original lease has been assigned to them. As a leaseholder you have bought the right to live in your property for a fixed number of years. The term of the lease is 125 years from the date the first property in your block was sold.


The freeholder, Kingston Council, owns the building in which you live and is responsible for looking after the structure and communal areas of the block or property.

Other terminology used in this handbook

  • Block: The block is the building as described in your lease for which you are responsible for paying your share of the costs.
  • Breach: A failure to do something that you are responsible for under your lease.
  • Consent: The Freeholders written permission for you to alter the property.
  • Covenant: A promise to do something.
  • Deed of variation: An agreement made between the landlord and leaseholder to change the terms of the lease.
  • Demised premises: The parts of the building that you have purchased and are responsible for. For example this will be the flat and other buildings such as a store.
  • Easement:A legal right over someone else’s land.
  • First Tier Tribunal: An independent and impartial review panel that considers issues relating to service charges and Section 20 consultation matters.
  • Ground rent: A fee paid by the lessee to the freeholder as a condition of the lease.
  • Improvement: The provision of something new to the building or a change to the building that improves what is there.
  • Lease: The lease is a legal contract containing both your rights and obligations as leaseholder and the Council’s rights and obligations as freeholder.
  • Major work: Works of repair carried out to your block which cost more than £250 per property.
  • Qualifying long term agreement: An agreement for more than 12 months to provide works or services, such as grounds maintenance or buildings insurance or certain works or repair, for which any leaseholder covered by the agreement may have to contribute £100 or more for any years covered by the agreement.
  • Qualifying works: Work likely to cost more than £250 for any leaseholder liable to contribute to the cost of the work.
  • Quiet enjoyment :The right to use the flat without interference.
  • Repairing responsibilities: Repairs which under the terms of the lease each party is responsible for.
  • Section 20 (or Section 151): Section 20 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 which has been amended by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 determines the circumstances where the landlord must consult with leaseholders before carrying out major works or providing services over a prescribed sum of money.
  • Section 146: A notice served under section 146 Law of Property Act 1925 to end a lease by forfeiture. This occurs if there has been a substantial breach of the terms of the lease by the leaseholder.
  • Subletting: When you let your flat to someone else and become their immediate landlord. You become responsible for the acts of your tenants.

Last Modified: 16/03/2023 15:22:39