A lease is a contract between the leaseholder and the landlord giving conditional ownership for a fixed period of time. It is an important document and leaseholders should ensure that they have a copy and that they understand it. The wording of leases is usually in legal language and can vary from property to property. Leaseholders who find it difficult to understand their lease should get advice from a solicitor and insist that they provide a report on its terms when they are instructed to deal with the purchase.
The lease sets out the contractual obligations of the two parties: what the leaseholder has contracted to do, and what the landlord is bound to do. The leaseholder’s obligations will include payment of the ground rent (if any) and contribution to the costs of maintaining and managing the building. The lease will probably also place certain conditions on the use and occupation of the flat. The landlord will usually be required to manage and maintain the structure, exterior and common areas of the property, to collect service charges from all the leaseholders and keep the accounts.