• Can I extend the term of my lease?

    In certain circumstances you might be able to extend the lease of your property for an additional 90 years.

    There is a formal procedure that you must follow to extend your lease which you will need a solicitor to complete for you and starts with them serving a notice on Newcastle City Council. There will be a cost for extending your lease and you would also be required to pay the Council’s fees.

    We recommend that you seek independent profession advise in relation to the process including checking eligibility, assessment of purchase price and preparation and service of notice.

  • How do I become a leaseholder?

    There are two ways you can buy the lease of a council flat:

    • by buying the lease from the present leaseholder (if the flat has already been bought under the Right to Buy and is being sold again)
    • you are currently a council tenant and living in a flat/maisonette subject to certain criteria. For more information about your Right to Buy visit Right to Buy page. The Government's Thinking of buying a council flat webpage also contains useful information.

    In both cases you should get a solicitor to act for you in buying the lease. If you are buying from the present leaseholder it is important that you know what service charges are outstanding on the property so that you can make sure that they are cleared before you complete the purchase. You may have to pay some charges owed by the previous leaseholder (unless you are the first leaseholder) if they are not cleared before the purchase.

    If you are buying one of our properties on the open market you should ask your solicitor to request a pre-sale enquiry pack from the vendor’s solicitor. The information in this pack includes:

    • landlord/managing agent details
    • lease details
    • service charges and ground rent 
    • buildings insurance
    • major and other works
    • repairs and maintenance
    • landlords permission
    • sub-letting the property
    • breaches of covenant
    • details of notice of transfer and charge

    When you become the leaseholder you will be liable for any outstanding service charges and future liabilities. You should ensure that you check this information and get legal advice before purchasing the property. All new purchases must be registered within one month. As the purchaser your solicitor needs to send us the notice of transfer. All notices should be served to:

    Head of Legal Services, Newcastle City Council, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE99 2BN

    and sent to:

    Your Homes Newcastle, YHN House, Benton Park Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE7 7LX

    The Council’s charges are currently £100 per document. Cheques should be made payable to Newcastle City Council. A Deed of Covenant is not required under the terms of the Lease.

  • What do I need to do if I want to sell my property?

    You can sell the property at any time. This is known as assigning the lease. If you bought your home under the Right to Buy, you may need to repay all or part of the discount you received should you sell in the early years after your original purchase. Visit Right to Buy for more information about discount rules.

    The person who buys the property would take over the remaining years of the lease - if you purchased a 125 year lease, and sell it after 10 years, the buyer will purchase the remaining 115 year lease.

    You must ensure that you make any prospective purchaser aware of the leasehold nature of the property and of any rules or conditions which apply.

    If you are selling your home your purchaser’s solicitor will request a pre-sale enquiry pack. Our fee for this is £99. This pack includes all of the information we hold on your property, if there are any outstanding charges and how your lease works.

    We will issue the pack within 10 days of receipt of the fee.

    The buyer’s solicitor must register the change of ownership within one month.

    All outstanding service charges must be paid before completion of the sale. We cannot update our records until the change of ownership has been registered. Failure to do this will result in you still being liable for any charges against the property.

  • Do I need to tell Your Homes Newcastle that I intend to sell my property?

    Depending on when the lease was first sold you might have to inform us that you are selling your property. If you want to sell within ten years of buying your property through the Right to Buy, you will need to offer it to us or to another social landlord, at full market value. If your offer has not been accepted within eight weeks, you will be free to sell the property on the open market.

  • Do I need to repay the discount I received when I purchased under the Right to Buy?

    If you have bought your home under the Right to Buy, and you want to sell within 5 years you will need to repay some of the discount that you received. The amount you repay will depend on when you bought your property and how much you are now selling the property for. Once a sale has been agreed you will need to let us know the sale price and we will calculate how much discount you need to repay.

  • Will YHN be contacted during the sale?

    It is likely that your Solicitor or the purchasers Solicitors will request information us. We provide a pre-sale information pack containing all of the information that your solicitor will need. There is a charge of £99 for providing the pack which your solicitor will normally send to us. We will send the pack to them within 10 working days. If you want to request a copy of the pack yourself, instead of your solicitor doing it, you will need to send a cheque to us, made payable to Newcastle City Council, for £99.

  • How is my name removed from the service charge / ground rent accounts?

    After the property is sold the buyer’s solicitor need to write to us telling us about the change of ownership. Once this has been done we will be able to take your name off our records and add the new owner’s details. This should be done within one month of the sale completing.

  • Who is responsible for the estimated service charge for the year that I sell?

    All outstanding invoices must be paid before the property is sold. This means if you sell the property part way through the financial year you will need to pay the full years estimated service charge. Your solicitor will have to apportion the yearly charge over the number of days that you have owned the property in that particular year and make an arrangement with the buyer for how you will reclaim the money that you have paid for the rest of the year after they become the owner of the property.

  • Who is responsible for the actual service charge invoice once the property is sold?

    All outstanding invoices must be paid before the property is sold, however, because the invoice for the current financial year is only estimated, you could be liable for extra charges once our accounts have been finalised. Your solicitor should keep retention (where you would leave a sum of money with your solicitor on completion of the sale) to cover any extra charges on the actual service charge once the invoice is issued or for costs such as routine repairs which have been completed which have not yet been invoiced.

    The new leaseholder will be responsible for the actual service charge invoice. An arrangement needs to be made in case there is a credit or a debit on the final account once it is issued. If there is a debit the retention taken by your solicitor should cover this amount, however if there is a credit on the account an arrangement needs to be made with the new owner for them to return the credit amount to you if you are entitled to it because we cannot give this back to you.

  • I have been sent a Section 20 notice – who is responsible for paying for this work if I sell before the invoice is issued?

    You need to inform the purchaser if a section 20 notice has been sent to you. We will provide details to your solicitor of any works that have already been carried out or are currently in progress. They will then need to keep retention on completion of the sale for the full estimated cost as set out in your Section 20 notice.

    If your sale completes before an invoice for the work is issued this will be issued to the new purchaser and they will be liable for paying this, however, many potential buyers of a property could be put off purchasing if they may face a bill for major works shortly after purchasing. We would advise you to seek guidance from your solicitor on how to proceed with your sale. In many cases the seller would need to enter into negotiations with the potential buyer about how the invoice will be settled once it is issued in order for the sale to progress.

    When the invoice is issued to the new owner they will need to pass a copy of it to their solicitors who will arrange for payment from the retention that was kept at the point of sale. We recommend that you get legal advice from a solicitor when selling your property.

  • Can I sublet/rent out my home?

    You can rent out your home to someone else, but you will remain responsible for the property. You must tell us the arrangements and give us an alternative correspondence address for you as well as details and contact numbers for your tenants in cases of emergencies. The insurance company needs to be told of any changes in your circumstances, otherwise any claim that you make could be invalid. If you have a mortgage it may be a condition of your mortgage to get permission to let your home.

    You need to complete the sublet form which is available here: Sub-let form 

    You will still need to pay the service charges and any district heating charges if your property is connected to this system as well as making sure your tenants behave and do not cause a nuisance to the neighbours.

    Under the terms of the lease the property may be sub-let to a single person, couple or a family. It must not be sub-let to separate, unrelated individuals. See Section 17 of the Seventh Schedule of the Lease: The property may be sublet to a single person, couple or family. It shouldn't be sublet to separate unrelated individuals, however, as long as they do not cause a nuisance to the other neighbours we will not take any action against you if you do sublet to separate individuals.

    By renting out your home you will become the landlord of your tenant. You will then be responsible for the landlord's duties arising under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998

  • What are my responsibilities as a landlord for gas safety?

    If you have sublet your flat and it has any gas appliances in it, the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 apply to you. This means that you are responsible for making sure gas appliances, including boilers fires and cookers, all pipework and flues are safe and well-maintained.

    A yearly gas safety check needs to be carried out by a Gas Safe registered gas engineer and a copy of the yearly gas safety record (CP12) given to the tenant. Landlords who breach the gas safety laws and put lives at risk face tough sentencing in the courts.

    You can get further information about this from Gas Safe on 0800 408 5500 or by visiting Gas Safe. If the lease of your property was granted after 2009 it is also a condition of your lease that you have a yearly gas safety inspection carried out and therefore will be in breach of your lease terms, and the law, if you do not carry out the appropriate safety checks on your appliances.

  • What are my responsibilities as a landlord for fire safety?

    Please see the Health and Safety section for more information on your responsibilities as a landlord under new laws regarding smoke detection.

  • Can I buy the freehold of my property?

    In certain circumstances you might be able to buy the freehold of your property. To be able to do this all the properties in your block must be purchased from Newcastle City Council on a leasehold basis and all leaseholders would have to agree to the purchase.

    To qualify to purchase the freehold you and the other leaseholders in the block must have been the registered owners of your properties for at least 2 years.

    There is a formal procedure that you must follow to purchase the freehold and you will need a solicitor to complete it with you. The procedure starts with the solicitor serving a notice on Newcastle City Council. There will be a cost for buying the freehold and you would also be required to pay the Council’s fees.

    We recommend that you seek independent profession advise in relation to the process including checking eligibility, assessment of purchase price and preparation and service of notice.