Your lease

The most important document is your lease or transfer document. Your solicitor should have given you a copy when you completed on your purchase.

Please keep this safe and contact Land Registry if you need a new copy.

Guinness leases are normally 99 or 125 years long from the completion date of the first sale. If you buy a property from another leaseholder, you’ll take on their lease and the remaining years.

You’ll usually pay a service charge to keep communal areas in good condition. If you are a shared owner you will also have to pay rent on the share of your home that you do not own.

Some of our homes – usually houses or bungalows – are freehold. This means that you own the property outright. Your lease or transfer agreement should explain whether your home is leasehold or freehold.

What’s in your lease?

A lease or transfer document is a legal contract so please keep it safe. If you need a copy you should first enquire with your solicitor or mortgage lender. Copies can also be obtained from UK Land Registry. Guinness is usually able to provide a copy too, but we do charge a fee for this.

Your lease explains your rights and responsibilities as a leaseholder. It sets out our responsibilities too. It describes any charges and any circumstances where your lease could end. It also tells you how long your lease is.

Leases are not all the same. It’s worth checking yours first if you have any questions about your home.

Extending your lease

Your lease gives you the right to live in your property for a certain amount of time – usually 99 or 125 years from when the first sale completes. Once the time remaining on your lease drops under 80 years, the value of your property will begin to decrease and the cost of extending your lease will increase.

A shorter lease will make it more difficult to find a buyer for your flat and it may make it difficult to re-mortgage. For these reasons it’s best to extend your lease before it drops under 80 years.

If you want to extend the time left on your lease please contact the Homeowner Legal Services Team.


Adding or removing a leaseholder

You can add or remove another person from the lease register, which is maintained by UK Land Registry, if everyone involved agrees. You’ll need permission from us, and from your lender if you have a mortgage.

A solicitor will help you with the transfer of the lease, so there’ll be legal costs to pay, as well as any costs incurred by us.

Buying the freehold of your home

Leaseholders may have the right to buy the freehold of the building as a group depending on certain conditions. If the residents and the freeholder can’t agree a price for the sale then this will be set by the First Tier Tribunal.