Leasehold handbook – Selling or subletting

by The Gateshead Housing Company & filed under Owning your home - leaseholder - leasehold handbook, Owning your home - leaseholders.

Selling your home

If you bought your home as one of our tenants under the Right to Buy scheme and you sell within five years of purchase, you will have to pay back some, or all, of the discount we gave you when you bought your home. This is worked out as a percentage of the price for which you are selling your property. There are some exceptions to repayment of the discount – for example, where the property is compulsorily purchased or transferred to you as part of a divorce settlement.

If you sell your flat within ten years of the start of the lease, you must offer Gateshead Council first refusal. For more information contact the Home Ownership Team.

Telling us about a change in ownership

When you sell your home and the sale is completed, the new leaseholder or their solicitor must notify us within 21 days. This is so we can register the assignment of the lease and record the details about the mortgage provider. There will be a charge for registering a Notice of Transfer.

Getting a presale enquiry pack

As a leaseholder, you can sell your property at any time. You will need to make all the arrangements yourself with estate agents and solicitors. (Please remember we do not allow estate agent boards to be fixed to our buildings).

Your solicitor must notify us when you have accepted an offer on your property. They should ask us for information relating to your accounts and property to assist with completing the sale.

We call this a ‘presale enquiry pack’ and we will only provide the information to your solicitor. There is an administration fee for providing this service, as it requires us to compile information about accounts, outstanding charges, schedule of planned maintenance and major works, and insurance details. To obtain our current fee, email leasehold@gatesheadhousing.co.uk or call 0191 433 5395.

Where there is an estimated charge for services or for major works that are in progress, and for which you are awaiting a final account, you must agree with the buyer how these future bills will be paid. The buyer’s solicitor may want you to settle these in full or agree an amount to be kept from the sale price against these future bills. This amount is known as a ‘retention’ and is held by your solicitor until the final account is known.

To request a presale pack, your solicitor should write to leasehold@gatesheadhousing.co.uk or call 0191 433 5395.

Before you sublet your property

If you have a mortgage, you will need to get your bank or building society’s permission to sublet your property, as it may be a condition of the mortgage that you live in it.

If you sublet your property, you may not be covered for accidental damage under the building insurance policy. You must tell us that you are subletting your property so that we can check that any insurance claim you make is covered.

Subletting your home

As a Gateshead Council leaseholder, the terms of your lease generally allow for you to sublet your leasehold property. However, this is subject to the condition that all sublets must be registered with TGHC as soon as they have been let. Failure to register a sublet with TGHC constitutes an enforceable breach of the conditions of your lease.

When registering a sublet, you will have to submit a copy of the tenancy agreement for each of the tenancies that you have offered and provide a copy of a valid gas safety certificate and electrical certificate for the property that you are subletting.

You will always remain responsible for complying with all terms of the lease and the conduct of your tenants during the period that the property is sublet.

You will also need to tell us your new contact details, so we can get in touch with you urgently if we need to, and so we can be sure we are sending your invoices to the correct address.

When your sublet tenancy comes to an end you must complete the Subletting update form and return to leasehold@gatesheadhousing.co.uk

Each new registration of sublet carries an administrative fee per tenancy registered. This can be paid by bank transfer or cheque made payable to The Gateshead Housing Company. Alternatively, we can call you back to take a debit/credit card payment over the phone. 

Landlord’s gas safety obligations

If you sublet your home, you will be responsible for the landlords’ duties arising under the Gas Safety (Installations and Use) Regulations 1998.

This means that you are legally responsible for making sure your gas appliances, pipework and flues are safe and well maintained.

You must arrange for an annual gas safety check by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.

You must make sure your tenant is given a copy of the annual gas safety check (called a CP12) before they move into the property.

Failure to meet gas safety requirements can lead to criminal prosecution, resulting in a fine or possibly even imprisonment.

For more information on gas safety obligations see the HSE and Gas Safe Register websites.

Moving out temporarily

If you intend to move out temporarily and the flat is going to be empty for a period of time, you must provide us with contact details or leave your address with a neighbour, caretaker or the police in case of an emergency.

You must continue to pay service charges while you are not living in the property.

Leaving the home empty for 30 days or more could affect your building insurance.

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