Leaseholders - an introduction

Welcome to the Leasehold section of the South Essex Homes website.

We hope these pages prove useful but if you have any additional enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact the Leasehold Team on 0800 833 160 or email

When you buy a flat or maisonette, you do not buy the flat itself, you buy a lease from the landlord, which gives you the right to live in the flat for an agreed period of time. So, if you buy a council flat, the council owns the building (freeholder) and you become a leaseholder. You will not have to pay rent, except a small amount each year, known as ‘ground rent’ which is currently £10.00 a year.

At the end of the lease period, the flat will go back to the council, unless you apply to extend the lease (click on page tab entitled 'Extending Your Lease' for more information). The lease is a legal agreement between you ‘the leaseholder’ and the council ‘the freeholder’. It contains details of the flat and will normally include a plan showing your home, the building it is in, the estate the building is on and any garden, shed or garage included in the sale. 

The lease will also explain your and our rights and responsibilities. Because your flat is part of a block you must also pay a share of the costs of maintaining the building and any communal areas and services provided such as cleaning and lighting of corridors and stairways. 

Please click here to download a copy of the Leaseholders’ Handbook.