This information should not be relied upon as legal or professional advice. Read the disclaimer.

Long leaseholders are in a landlord and tenant relationship

The vast majority of flat owners in England and Wales are long leaseholders. A minority of those owning a house own it on a long lease.

Long leaseholders are owner occupiers who do not own the freehold of their homes. This means they are in a landlord/tenant relationship with the freeholder.

The respective rights and obligations of the leaseholder and freeholder are set out in the lease agreement. The lease is the starting point from which most disputes between the parties should be approached.

There are several statutory provisions which apply to leasehold housing (see online information below).  For information on Government leasehold reform plans see: Leasehold reform in England and Wales: What’s happening and when?

Where to go for advice

The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) provides limited free advice on leasehold matters. They also publish detailed guides and online advice (see below). Constituents in dispute with their freeholder or managing agent are best advised to seek professional legal advice. 

Freeholders and managing agents are not currently subject to overarching regulation although agents do have to be members of a Government approved redress scheme. One way of raising an issue is to use the relevant redress scheme: Lettings agents and property managers: which Government approved redress scheme do you belong to? (PDF).

Leaseholders of social landlords (councils and housing associations) can use their landlord’s internal complaints procedure. If this does not result in resolution, they may, in certain circumstances, refer the matter to the Housing Ombudsman.

Where disputes cannot be resolved informally, in most cases long leaseholders can pursue the matter at a First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) or Leasehold Valuation Tribunal in Wales.

Online information and answers to FAQs

There is Government guidance for leasehold owners: How to Lease (PDF) (updated 2022). The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team published Guidance for consumers seeking redress for leasehold matters on 29 January 2019.​

The following online guides from LEASE cover most of the common questions asked by long leaseholders:

Disclaimer

The Commons Library does not intend the information in this article to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual. We have published it to support the work of MPs. You should not rely upon it as legal or professional advice, or as a substitute for it. We do not accept any liability whatsoever for any errors, omissions or misstatements contained herein. You should consult a suitably qualified professional if you require specific advice or information. Read our briefing for information about sources of legal advice and help.