Long leaseholders are in a landlord and tenant relationship

​The vast majority of flat owners in England and Wales are long leaseholders. A minority house owners own their home 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.

Nonetheless, there are a number of statutory provisions which apply to leasehold housing. 

There are plans to reform leasehold law in England and Wales. More information can be found on a separate page: Leasehold reform in England and Wales.

Where to go for advice

The Leasehold Advisory Service provides limited free advice on leasehold mattersThey also publish detailed guides and online advice (see below). Constituents who are 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 complain to the relevant redress scheme. For more information see: Lettings agents and property managers: which Government approved redress scheme do you belong to? (PDF 581 KB).

Leaseholders of social landlords (councils and housing associations) can use their landlord’s internal complaints procedure. If this does not achieve the desired outcome, 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.

These advice guides from the Leasehold Advisory Service cover most of the common questions asked by long leaseholders:

There is Government guidance for leasehold owners: How to Lease (PDF 838 KB) (updated July 2019). The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team published Guidance for consumers seeking redress for leasehold matters on 29 January 2019.​

Disclaimer

The Commons Library does not intend the information in these articles 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 is required. This Library briefing provides information about sources of legal advice and help.