This page is for residents who have bought their leasehold home from West Kent and who now own 100% of the equity. Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions from our leaseholders.
This section is not for shared owners.
Selling your home
West Kent does not buy back leasehold homes but you are free to sell it on the open market, either privately or through an estate agent. (Not shared ownership homes).
If you’re a leaseholder and own 100% of the equity, you can sell your property on the open market, through an estate agent for example, without telling us or getting our permission. Your solicitor will usually contact us for a sale pack which we make a charge for. We aim to produce these packs within ten working days of receiving payment.
When you have a completion date fixed, we’re happy to provide figures for the apportionment of service charges - we need five days notice for this. Apportionment is the calculation dividing up what you are responsible for paying and what the new leaseholder is responsible for. Occasionally solicitors will ask to keep a retainer; this is because you may be liable for charges after the property is sold for works that were carried out while you still owned it. We try to ensure we provide accurate estimates of unbilled items so you don't have to give retainers unnecessarily.
After your property is sold the purchaser’s solicitors have to send us a Notice of Transfer, which is the formal notification that the lease has changed ownership. At this time our formal relationship with you ends.
Re-mortgaging means changing your mortgage provider, or borrowing extra money through a mortgage. People often re-mortgage to get a better interest rate, which can be a great way to save money.
Before re-mortgaging you can get advice directly from a lender (like a building society or bank), or from a mortgage broker or financial adviser. Make sure they're registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
If you’re intending to re-mortgage you must provide us with a Notice of Mortgage. Your new lender or solicitor will usually serve this automatically. We make a charge of £50 plus VAT to deal with this paperwork.
Renting out your home
Leaseholders who own 100% of your home don't need our consent to sublet. All we ask is that you make sure you give us your new contact details (including your forwarding address).
It’s also helpful if you give us your tenant’s emergency contact details. You are responsible for ensuring you and any sub-tenant keep to the terms of your lease.
West Kent organises the buildings insurance for our leaseholders, and you repay the cost of this through your service charge. We send you a new summary of cover every June. You may need to give a copy of this to your lender, so they know their security (your home) is insured.
If your home has been damaged please contact us for a claim form. There is a £100 excess on most claims. The insurance covers the damage to the property but not the repair itself, so for example if you had a leak from your boiler which damaged your ceiling, the insurance may cover the damage to the home but not the repair to the boiler.
In a few flats, West Kent is the leaseholder but the freeholder organises the buildings insurance, so you will be on a different policy with a different excess.
You always need to organise your own home contents insurance.
Having trouble paying?
If you’re struggling with money it’s really important that you get advice. If you're struggling with your mortgage you must keep your lender up to date with your situation. You can get specialist advice for leaseholders from a solicitor or the Leasehold Advisory Service who offer free, independent advice.
Your lease is a contract between us defining who is responsible for which repairs. Generally as a homeowner, you must keep your home in a good state of repair. You are responsible for the internal repairs within your home and the safety of gas and electric fittings.
If you live in a flat and West Kent is the freeholder we'll keep the structure, common parts and the outside of the flats in good repair. In some cases a managing agent for another freeholder may be responsible for repairs.
For repairs within your home that fall under your responsibility, you should arrange for a qualified contractor to carry out the work and you'll be responsible for the cost.
In certain situations, such as a serious leak that is causing damage to other properties, or where there is a health and safety risk, we may ask you to carry out the repair immediately. If you can't do so, we may arrange for a contractor to carry out the work on your behalf and charge you for any costs we incur.
You can report repairs that are our responsibility to us through My West Kent.
You can make minor changes like decorating, laying flooring and fitting wardrobes without our consent. You must get our formal consent before making any of the following changes:
- Fitting new kitchen
- Fitting new bathrooms
- Changing the windows
- Loft conversions
For fairly minor changes we will not charge a fee. For more involved works our fee is £150 + VAT and we will issue a Licence for Alterations.
We will not unreasonably withhold consent but some changes are prohibited under some leases. You can check your lease or talk to us.
If you are thinking of funding the work by increasing your mortgage please refer to the section on this page called 'I want to re-mortgage'.
Paying for works or services
Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (amended by section 151 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002) says we must consult you about some of the works and services your lease says you must pay for.