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Leasehold FAQs

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What's a lease?

A lease is a legal agreement between the leaseholder and the freeholder (see below). It tells you how many years you'll own the property. Once the lease comes to an end, ownership of the property returns to the freeholder. 

What's a freeholder? 

The freeholder is usually a company or person that owns the land on which your home sits. In most cases we (Red Kite) will own the freehold and be the freeholder.

Service charges

What is a service charge?

Service charges are payments made by leaseholders for services that are provided by the freeholder. This might include cleaning, maintenance of any grounds, minor repairs and major works.

How often must I pay it?

We accept payment throughout the year, based on the itemised estimated costs we'll send you each April. The following September we provide a breakdown of what we've actually spent, and will either credit your account with any overpayment or ask you to make up any shortfall.

Will the service charge go up?

Yes, but only if our costs increase. We do not make a profit on service charges.


What do I need to maintain and repair?

Your lease will set out your exact obligations, but in general you (as leaseholder) will be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the interior of your home.

Ground rent

What is a ground rent?

Ground rent is an additional amount which leaseholders pay to the freeholder. It's a fixed annual payment. 

Will the ground rent go up?

Only if your lease allows it to increase.


Can I make improvements or changes to the property?

Yes, but normally you must ask for our permission before you start.

Shared ownership only

What do I need to do to buy extra shares?

Extra shares may be bought via what's called ‘staircasing’. The cost will depend on what percentage you want to buy and the value of your home at the time you apply. Contact our home ownership team for further information. 

How is my rent calculated?

It's a fixed percentage (usually between 2.5% and 3%) of the value of the share in your home that we retain. It'll be increased every year in accordance with the terms of the lease.

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Red Kite Community Housing, Windsor Court, Kingsmead Business Park, High Wycombe, HP11 1JU

Red Kite Community Housing is the trading name of Red Kite Community Housing Limited, a charitable registered society which operates for the benefit of the community under the Cooperative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, registered in England with the Financial Conduct Authority (registration number 31322R) and the Regulator of Social Housing (registration number 4682). VAT number 290 7410 06.