Frequently Asked Questions

We have a FAQs section that contains a range of useful articles on leaseholds and the law and a list of links to helpful organisations.

We also recommend the government's leasehold advisory service (LEASE) at www.lease-advice.org, which has a free telephone helpline.

We also recommend that you contact your legal advisor.

(1) This summary, which briefly sets out your rights and obligations in relation to administration charges, must by law accompany a demand for administration charges. Unless a summary is sent to you with a demand, you may withhold the administration charge. The summary does not give a full interpretation of the law and if you are in any doubt about your rights and obligations you should seek independent advice.

(2) An administration charge is an amount which may be payable by you as part of or in addition to the rent directly or indirectly:

  • for or in connection with the grant of an approval under your lease, or an application for such approval
  • for or in connection with the provision of information or documents
  • in respect of your failure to make any payment due under your lease or
  • in connection with a breach of a covenant or condition of your lease.

If you are liable to pay an administration charge, it is payable only to the extent that the amount is reasonable.

(3) Any provision contained in a grant of a lease under the right to buy under the Housing Act 1985, which claims to allow the landlord to charge a sum for consent or approval, is void.

(4) You have the right to ask a First-tier Tribunal whether an administration charge is payable. You may make a request before or after you have paid the administration charge. If the tribunal determines the charge is payable, the tribunal may also determine:

  • who should pay the administration charge and who it should be paid to
  • the amount
  • the date it should be paid by and
  • how it should be paid.

However, you do not have this right where:

  • a matter has been agreed to or admitted by you
  • a matter has been, or is to be, referred to arbitration or has been determined by arbitration and you agreed to go to arbitration after the disagreement about the administration charge arose or
  • a matter has been decided by a court.

(5) You have the right to apply to a First-tier Tribunal for an order varying the lease on the grounds that any administration charge specified in the lease, or any formula specified in the lease for calculating an administration charge is unreasonable.

(6) Where you seek a determination or order from a First-tier Tribunal, you will have to pay an application fee and, where the matter proceeds to a hearing, a hearing fee, unless you qualify for a waiver or reduction. The total fees payable to the tribunal will not exceed £500, but making an application may incur additional costs, such as professional fees, which you may have to pay.

(7) A First-tier Tribunal has the power to award costs, not exceeding £500, against a party to any proceedings where:

  • it dismisses a matter because it is frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of process or
  • it considers that a party has acted frivolously, vexatiously, abusively, disruptively or unreasonably.

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has similar powers when hearing an appeal against a decision of a First- tier Tribunal.

(8) Your lease may give your landlord a right of re-entry or forfeiture where you have failed to pay charges which are properly due under the lease. However, to exercise this right, the landlord must meet all the legal requirements and obtain a court order. A court order will only be granted if you have admitted you are liable to pay the amount or it is finally determined by a court, a tribunal or by arbitration that the amount is due. The court has a wide discretion in granting such an order and it will take into account all the circumstances of the case.

HomeGround offers the following methods of payment.

HomeGround Portal

View and pay your invoices online; successful payments appear on your account straight away.

Automated payment line

Call 03300 887953 and follow the instructions. You will need your 12-digit customer reference number. Standard call rates apply. Calls from mobiles or landlines may be included in free call packages.

Cheques

Make it payable to 'HomeGround' and, on the back of the cheque, write the full address of the property the payment refers to and your 12-digit customer reference number. Please post it to HomeGround Management Ltd., PO Box 6433, London W1A 2UZ.

Please note that Homeground are unable to accept post-dated cheques. It usually takes 5–7 working days to process a cheque payment.

Sorry, but we do not currently accept direct debits or standing orders. Please use the HomeGround portal or the automated phone line.

You will need your 12-digit customer reference number. Just call 03300 887953 and follow the instructions – do remember to press the # key after you enter your reference number. Standard call rates apply. Calls from mobiles or landlines may be included in free call packages.

We accept Visa, Visa Debit, Visa Electron and Mastercard.

HomeGround's banking services are supplied by Coutts & Co, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. Our online payment services are supplied by SagePay and conform to their codes of conduct ensuring protection and privacy. Our automated phone system is PCIDSS Level 1 accredited, which is the highest possible level of accreditation and means that the security of your card is in good hands. For more information please see our terms and conditions and our privacy notice.

HomeGround does not apply any fees for payments made via the portal or the automated phone line. Please check with your card provider about processing charges associated with using your card.

Your ground rent is paid directly into your landlord's bank account, which fulfils your legal obligations to your landlord. Our banking services are supplied by London-based bank, Coutts & Co, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

A receipt is sent to your registered email address immediately after you make a successful online payment. If you do not receive one, or if you pay through the automated phone line or by cheque, you will need to ask us to send you a receipt. You can access your payment summary through your account on the HomeGround portal.

Residential leases

A typical lease contains restrictions on what a leaseholder can do with their property, including making changes or alterations. The restrictions are not only for the benefit of estate residents and for estate conformity, but also to make sure that any alterations do not adversely affect the structure of the house, insurability of the building or its neighbours.

Normally, the landlord needs to give prior written approval, or consent, for alterations to the property. Flats may need this for any alterations and houses may need this for exterior alterations (including extensions) and alterations to the internal structure. Whether consent is required depends on the alterations you wish to make and the terms of your lease, so each application is looked at individually.

Commercial Leases

Depending on the lease terms, most alterations to a property (including signage) will need the landlord’s prior written approval (a licence for alterations).

Some alterations are entirely prohibited (in which case the landlord has no obligation to grant consent); others may be permitted subject to the landlord’s consent; in some cases consent cannot be unreasonably withheld or delayed.

How to Proceed

HomeGround's Leasehold Management Team (within the legal department) deals with these requests for alterations on behalf of the landlord, on a day-to-day basis.

You can get in touch with the team through the online enquiry form or by post at HomeGround Management Ltd, PO Box 6433, London W1A 2UZ.

For speed, we highly recommend that you use the enquiry form rather than apply by post. Alteration requests cannot be accepted over the phone as we need them in writing.