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A lease is a legal contract that has been drawn up when someone buys their flat.  Through Barnsley Council, this is done through the Right to Buy process. This contract stipulates the terms and conditions between you as leaseholder and Barnsley Council as the Lessor. 

Berneslai Homes are the managing agent that manages the housing stock owned by Barnsley Council. We’ll carry out some of the functions of the freeholder under the terms of the lease, such as repairs and maintenance and the housing management functions.

Barnsley Council leases are for 125 years from the very first purchase of the council property. The same lease transfers between new leaseholders as the property is assigned (sold). 

The lease will also contain a plan which will show where your building is, and the areas you own or have exclusive use of, and any shared areas.

Your lease sets out the rights and responsibilities of both you as the leaseholder and of the Lessor. It determines what every party should do and when, what you can and can’t do, and what you should pay for.

If you need to contact us, please email leaseholdservice@berneslaihomes.co.uk or call us on 01226 772631 or 01226 772706 and we’ll be happy to help.


Frequently asked questions about leaseholders

Any lease that was first bought before 30 June 2022 has a clause in there to pay £10 per year ground rent. In June 2022, legislation changed and all new leases from that point on have a ‘peppercorn’ rent. We’ll notify you when you should make your ground rent payment by sending you a ground rent demand notice. This is a legal requirement that we have to send to you regardless of if your account is fully paid up or not. The date your annual ground rent starts on is in your lease and is usually either the anniversary of the lease start date, or the 1 April.

You'll be required to pay a variable service charge as a leaseholder. Your lease will confirm what this covers but it is usually a contribution towards the cost of maintaining and repairing the structure of the building (roof, brickwork, gutters etc) as well as any shared areas (corridors, stairwells, paths, gardens etc). It could also include a management fee and a charge for buildings insurance. If the block your flat is in contains internal communal areas, the management and repair of these will also be covered in your service charge, such as lifts, communal cleaning, and electricity for communal spaces. This list is not exhaustive and does not apply to all properties.

The service charge is worked out on a block by block basis. We collate all costs spent on each block throughout the financial year (1 April to 31 March) and then within six months of the financial year end, we’ll provide you with a bill of your share of the costs, which is split equally between the number of properties in your block.  Where necessary under legislation, the accounts will be audited before being sent out to you.

Service charges should be paid immediately, or we will accept direct debit payments providing the full amount is cleared before the next bills will be sent out.

To make a payment, follow this link https://wwwapplications.barnsley.gov.uk/payments and select Housing Rents from the payment type drop down menu.

It is vital that you budget for your service charge as the costs can fluctuate considerably from year to year. It will depend on the number of repairs that have taken place within the year on your block as well as the costs of other services that are charged through the service charge, so we’re unable to give you any indication of costs until the accounts have been prepared. 

You’re responsible for all repairs and maintenance inside your home, and this includes pipes, wires conduits etc that may not be inside your home but serve only your property. You’re also responsible for maintaining gardens or other outdoor spaces that your lease says you must.

You must ask permission to make any alterations to your property. This doesn’t include minor things such as decoration or installing new flooring, but anything structural or that alters the layout/amenities of the property. You should write to us and request permission. We’ll need a plan of the proposed work and we may want to visit your property to carry out a survey. We’ll not unreasonably withhold permission for you to carry out alterations in your property.

Barnsley Council are responsible for maintaining the structure and the shared outside areas, as well as any internal communal spaces. This includes the loft space. No residents of the block are permitted to access the loft space. The cost of these repairs will be passed on through the service charge.

For most of our leasehold properties, the lease states that we must insure the property. For these Barnsley Council have a full Buildings Insurance policy and it is recharged through the service charge.  For the rest of our leasehold properties, the lease states that the council must make sure it covers for fire, lightening and explosion only and so the council self-insures for these perils. This means that there is no policy in place and the council will cover these perils should one of them cause issues with the building. Some leaseholders will buy a ‘top-up’ policy to cover for other items that would be covered by a full policy such as escape of water.

It is your responsibility to obtain your own Contents Insurance.

There is a lot of legislation surrounding leasehold and one of the areas that is covered by legislation is around major works and long-term agreements. If we wish to enter into a contract that is over 12 months and that will cost any one leaseholder more than £100 per year, then we have to consult in advance with any leaseholders who will be affected by the contract. The same goes for any major works that will cost over £250 for any leaseholder. We’ll do this consultation in advance of starting the work and there are strict timescales that we must adhere to. In all cases, leaseholders will get an opportunity to make observations on the proposal, and in some cases, you’ll be able to nominate contractors who we could then try to obtain a quote from.

If we need to carry out major works using a contractor that we have already appointed under a long term agreement, then we will also consult with you. In this instance you would not be able to nominate a contractor, but you will still be able to make observations about the proposed works.

You might be billed separately to your service charge for major works that are covered by section 20 consultation.

If works are urgent, then we will go ahead and start the works and apply for dispensation from carrying out the full process from the First Tier Tribunal.  Wherever possible, we will still notify you about the works in advance.


You can sublet your leasehold property, but you should tell us about it and provide us with a correspondence address where we can contact you and serve notices. To serve notices, this address must be within England and Wales.

You should also keep us up to date with a telephone number and/or email address.

Please remember that our contract remains with the leaseholder, we have no legal contract with your tenant, and you are responsible for making sure your tenant conforms to the terms and conditions of the lease. If there are any issues then it would be the leaseholder that we take action against, not your tenant.

Selling a leasehold flat is known as assigning the lease. You can do this at any time after you have bought the flat, but if you assign the lease within the first five years after the lease was issued then you will have to pay some or all of your Right to Buy discount back.

If you sell the property within the first 10 years after the lease was issued, then you must give Barnsley Council the right of first refusal to buy the property. In the event that Barnsley Council do not wish to buy your property, they will provide you with a certificate to show that you have complied with the condition in the lease in this respect.

Registered address:

10th floor, Gateway Plaza, off Sackville St, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 2RD

Berneslai Homes Limited is a company controlled by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council. A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales, number 4548803