When you purchase a flat, you buy a lease from the council which gives you the right to occupation and use of the property for an agreed period of time. At the end of the lease period the dwelling will revert back to the council unless the lease is renewed or extended. This type of ownership is called leasehold.
Council flats are usually sold on a 125 year lease. The lease is a legal contract between you ‘the leaseholder’ and the council ‘the landlord. It contains details of the property, including a map showing your property, the block it is in, the estate where the block is located, and any garden or other amenities included in the sale. The lease explains your rights and obligations, as well as those of the Council.
Ownership consists of everything within the property including the floorboards, plastering to the walls and ceilings and all items that serve the property alone. The Council continues to own the block, including the exterior structure of the flat.
You can download these useful factsheets for further information: