Your lease

Your lease

If you purchased your home on a leasehold basis or through shared ownership, Onward act as your landlord and/or managing agent. Your lease is a legally binding documents which defines both yours and Onward’s responsibilities.  

When purchasing your home, your Solicitor will provide you with a copy of the lease which should be kept safe. If you don’t have a copy of your lease, you can ask your Solicitor, complete a Land Registry Search for land and property information, or request a copy from Onward (fees apply).

Click the topics below for more information on your lease.


Each lease is different, so you should always refer to it for information specific to your home.   

At Onward, we are responsible for providing buildings insurance and where the lease outlines, maintaining communal and exterior areas as well as administering a service charge and reserve fund. 

As a leaseholder, you are responsible for: 

  • maintaining the interior of your home 
  • requesting permission to do certain things, such as home improvements and alterations, subletting and having pets 
  • not doing anything which may cause nuisance to others 
  • paying your rent, service charges and contributing to a reserve fund   

Where your lease outlines, you may also be responsible for: 

  • maintaining the exterior of your home  
  • repairs to the interior and exterior of your home 
  • paying the service charge and/or ground rent 

Lease terminology explained

Your lease may include some unfamiliar words, so we have provided a description of what they mean below.  

  • Demise or demised premises 

Your lease sets out what you own, which is known as the ‘demise’ or ‘demised premises’. 

If you live in an apartment for example, you may own everything within but none of the exterior, as communal areas and green spaces are usually for shared use by all occupants. So, the apartment would be your demised premises.  

  • Reserve fund or sinking fund 

If Onward is responsible for maintaining any elements of the building you live in, including communal areas or green spaces, you will be responsible for the cost of major works such as a roof replacement.  

Your lease allows us to collect funds from you that will be placed in a ‘reserve fund’ or ‘sinking fund’ to cover the cost of these works in advance of them being carried out. 

  • Lessor and Lessee 

Onward is classed as the ‘lessor’, as your landlord or freeholder. 

You are classed as the ‘lessee’, as the leaseholder or property owner. 

  • Easement 

Where needed, an ‘easement’ will be granted to you within your lease.   

For example, if you need to use a pathway that you do not own to access your property, your lease will include an ‘easement’. 

  • Covenant 

A ‘covenant’ is an obligation from one party to the other.   

For example, a ‘covenant’ may be in place whereby Onward is obliged to provide buildings insurance and you are obliged to pay a service charge. 

  • Service charge 

If we perform duties or provide services which incur costs, we will recover the cost from you via a service charge 

Extending your lease

When purchasing your home through a leasehold arrangement, you will have the right to occupy it for a set number of years. This is known as ‘the term’ which is normally over a 99- or 125-year period.  

Most leaseholders choose to extend their lease when the term drops below 80 years, however you can extend at any time. Under Leasehold Legislation, you have the statutory right to extend your lease for an addition 90 years. For example, if your lease has 70 years left and you choose to extend, the term will increase to 160 years.  

Should you not wish to extend your lease, at the end of the term you will hand your property back to Onward.   

If you are a shared owner, the right to extension does not apply. Please find more information on extending your lease within the ‘Shared ownership’ topic below 

Permission requests

Your lease outlines that you must request permission to do certain things, such as home improvements and alterations, subletting and having pets.  

Home improvements and alterations 

If you are making minor improvements or alterations to your home, such as decorating, replacing doors or flooring, you won’t need to request permission from us. 

Before making any major improvements or alterations to your home, you will need to request permission. This can include:  

  • Replacing windows, external doors, fitted kitchens or bathrooms 
  • Internal structural alterations, such as removing a wall to create an open plan area 
  • Any work to the gas, electric or water supply to your home 
  • Building an extension, conservatory, garage or similar structure – please note, we will not give permission for any of these works if the land you wish to build on is communal.  

If you are unsure about whether you need permission, please contact us first to check before committing to any works. 

To submit a permission request for home improvements and alterations, please fill in the below form and email it to


We will review your permission request and will not withhold permission unreasonably. The following conditions apply to all permission requests:  

  • Copies of planning permission and documentation in line with building regulations will need to be provided. 
  • Any work carried out should be done so to an acceptable standard by a suitably qualified tradesperson with relevant insurances in place. 
  • We may carry out an inspection prior to the work commencing and after the work is completed. If we find the work has not been carried out to an acceptable standard, you may be required to either return the property to its original condition or pay the costs associated with us doing so. 
  • Should the work result in damage to communal or external areas, you will be responsible for returning areas to their original state. 


Your lease specifies whether, with consent from Onward, you can sublet your home. This means renting it out to someone else. 

If your lease allows and you would like to sublet your home, you will need to request permission and pay a fee 

If we grant permission, our relationship will continue with you as the leaseholder, and you must ensure that your tenant/s comply with the terms of your lease. If your tenant/s breach the terms of your lease, we will act against you as the leaseholder. We will not liaise directly with your tenant/s.  

If your lease prohibits subletting, we will not grant you permission. If you illegally sublet your home, we will take appropriate legal action. 

To submit a permission request for subletting, please fill in the below form and email it to



Your lease will specify whether pets are allowed in your home.

If your lease allows and you would like to keep a pet in your home, you will need to request permission and pay a fee. You will also need to request permission if your lease does not mention pets.  Please note, we can withdraw permission to keep a pet at any time and will always withdraw permission where pets cause a nuisance.

If your lease prohibits pets, we will not grant you permission. If you already have a pet, you will need to rehome it; for which we will allow a reasonable amount of time.

To submit a permission request for pets, please fill in the below form and email it to


Video doorbells and CCTV

If you wish to install video doorbells or CCTV, you will need to request permission before doing so. We will not give permission to install video doorbells or CCTV where your door leads onto an internal communal area, will be intrusive to neighbouring homes/communal areas, or is deemed to be causing a nuisance.

If you have already installed a video doorbell or CCTV without our permission, we ask that you remove it until a permission request has been approved.

To submit a permission request for video doorbells or CCTV, please email

Shared ownership

Extending your shared ownership lease 

Guidance on responsibilities and permission requests for shared owners is the same as outlined above, however there are some differences when extending your shared ownership lease 

When purchasing your home through shared ownership, you will have agreed to a leasehold arrangement which provides you with the right to occupy it for a set number of years. This is known as ‘the term’ which is normally over a 99- or 125-year period. 

We provide opportunities for shared owners to extend their lease on a discretionary basis via either a statutory or informal route. 

If you are interested in the informal route, please contact us for more information. 

How to buy more shares of your shared ownership home 

If you purchased your home through a shared ownership scheme, you can purchase more shares over time which is known as ‘staircasing’.  

Depending on your lease, you may be able to staircase up to 100%, meaning you will own your home outright. Some leases restrict staircasing to a maximum percentage, so please check your lease.  

If you are interested purchasing more shares, please explore our staircasing process and contact us for more information.   

Selling your shared ownership home 

We know that for a variety of reasons, you may eventually wish to sell your shared ownership home. 

If you are thinking about selling your shared ownership home, please contact us and let us know so we can provide you with guidance and instructions on what happens next. Telling us as early as possible will help to eliminate any problems or delays to the process.