Things you can and can’t do in a leasehold flat

According to the website, there were an estimated 4.86 million leasehold dwellings in England in 2020-21, and 71% of these were flats.

This article will explain what a leasehold flat is, as well as what you can and can’t do whilst living in one.

What are leasehold flats and rules?

Leasehold is the term for when you don’t own the land of which the property you’re living in is built on, but rather you lease it from the freeholder or landlord.

Most flats are sold as leasehold properties – an individual occupant cannot own the freehold of the flat as the land where the building is constructed on is shared with other occupants.

Get a license

If you’re planning to make any big alterations to your new flat, a License to Alter is usually required. This means you will need the freeholder’s written and form consent to undergo the proposed work.

These typical types of building work include creating new openings within a wall, changing windows or glazing and adding en-suites.

Any plans must require thorough detail before submitting your application, and this will be checked over by your landlord’s surveyors, in which you will be responsible for any associated costs.

Home improvements

Perhaps you’re unable to make any large alterations within your flat, but are eager to implement some home improvements to really make the space your own.

Why not paint your walls a fresh colour, mount your TV onto the wall for a modern look and change up your curtains?

You’ll need a scraper to remove any old wallpaper, or perhaps some new plants to refresh your whole flat. Small changes can really make an impact, allowing you to reinvent your living space.


Many leasehold flats typically don’t allow pets, as landlords are often reluctant in case of any potential damage caused to the property.

It’s important to check with your freeholder beforehand – you may need to get approval from them or whoever manages your flat.

However, your tenancy agreement should state whether you’re allowed pets or not, so ensure to read this carefully before signing the lease.


If you’re living in a leasehold flat, you may not be able to run a business from home. As more people have began working from home and are wanting to become their own boss, living in a leasehold may create a disadvantage for you.

Many leases will include restrictions on how you can use your property, and some prohibit business use. It is therefore super important to check the terms of your lease and acquire the necessary consent from your landlord first before making any plans.


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