Your guide to Home Ownership, Leasehold and Freehold

What is home ownership?
If you have bought a property in a shared block on a JMB estate, or if you have bought a house that receives services from the JMB and the Council, then you will have bought your property under a legal arrangement and you are known as leaseholder or freeholder. This means that you have a contract between yourselves and Southwark Council which sets out the responsibilities on both sides, known as a Lease or a Deed of Covenant.

The Lease
The Lease is a legal contract that sets out the landlord and Lessee’s Rights, Obligations and Responsibilities, typically for a period of 125 years from the date of completion of the sale.  Dependant on the year of the sale under the Right to Buy initiative lease terms can vary per property, however the original lease terms remain in place regardless of subsequent assignments of the title during the 125-year term.

As well as Leasehold, the JMB also manages Freehold contracts known as Deed of Covenants. Unlike the Lease, this contract is between the original purchaser and the Landlord only; therefore, a contract known as a Transfer of Part is entered into by any subsequent assignments of the title and the Landlord.

For all of the JMBs residential portfolio, Southwark Council is the Superior Landlord and Leathermarket JMB are the managing agent.

Landlord responsibilities

Homeowner responsibilities
As the homeowner, you have a number of responsibilities. These are to:

The council’s responsibilities
Southwark council have retained a number of direct responsibilities. These include:

The JMB’s responsibilities
Certain responsibilities are delegated from the landlord to the JMB in a Management Agreement. The JMB is called the “managing agent”.

Our constitution says that the JMB operates for the benefit of members (no distinction between homeowners and tenants).

Currently 3 of our 10 elected directors are leaseholders. This reflects the balance between leaseholders and tenants on our estates.

As well as the Estate Management, Leathermarket JMB now directly provide various homeowner services. These include:


Also a Making alterations to your home section:-

If you are intending on making alterations to your home, you’ll need to seek permission for certain alterations as per the terms of your lease or freehold transfer agreement. This is in addition to any planning and/or building control approval that may be required.

Please seek advice from the JMB before undertaking alterations. Completing alterations without obtaining consent may result in you having to reinstate the work and/or be subject to breach of lease proceedings. For information on the Permission to Alter process:


If the property is going to be let, the leaseholder should make sure that the tenant’s comply with the terms of the lease.  The council’s insurers will provide full cover for the property on their usual terms.

The leaseholder will still remain responsible for payment of the service charges and if they want the invoices to be sent to a different address, they must notify the Resident Services team.  If the property is to be sublet, the leaseholder should provide the JMB with a contact telephone number in case emergency access is required to the property.

We advise leaseholders to contact the Private Sector Housing using the details below to find out whether they need a HMO or Selective License:

To apply online please go to

What homeowners pay for
Generally, home owners contribute to any communal block or estate works paid for by the JMB and the council by way of service charges. Examples of services charges: