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Taking ownership of your windows

Leaseholders can take ownership of the windows in their flat by entering into a Deed of Variation (DOV) with the council.

The DOV is a legal document that records agreed changes to the lease made between the council and the leaseholder to transfer responsibility of future repair, maintenance and renewal of the window frames in your flat from the freeholder (Islington Council) to the leaseholder (you). The council will therefore no longer be under an obligation to maintain the window frames in your flat.

Following completion of the DOV, your lease will continue to place an obligation on the council to maintain the structure of the remainder of the building, which would include all other window frames in the building, except the window frames in your flat (and any other window frames where leaseholders have a DOV). You will still be legally liable to pay your share of these costs. However, it is current council policy that you only contribute towards the costs for windows in communal areas in the building. Please note this is a policy, it may change in the future and, if it does, you may also have to pay your share of the costs relating to any other windows in the building (except in those flats where leaseholders also have a DOV).

Permission will be granted if:

  • the correct fee is paid
  • there is no known breach of lease (eg. no service charge arrears, no unpaid admin or legal fees, no unauthorised alterations or non-registered sublet)
  • the property is below the sixth floor
  • in cases where the council is planning major works to replace or repair the windows in your building, your application for a deed of variation (including the fee) is received by Home Ownership Services by the section 20 (notice of estimates) consultation deadline.

How to apply

Write to Home Ownership Services asking for a Deed of Variation to take ownership of the windows in your flat. Home Ownership will advise you of the correct fee to be paid online.

Pay window ownership fee

When you receive the Deed of Variation, you must register the deed at the Land Registry. The Land Registry will charge for this service. You are advised to seek legal advice about this.

Replacing your windows

If in future you decide to replace your windows you will need to do the following.

  • Choose your windows from a FENSA-approved installer. These should usually match the appearance of the windows in the rest of the building.
  • Contact the council’s Planning Department to check if planning permission is needed, and obtain permission if required. This is required for a wide range of developments including minor alterations that may affect the appearance or use of buildings or land.
  • You may also need to apply to the council's Building Control department for approval under building regulations.
  • If you live in a conservation area additional considerations may apply.

You will also need to consider the following:

  • Additional fees for planning permission and Building Control approval.
  • It may cost you more to replace your windows than through the council as you will have to pay for all your scaffolding costs (if required) and will not get the benefits of economies of scale that the council can achieve with contractors.

Retrospective Permission

If you have already replaced your windows without obtaining landlord’s permission from Home Ownership Services, this is a breach of lease and you must apply for retrospective permission. Please contact your Leasehold Officer in Home Ownership Services for further information.

If you decide to sell your property it is likely you will need to provide evidence to the purchaser that you have obtained the correct permission for any works carried out. You may not be able to complete the sale of your property until retrospective permission has been applied for and granted.


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