COUNCIL bosses are planning changes to the way council flats are sold off under Right to Buy, bringing higher service charges and tighter rules for new homeowners.

The council is drawing up a new leasehold agreement for people who buy flats in council blocks, and it will apply to new buyers and anyone extending their current leasehold.

Cllr Jenny Brooks, the executive member for housing and safer communities, who will be asked to approve the move, said: “The council is seeking to give greater clarity and parity between tenants and leaseholders. Equally, addressing parking on council housing land will ensure that irresponsible drivers are prevented from parking illegally.”

A report produced by council head of housing Denis Southall says that when the existing lease was first drawn up, the council knew very little about how to sells its assets, or how to manage leasehold properties.

Now that City of York manages more than 500 leasehold properties staff have much greater knowledge, and plans to bring the leasehold agreement into line with council tenancy agreements - so that the rules are the same on things like pet ownerships for tenants and owners who live in the same block.

The changes will also let the council recover costs for things like managing anti-social behaviour - putting service charges up for people on the new leasehold agreements.

However, the report says that tight rules around changing existing leases mean it is unlikely they will be able to bring the new contract in for existing owners.

Cllr Brooks is also being asked to sign off on new rules about parking charges on council housing land.

Officials want to stop using private company Minster Baywatch to enforce parking rules on land around council houses, and instead get the authority’s own parking department to take over the job. At the same time, they are planning to bring in charges for parking permits - which will start off at half the price of other parking permits across the city and increasing to the same level over time.