Shared ownership is a government-backed scheme for people who can’t currently buy a home at full market value. It's helped many first-time buyers get onto the property ladder.
It’s a part buy/part rent scheme where you buy a share in the property and pay rent on the share you don’t own. Shared owners can buy further shares of their home after the first year which help them move up to full ownership.
If you’re a shared owner with us, you can use this page to find out more about service charges, repairs, and other details about shared ownership. If you can't find what you're looking for on this page, get in touch with our customer service team who will be happy to help.
As a shared owner, your service charge goes directly towards the cost to deliver communal and shared services to your building, and in some cases, surrounding estate. Maintenance and repairs within your home, are your responsibility. To find out more about service charges, visit our Service Charge page.
Support when you need it
Life doesn’t always go to plan, and sometimes unforeseen circumstances can set us back. If you’re struggling to pay your rent, please let us know as soon as you can, we have various ways we can support you.
Our Tenancy Support team can provide advice and guidance on a number of things, such as accessing benefits, state pension, and budget advice. You can find out more on the Tenancy Support page.
Repairs and maintenance
As a shared owner, you are responsible for the cost of repairs and maintenance in your home. And as your landlord, we're responsible for repairs to communal areas, as well as:
- Lifts and door entry systems
- Fire safety equipment
- Roofs, outside walls, window frames, gutters and down pipes, drains
- Pumped water systems for your building
When we provide repairs and maintenance work to communal areas, you will be recharged a proportion of the cost in accordance with your lease.
If you need to report a communal repair, get in touch with our customer service team.
The great thing about purchasing more shares is that your rental costs will reduce. This is called staircasing.
Shared owners may increase their share of their home after one year of occupancy. Residents must purchase a minimum of 10% additional shares unless the lease specifies otherwise. The final staircase to full ownership must be at least 10%, if your lease allows.
When a shared owner wishes to increase their share in their home, they will need an independent RICS qualified valuer to complete valuation. Staircasing is timely and is led by the shared owner.
To make sure that the purchase reflects current market conditions, the valuation is valid for three months from the date that we receive the valuation. If it goes over three months, a new valuation will be required. The shared owner will be responsible for the cost of this valuation and for their own legal costs and will be expected to complete within this three-month period.
When seeking legal advice, we won't recommend a solicitor, but we do advise using a solicitor that's familar with shared ownership.
We will amend the rent payment according to the new monthly charge. Once a shared owner buys 100% of the home, ownership passes to them and relevant deeds must be signed in accordance with standing orders. We will ensure that new outright owners are aware of their ongoing responsibility for communal areas in line with their lease obligations and for the payment of any service charges and other payments.
Buy Backs or ‘reverse staircasing’
Buy backs are designed to allow in exceptional circumstances, a shared owner to remain in their home by selling some of their shares back to us to reduce their mortgage to a more affordable and sustainable level, whilst still paying rent.
Buy backs are not a right. The decision to allow buy backs is at our discretion, and it is not something we offer.
Requests to sublet
Subletting or short term lets such as Airbnb is generally not permitted in shared ownership homes unless your lease says otherwise. This is because shared ownership homes are built with government funding and we must make sure that residents who benefit from this funding are not using their home to make money.
We may consider a subletting request under extremely exceptional circumstances at its absolute discretion for a limited period of time:
- Employment/job relocation – if a shared owner accepts a work secondment to a different location which requires them to temporarily relocate and they would lose their job if the proposition is not accepted
- Caring for an immediate relative – if the shared owner is the next of kin or sole carer for a relative and needs to provide full-time care (at least 30 hours per week)
- Remedial building safety work is required on the building meaning that the property is unable to be sold or is unmortgageable
The initial period considered will be up to 12 months and timescales will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Each shared ownership lease will be for a fixed period (generally 125 years). The length of the lease goes down over time. If the home is sold the original lease is passed to the new owner rather than a new lease created.
Under current law shared owners do not have a statutory right to extend their lease but we will generally consider such requests through an informal route. The lease extension will be subject to payment of the relevant premium (the price of the extension) and our costs.
When exercising these options, the shared owner will be responsible for meeting their own legal costs as well as any registration and administration costs. We will charge an adminstration fee.
Resales and outright sales
Shared owners must let us know if they intend to sell their home. In accordance with the lease, we can assist in the sale of shared ownership properties where the percentage owned by the shared owner is less than 100%. We will consider requests on a case by case basis.
We are likely to forgo our nomination period and advise you to go to the open market directly, however, in the case that we take responsibility for resales, we will obtain a market value for the property using an independent RICS qualified valuer. We will try to find a buyer for the percentage share owned, within the nomination period (where one is provided) as set out in the lease. Where there is no nomination period, we will market the share with the agreement of the shared owner. To cover our marketing and administrative costs, a fee will be applied.
Prospective purchasers for shared ownership resales must meet the Homes England criteria (read more here) for low cost ownership in place at the time of purchase. In addition, the property should be purchased as their only and principal home.
If no purchaser has been identified in the nomination period, the shared owner is wholly responsible for marketing and selling their share of the property on the open market. The advert should make clear that it is a shared ownership property and make clear the associated costs (i.e. monthly occupancy charge, service charges and any other fees). The property should be marketed at the value stated on the RICS valuation and shared owners should sell at no more than this value. Shared owners have the option to sell with outright ownership (unless the lease prohibits this) by staircasing to 100% ownership and selling at the same time. This is known as a ‘back to back’ sale. Additional fees will be charged for this process. In this situation the property may be sold for higher than the RICS valuation. The shared owner will be required to pay us at the same rate for the share that we own.