This section aims to provide all the information you need if you are, or are thinking of becoming a shared owner.
Shared Owners are people who have purchased an equity share in a shared ownership property and pay rent on the remaining share.
Shared Owners rights and responsibilities are outlined in their Lease. The Lease is a contract which sets out the terms and conditions to be observed by both you and South Staffordshire Housing Association. It will state the obligations in relation to paying rent and service charges, maintaining the property and describe the arrangements for purchasing additional shares in your home (known as staircasing).
Although you have not purchased the property outright, you have all the normal rights and responsibilities of a full owner occupier. You are, therefore, advised to ask your legal adviser as well as South Staffordshire Housing Association if there are terms you do not understand.
A shared ownership website is currently being developed for people interested in finding out more.
Shared ownership residents (or Leaseholders) can obtain free legal advice regarding their lease from the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) at www.lease-advice.org or by telephoning them on 020 7374 5380. This service is government-funded and completely free.
Your share in the property has been sold to you on a long leasehold basis, the association owns the remaining share and you pay a rent to us for this. The level of rent takes into account the fact that you have responsibility for repairs.
The rent is then reviewed annually and increased in line with the rate of inflation on the first Monday in April each year. (The rate of inflation is taken as at the previous September.) You will be notified of the revised rent at least 28 days prior to it becoming effective.
If you live in an apartment there will be a service charge payable for services provided for communal areas such as cleaning, gardening, lighting, maintenance of communal areas etc. The service charge may also include the buildings insurance and management charge etc.
We expect you to pay the rent on time and we have a fair, fast but firm procedure for preventing and recovering rent arrears. We understand that everyone has financial difficulties or family problems from time to time. We are here to help.
The rent is due to be paid on the first day of each month for the month ahead. Paying your rent and mortgage is your priority. If you dont pay your rent or mortgage, you could lose the roof over your head.
We want to make paying the rent as easy as possible for you so we recommend that you pay your rent by Direct Debit. Using this method your rent is paid direct to us from your bank account. When your rent increases each year, your payments will increase automatically, making this a "hassle free" option. However, you are in control and can cancel the Direct Debit if you want to by contacting your bank.
As a shared owner you are responsible for all repairs to your property.
The only exceptions are:
New Properties: If your property is new, the building contractor will be responsible for all defects during a defects liability period - usually a period of 12 months from the date the property was handed over to South Staffordshire Housing Association.
Apartments: If you live in an apartment, you are responsible for all internal repairs and maintenance works and we are responsible for repair and maintenance of the structure of the building. If you notice that a repair is required to the structure of the building or to any communal area, please report it direct to us on 0844 800 5150.
If your financial circumstances allow, you may purchase further equity shares (known as staircasing).
You will need to give notice in writing of your intention to staircase and the notice will only be valid if:
If you wish to consider purchasing further equity shares contact us on 0844 800 5150 to enquire what the fee will be for an independent valuation of the property and the current value of the staircasing administration fee.
Some shared ownership schemes do not allow outright purchase (for instance in rural areas where housing is at a premium and the local authority wishes to ensure that low-cost home ownership is maintained for local people). In this case, it is usually possible to purchase up to 80% of the equity, but the property will remain leasehold and a small amount of rent plus a management charge will still be payable. If your apartment is within a sheltered housing scheme, you will be restricted to a maximum purchase of 75%, however, no rent would be payable on the remaining 25%.
Selling your property can, sometimes, be a complicated and stressful procedure. If you are thinking of moving home and selling your shared ownership property, we can be of assistance to both you and your prospective purchaser.
Your Lease contains a clause that stipulates that South Staffordshire Housing Association has the right to nominate a purchaser if you wish to sell your property.
We will have a limited amount of time (normally six weeks) in which it has "first refusal" to nominate a purchaser. You should always contact us in the first instance to enquire about this.
Homebuy Zone Agent
If your shared ownership property was developed or obtained by South Staffordshire Housing Association using Social Housing Grant (SHG), the property must be offered for sale via the relevant zone agent. Please contact us to establish whether or not this is the case for your property.
We keep a register of everyone who contacts us enquiring about shared ownership accommodation. When you contact us to let us know you wish to sell your property, we may be able to put you in touch with prospective purchasers from the register. This might mean that the property does not need to be marketed through an estate agent and can save you having to pay estate agents fees.
Marketing Your Property
If none of the above apply and you do not already have a private buyer, you may decide to market your property through an estate agent.
If this is the case, you need to inform us of the name, address and telephone number of the agent and the asking price for your share of the property, as well as the name and address of the solicitor you intend to use. You must inform the agent that the property is shared ownership, the percentage share that you own, the current rent and amount of any service charge due each month.
You must also inform the agent of the eligibility criteria for shared ownership such as:
The decision in all cases rests with South Staffordshire Housing Association and therefore the agent must ensure that the prospective purchasers circumstances fit the above criteria. If the circumstances are not as listed, the agent must contact us for verification that an offer to purchase can be accepted.
Once you have accepted an offer to purchase your property, you must inform us of the name and address of the prospective purchaser. We will send a New-Build Homebuy application form to the prospective purchaser and, upon receipt of the completed form, will carry out various checks to ensure that they are a suitable candidate for shared ownership. The checks include eligibility, identity and income checks, as well as credit, mortgage, landlord and employment references.
If the prospective purchaser is not suitable, we will confirm this in writing and you must advise the agent to re-market the property. If the prospective purchaser is suitable, we will confirm this in writing and you can instruct your solicitor accordingly.
We have shared ownership schemes in:
You can also visit The HomeBuy Agents website for details of all shared ownership schemes across the West Midlands.