Leaseholders & Shared Owners
Welcome to our leasehold section for existing shared owners and leaseholders. Here you’ll find useful information about being a home owner.
Your lease is a legal contract between you and asra Housing Group. It is an important document so you should read it carefully and keep it safe. As the leaseholder it is important that you understand your legal responsibilities and your lease.
The lease will tell you:
- how long the lease is for
- title ownership details and date
- recovery of property in fraud/arrears/forfeiture/anti-social behaviour
- mortgage protection and arrears recovery
- how we calculate your rent, and rent review
- what is included in the service charges, including third party charges we can recharge for
- if ground rent is charged
- what you are responsible for
- staircasing - buying a greater share of your property
- selling your property
- maintenance and repairs responsibilities of both parties
- landlord access
- making alterations to your property
- subletting restrictions
- estate or building regulations
- whether you may keep pets.
We can provide you with a copy of your lease for a small administration fee. Alternatively, your mortgage lender or your solicitor will usually hold a copy of your lease.
As a shared owner you can purchase additional shares to increase the percentage of a property you own. This is known as staircasing. The first step is to ask us to send you an information pack as this also has the forms you need to apply. Contact us to ask for one.
Your lease will tell you how and when you can buy more shares. Most leases allow you to buy more shares, but in minimum stages of 10% until you own 100% of your home. As you staircase and your share in your property increases, your rent payment to us reduces and possibly your service charges.
If you buy all the remaining equity in the property you will:
- Become the freeholder if you live in a house, or stay as a leaseholder if you live in a flat
- You will no longer pay rent, but you will pay ground rent (if this applies) and service charges.
The cost of additional shares is based on the current market value. So your first step is to find a surveyor to value your home.
You will need to complete the ‘Notice to Staircase’ form and send a cheque to cover the cost of a surveyor.
Once we’ve received your form we’ll pass your details to a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) qualified valuer who will contact you to arrange to undertake a valuation of your property. You will be responsible for arranging a convenient time for the valuation to take place.
We’ll instruct the surveyor to ensure their valuation does not include the value of any improvements you may have made to your home that we have given permission for. The valuation is valid for a set time (usually three months).
A copy of the valuation report will be sent to you to be reviewed, along with confirmation from us of the price of the shares you wish to buy, and your monthly rent and service charges. Once you receive the valuation, you must decide whether to go ahead or not. If you want to go ahead you must arrange the money you need to buy the extra share. You should choose a solicitor to act for you and send us your ‘Staircasing confirmation’ form. When we receive your form we will instruct our solicitors to act on our behalf. You should allow six to eight weeks from us receiving your form to the staircasing being finished. Once the staircasing is finished, we will update our records and tell you about any changes in your rent and ground rent.
We want to ensure you can afford the cost of applying for extra shares and the increased mortgage payment. So we’ll ask you to complete an independent financial assessment prior to issuing the legal paperwork for your staircase. You won’t need to have a financial assessment if you are making your final staircase to own 100% of your home.
As part of the staircasing process you will be responsible for paying for:
- the valuation fee
- our staircasing fee
- your own solicitors fees.
You may also need to pay stamp duty and any potential mortgage costs. Your solicitor and mortgage advisor can help you calculate these.
If you intend to fund your purchase of additional shares with a mortgage we would advise you to seek independent mortgage advice, as soon as possible. Please ensure that you are financially capable of covering all costs throughout this process.
How long will it take?
On average the process will take three months.