The council has an interest in a number of shared ownership properties, most of which were originally built by the Development Corporation. The majority of the properties are houses but there are a number of flats and bungalows.
By buying a share in the property, the purchaser may pay a mortgage on the purchased share and will pay a rent on the unsold share of the property.
As part of your decision to buy your home, you need to consider the charges we make towards the upkeep of the local estate or block you live in.
A Shared Owner may buy more shares in their property, which is called staircasing, and eventually can own their home outright.
Shared Owners are bound by the conditions of their lease.
A Lease is a legal document that sets out:
• Details of rent and how it is increased
• Arrangements for buying further shares in the property.
• Service charges and buildings insurance (if applicable to your property)
• Your responsibilities
• Our responsibilities
These usually include:
• Paying rent and sometimes service charges (if applicable to your property)
• Maintaining and repairing internal parts of your home including fixtures and fittings. (We have some properties where we maintain some internal parts)
• If you own a house, you are responsible for repairs outside as well
• Getting our written permission before carrying out any structural changes or improvements
Your lease also requires you to:
• Be considerate of neighbours. This may include putting carpets in flats to protect against noise travelling.
• Take care of your own rubbish by leaving it out only on your collection day. Larger items can be taken by the Council but there may be a charge for this service.
• Keep to your own parking bay or designated space if you have one
• Not to leave any abandoned or untaxed vehicles in your own personal space or communal areas.
If you have lost your copy of the lease and you have a mortgage lender, you should contact them. They will normally be able to supply you with a copy. If you do not have a mortgage lender or they are unable to help, please contact the Home Ownership Team on 01908 253705, who will make a charge for supplying you with a copy.
Your rent is due on the 1st of each month and in advance. However we understand that not everyone gets paid on the 1st of each month and so there are several different ways to pay your rent.
You can send a cheque but not cash to Shared Ownership Team
Please ensure that your rent account number is written on the back of your cheque.
To download a Standing Order (DOC, 20KB) form, please click on the link.
For all other methods please see our payments page
You are responsible for paying your rent and service charge monthly in advance.
The terms of your lease set out what services you will receive and what you will have to pay.
Service charges vary with different properties and estates but may include the cost of:
- Communal lighting
- Communal repairs
- Cleaning communal area
- Buildings insurance
- Management fee
Getting behind with payments
If you are having financial difficulties please let us know – please do not ignore the payments on your home – you could risk losing it.
If you find yourself out of work, on long-term sickness or have a change of circumstances you may be able to claim Housing Benefit towards paying your rent. To find out if you are entitled to any Housing Benefit please contact the Housing Benefit team on 01908 253100 or the Citizens Advice Bureau.
We can arrange for a member of staff to visit you in your home to discuss the issue and come to some agreement of how you can reasonably pay off the arrears.
If you do not contact us about your arrears then we will write to you 21 days after the first missing payment, if you do not contact us then we will write again.
If the arrears are outstanding for 3 months then we will write to your mortgage lender for payment.
We may also recover the arrears through court proceedings. In these cases you will have to pay the costs of doing this.
Calculating service charges.
These are estimated and sent to you every May for the following year starting in June. Your service charge will be based on your lease terms.
Generally you will. The responsibilities are detailed in your lease however, we have a number of properties where we maintain part of the property and/or blocks.
Where we are responsible for maintaining the structure and exterior of the building and any common parts, the costs of this are recovered through a service charge, which is in addition to your rent.
Trading Standards are operating a scheme of approved trades, you can view details of the Buy with Confidence and access the list of traders on the Buy with Confidence web page
If the alterations affect the structure of the property, then you must have permission from the Council before you start any work. You need to fill out the alterations form and return it to the address on the form. Our Property Services Department will contact you, in writing, to give our response. An alterations form is available from the Home Ownership Team on 01908 253705.
If your alterations require planning permission you will need to contact the Planning Department on 01908 252358. There may also be a need for Building Regulations, please call 01908 691691 and ask for Building Control.
Not all alterations require our approval, (such as decorating). However, we would always suggest contacting us to check before you start any work.
We do have a consent form for alterations, Alterations to Shared Ownership Properties Form (PDF, 115KB)you can download, complete and return to us.
If you do not have a mortgage or your property is a flat/maisonette then it will need to be insured through the Council. This will be a charge along with your rent.
If your property is a house and you have a mortgage then it needs to be insured through a company of your choice, making sure that your buildings insurance covers the whole rebuild cost and not just your share. The rebuild cost is not related to the value of the property and you should take professional advice on this cost.
If the property is a flat in a block or an over 55s bungalow at Dexter Avenue where you pay the Council service charge and rent, then it is insured by the Council and you pay the premium in the service charge.
If you want to make a claim you will need to contact the claims line on 0800 368 2222.
You can purchase further shares in your property at any time after you have purchased it. You can buy in 10% chunks, based on market value at the time of application.
You will need to complete the Further Share form available from the Home Ownership team on 01908 253705. Please include a cheque for £5 for the valuation (some properties have a slightly higher valuation fee you can check your lease or you will be contacted by the Estates Team if yours is one of them).
Once our Estates Team have received your form they will contact you to arrange a date and time for a valuation to be carried out.
Within two weeks from the valuation being done you will receive a letter stating the valuation of your additional shares. You have six weeks to decide whether or not to go ahead with the purchase and also what additional percentage you wish to buy.
As a Shared Owner you are free to put your property onto the open market with an estate agent of your choice, at an auction or privately.
Once you have accepted an offer, you will need to contact the Home Ownership team on 01908 253705, for a Consent to Assignment form.
You will need to complete the first three sections and the buyer will need to complete the rest and return it to the address on the form.
You should note that the Council will not normally issue consent where a buyer already owns a shared ownership property, is a firm or company, or they intend to rent it to other people.
If you need to amend the names on your rent account, for example marriage, divorce or the death of one of the owners, then you will need to send in copies of the relevant paperwork (i.e. a marriage certificate, death certificate or divorce papers). You should also seek legal advice as to whether there are other steps you should take, particularly where there has been a death.
If however, you want to add or remove a name then you will need to complete a Transfer of Equity form, available from the Home Ownership team on 01908 253705. You will also require legal representation.
You can keep pets in your shared ownership property but you do need to be aware that they must not be a nuisance to neighbours.
Not to cause nuisance to your neighbours is one of the main obligations of your lease, (along with paying your rent). You are responsible for the behaviour of your family and visitors to your home. All our residents have the right to live peacefully in their homes and we expect people to show consideration to their neighbours.
If you do have an issue with your neighbour, we recommend that neighbours attempt to solve problems between themselves in the first instance. If it is proved that persistent nuisance/anti social behaviour is being caused, we will pass the information to our anti social behaviour team who will then contact you to arrange an interview.
You do have the right to take your own legal action against neighbours causing a nuisance. For further advice contact:
· The Citizens Advice Bureau
· The Environmental Health Department
· A solicitor – names can be obtained from The Law Society.
Last Updated: 21 September 2021