Shared owners

Helping you get the most out of living in a shared ownership home.

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As a shared owner, you own a share of your home and pay rent on the rest.

What is shared ownership?

Shared ownership is a scheme designed to help you buy a home of your own. It’s an ideal option for people who cannot afford to buy a property outright, because you buy a share of the property and pay a subsidised rent on the rest of it. 

What is a shared ownership lease?

Your shared ownership lease is a contract between you, the leaseholder, and GreenSquareAccord, the landlord.

Your lease is a legal document that explains your rights and responsibilities, and ours as your landlord. It includes other important information too, such as who is responsible for maintaining your home.

It’s really important you read your lease and get to know it, as it contains a lot of information about what you can and can’t do to your property. 

You’ll have received a copy of your lease when you bought your home. Your mortgage company and solicitor will also have copies, and you can get a copy from Land Registry.

How do I add a name to my lease or remove someone?

If you want to add or remove someone from your lease, you’ll need to instruct a solicitor to do that for you. Your solicitor will let us know once the process is finished, so we can update our records. 

Can I have a lodger or sublet my home?

Under the terms of the scheme, your shared ownership property must be your principal home. Your lease doesn’t allow you to rent out or sublet your home unless there are exceptional circumstances. Please contact us if that’s the case. 

You may be able to rent a room to a lodger, as long as you’re living in the property. Please let us know first so we can check the terms of your lease. 

If your lease does allow you to have a lodger, you won’t be able to give them a formal tenancy agreement as that’s not permitted in your lease. You may also need to get permission from your mortgage company and provide us with proof of their agreement. 

When your lodger moves in, you’ll need to tell HMRC as the extra income could affect any benefits you receive. 

Please remember that if you sublet your home, you will be breaking the terms of your lease and we can take legal action against you. 

Can I change or improve my home?

You don’t need our permission to decorate your home. You can paint the walls, put up picture frames or change the carpets without telling us.

But if you’re planning major alterations or improvements, you may need our written permission before you start work. Your lease may prevent you from making alterations to the exterior of your property, such as adding an extension, so you need to check with us before you begin any work. 

Examples of work that needs our approval include:

  • building a conservatory or extension
  • changing the heating or electrics
  • changing or painting your front door
  • replacing flooring if you live in a flat
  • replacing windows

You may also need planning permission or buildings regulations approval from your local authority. If that’s the case, our Home Ownership team will need to see copies of any letters you receive from your local council approving your plans before we can give our permission.

Who is responsible for repairing and maintaining my home?

If you’re a shared owner of a house, you’re responsible for all repairs and maintenance inside and outside your home. 

If you’re a shared owner of a flat, you’re responsible for all repairs inside your home. We look after the structure of the building and communal areas. You can find more information on our flat owners page.

If your property was built after 2021, you may be able to claim up to £500 per year to help you pay for some repairs and maintenance through the government’s Affordable Homes Programme 2021-2026. Please contact us for more details.

What insurance do I need as a shared owner? 

It’s important that you have contents insurance for your home. Contents insurance covers you if your personal possessions are broken, damaged or stolen. This includes items such as furniture, carpets, TVs and laptops. 

It’s your responsibility to arrange contents insurance for your home – we don’t provide you with contents insurance cover. 

We’re responsible for arranging buildings insurance for your home. This insurance covers any structural damage to your property, for example, fire or flood damage. You pay us for buildings insurance cover as part of your service charge.

How can I make a buildings insurance claim?

Our buildings insurance will cover you if the structure of the building is damaged. For example, if your home is damaged by fire or a burst water pipe.

If you need to make a claim, you’ll need to contact our insurance provider directly. We’re covered by a company called Gallagher and you can reach them on 01245 341 200. When you speak to Gallagher, let them know you’re insured under GreenSquareAccord’s property policy.

You will need to pay the insurance company an excess premium when you make a claim. The excess payment amount can vary, so please ask Gallagher to confirm how much excess you’ll need to pay when you enquire about making a claim. 

If your home is affected by a water leak from a neighbouring flat, you need to contact the owner of the flat and ask them to resolve the issue. You can get in touch with us for help if you can’t get hold of them. You may be covered for repairing the damage and decoration inside your flat under our buildings insurance policy, so you should also contact our insurance Gallagher to make a claim.

What does my service charge cover? 

As part of your lease, you may have to pay us ground rent and service charges. You can find more information about these charges and what they cover in our rent and service charges section.

Can I re-mortgage my shared ownership home?

You’ll need to send us a copy of your revised mortgage offer and get our permission if you want to re-mortgage your home. 

The amount of your new mortgage can’t be more than the market value of the share in your home, which means you can’t borrow more than your property is worth. 

Can I buy my home?

Most shared owners can usually buy their homes outright. There are some exceptions, for example, in some rural areas where the percentage you can buy is capped.

If you’re thinking about buying your home, contact our Home Ownership team and we’ll talk through the process with you. 

Can I buy more shares in my property?

You can usually buy more shares in your property until you own 100% of your home. This process is called staircasing. 

When you staircase, you buy the extra share in the property at the current market value. 

The more of your home you own, the less rent you’ll pay us each month. You only pay rent on the percentage of your home you don’t own. 

If you staircase to own 100% of your home, you’ll no longer pay us rent and you’ll no longer be an assured tenant. If you also pay us a service charge, you may still need to pay this. 

Sometimes there might be restrictions on how many shares you can buy. This can happen in areas where there’s a shortage of shared ownership homes and the local authority wants to make sure your home always stays as a shared ownership property.

How does the staircasing process work?

You can staircase up to three times after you buy your first share. Your lease will explain how much you can staircase by each time. Usually, it’s between 5% and 25% at a time, but you may be able to buy shares of 1% each year for the first 15 years for some properties if they were built under the 2021-2026 Affordable Housing Programme. 

If you have bought a home that is not brand new, you will need to check if any previous owners have already bought extra shares, as you can only staircase three times for each property. If any previous owners have staircased once before, you may only staircase another two times.

If you’re not buying a brand-new home, you may not be able to buy more shares until three months after you have bought your first share.

When you begin the staircasing process, we’ll ask a valuer who is registered with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or the Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers (ISVA) to independently assess the current market value of your home. The value of the share you own will be based on this assessment. Alternatively, you can provide us with a RICS or ISVA valuation to start the process. We can’t accept valuations from estate agents. 

If you would like us to arrange the valuation for you, you’ll need to fill in a valuation form and pay for this service before we instruct the valuer. If you decide not to go ahead after the valuation has been carried out, you will not be refunded for the valuer’s fees. 

Any improvements you’ve made to your home will be accounted for as part of the valuer’s assessment. The cost of any improvements won’t be deducted from the valuation. 

Once the valuation is completed, we will confirm the value and cost of buying more shares in your property. If you’re happy to proceed, we’ll ask you to provide your solicitor’s details so that we can instruct our solicitors. 

If you’re thinking about buying more shares in your shared ownership home, please contact our Home Ownership team to discuss your next steps. 

How do I sell my shared ownership home?

Our Sales team will be able to explain the process if you’re thinking about selling your home. You can also find more information in our guide on selling your share

Your solicitor will ask us to complete an LPE1 form, also known as a seller’s pack or a leasehold property enquiry form. This will include information for you and your buyer about planned maintenance and repairs, service charges and insurance. We charge a fee for completing this form. 

We will do our best to provide information to your solicitor when needed during the conveyancing process and we’ll provide a final statement of account before your sale completes.

It’s vital your solicitor informs us when your sale completes and provides us with the details of the new owner of your property. We can then ensure the new owner gets off to a good start in their new home by sending them a welcome pack containing useful information about us and their lease. 

If you’re a solicitor who needs us to complete an LPE1 form, please email our Home Ownership team

Will I benefit from any increase in value if I sell my home?

Yes, potentially. But it’s important to remember property prices can go down as well as up.

For example, if you paid £40,000 for a 25% share of a £160,000 property and the property increases in value to £180,000, your 25% share will increase to £45,000. But, if the property goes down in value to £140,000, your share will be worth only £35,000.

Can I pass on my shared ownership property after my death?

You can pass on your shared ownership property to someone you name in your will.

The executor of your will, or the person dealing with your estate, will need to tell our Home Ownership team about your death. They will also need to instruct a solicitor to legally transfer the ownership of the property. Their solicitor should let us know when the process is complete, so we can update our records and send important information to the new owner.

It's important to note that the person inheriting your shared ownership property will be responsible for paying the remaining mortgage payments, rent, and service charges.