Who is responsible for repairs?
Homeowners are responsible for all internal repairs to the property including heating, electricity, water leaks, appliances, window panes and all other internal maintenance jobs.
Housing Solutions are responsible for all repairs and essential works to communal areas in flats.
If you’re unsure where the responsibility lies for a particular job, please contact the Asset Team who will be able to help.
To report a repair to your communal area you can log into the customer portal here. Or call us on 01628 543101. Emergency repairs can be reported at any time of the day or night, and must be reported by calling 01628 543101.
What do I do if I want to make any changes to the property?
Any changes to a leasehold or shared ownership property have to be approved by our Asset Team. Please follow this link for information on alterations and improvements
What do I do if I want to move?
Leaseholders are able to sell their property freely on the open market. Most estate agents would prefer at least 75 years on the lease, so please check how many years are left on your lease before you sell.
If you’re a shared owner and you’d like to sell your share in the property, your contract with us states that you have to come to us first before putting your share up for sale on the open market. Housing Solutions have to advertise your property for the first 6-8 weeks, if in this time we cannot find you a purchaser you are then free to put your share onto the open market. Please contact Bethan.firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I let my property out?
Leaseholders are able to sublet their property to a tenant however they must inform the Homeownership team and give us an up to date contact address and number in case we need to contact you in the future. Please note as a landlord you are required by law to ensure your property has an up to date gas safety certificate .
It is also you’re responsibility to deal with any Anti-social behaviour caused by your tenant which may affect their neighbours.
Shared Owners are not permitted to sub-let their properties.
Extending your lease
A GUIDE TO HOUSING SOLUTIONS POLICY ON EXTENDING YOUR LEASE
This guide is designed to assist you as a leaseholder or shared owner to understand which procedure to use if you want to extend your lease. If you own 100% of your home you can use either the statutory or voluntary process, if however, you are a shared owner you would use the voluntary process.
Shared Ownership Houses
If you own a shared ownership house, you cannot apply to extend your lease. You could, however, staircase to 100%, and acquire the freehold of the property and would then own the property outright and your lease would no longer exist.
How do I qualify for the statutory (legal) right to extend my lease?
100% leasehold owners of residential flats can buy an extension to their lease from us, subject to certain conditions being met. As a qualifying flat owner, you are entitled to purchase a new lease for an extra 90 years on top of the remaining term of your existing lease and to have any ground rent which you pay under your existing lease reduced to a peppercorn. This means that effectively your Lease would be ground rent free.
The main qualifying conditions are that:
- the original term of the lease exceeded 21 years.
- you have owned the property for at least 2 years.
- if you were a shared owner you have staircased (bought additional shares) so that you now own 100%.
THE STATUTORY PROCESS INSIDE OF THE TERMS OF THE LEASEHOLD REFORM & URBAN DEVELOPMENT ACT 1993 (“the Act”)
The process is complicated and legally demanding. If you are considering this route you should take independent legal advice and you should appoint a solicitor to approve the lease, to advise you upon the terms and complete the legal work for you. The time frame of the procedure inside of the terms of the Act is laid down by the Act and is quite lengthy
What is the procedure?
Lease extension through this statutory procedure starts when your solicitor serves a formal notice under the Act on Housing Solutions. The Notice must include the amount you are offering to pay us for the extension and any different terms you would like to include in the new lease. As there is limited ability to vary the terms of your lease, we advise that you obtain independent advice before serving the Notice.
When you serve a Notice, you start a timetable which gives us at least two months to respond to you by serving a Counter Notice. We will engage a valuer to assess your proposals. If we disagree with your proposals for the lease extension, the terms for the premium and lease terms will be set out in that counter notice. We would then try to resolve any disagreement by negotiation. Once terms are agreed, a new lease is entered into.
What if we can’t agree on the amount to pay or different lease terms?
Should we be unable to agree, the statutory rules allow the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber - Residential Property) to decide on the price you pay and the terms of the new lease. .
What will it cost to buy a lease extension ?
You will have to pay us a premium to extend your lease. This is calculated in accordance with rules set out in the Act. You will need to obtain valuation advice from a RICS valuer who specialises in lease extension work to assist you in working out the premium. Alternatively, the Government sponsored website at www.lease-advice.org contains a very good plain English guide to how the lease extension process works under the terms of the Act. There is also a calculator on this site you can use to obtain a rough idea of what the premium is likely to be.
In addition to this you will have to pay
- your legal and valuation costs
- our reasonable legal and valuation costs
You will need to pay these costs even if you commence the procedure and decide not to carry on.
Where can I get advice from ?
It is very important to obtain independent advice before commencing an application to extend your lease. You can obtain free and independent advice on the legal procedure from:
Leasehold Advisory Service
31 Worship Street
Tel: 020 7374 5380
They will not, however, deal with the purchase of the lease extension on your behalf.
THE VOLUNTARY PROCESS (OUTSIDE OF THE TERMS OF THE ACT)
Flat owners who have not staircased to 100%, i.e. are still shared owners, are not eligible to extend their lease through the statutory process as they do not meet the qualifying conditions. However, we appreciate that such leases are reducing in term and may be becoming more difficult to remortgage or sell. Housing Solutions therefore now have a voluntary process to allow such flat owners to apply to us to extend their lease.
In order to provide as much clarity as possible to the voluntary process, we have negotiated fixed legal and valuation fees for lease extensions undertaken outside of the terms of the Act. These are as follows:
Valuation fee (payable in advance)
£495 + VAT
Legal & administration fee (payable on completion)
£1,000 + VAT + disbursements
Nominal legal fee towards the cost of rewriting the shared ownership lease (for shared owners only) (payable on completion)
£100 + VAT
Therefore, the only variable cost using the voluntary process is the premium payable for the lease extension. This premium is determined by an independent specialist Chartered Surveyor using standard calculation methods.
Subject to the agreement of the premium and an undertaking to pay the fixed legal and administration costs, in principle Housing Solutions would be willing to extend the lease of your property under the voluntary process on the same terms as those you would be entitled to under the 1993 Act. This means the grant of a new lease for a term of 90 years on top of the remaining term of your existing lease, for your share of the property. Whilst the Ground Rent provisions within your lease will be reduced to a peppercorn, for shared owners the provisions relating to payment of specified rent (the rent paid on the share owned by Housing Solutions) will continue.
We would advise you to take independent legal advice as to the level of premium to be paid for the lease extension and the terms to be included in the new lease. We would also advise you to visit the Leasehold Advisory Service website (www.lease-advice.org) for an explanation of how the lease extension process works when conducted inside of the terms of the Act.
We attach a questionnaire setting out the information you need to return to us. Once we have received the completed questionnaire and the payment of the valuation fee of £495 + VAT, we will instruct the independent RICS qualified valuer. The valuer will be instructed on behalf of Housing Solutions to advise upon the premium for a lease extension. A copy of the report will be supplied on request.
Once we receive the valuer’s report, we will write to you setting out the terms on which Housing Solutions will offer to extend your lease. If you agree to the terms, you will need a solicitor to complete the legal work for you.
The valuation fee is non refundable should you decide not to go ahead with the lease extension.
Once the premium is agreed, we will instruct our solicitors to draw up a draft lease and you will have to pay a fixed cost of £1,000 plus VAT and disbursements on completion of the transaction. In addition, for shared owners only, there will be a nominal fee of £100 towards to cost of rewriting the shared ownership lease. Again, should you decide not to proceed you will still be liable for our solicitor’s fees.
HOW TO PROCEED FROM HERE
If you wish to proceed with an application to extend your shared ownership lease using the voluntary process, please complete and return the form that can be found here
If you wish to proceed with an application to extend your lease using the statutory process, please ask your solicitor to serve a Section 42(3) Notice to:
Home Ownership Team, Crown Square, Waldeck Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 8BY
Enquiries :01628 543 101
Did you know that if you live in one of our shared ownership homes, you can purchase more shares in your home after you have lived there for a year? This process is called staircasing.
As with all shared ownership homes, you only pay rent on the shares of your home that you do not own. So the more shares you own the less rent you will have to pay.
What costs are involved?
When buying more shares you will have to pay:
- Valuation Fees
- Legal Fees
- Mortgage arrangement fees
- Stamp duty (if applicable)
There may be other costs from your mortgage lender and you must carry on paying your rent while going through the process.
Here is what you need to do to staircase:
- Email email@example.com to check if you're able to staircase.
- Arrange for you home to be valued, this must be done by a RICS qualified surveyor.
- Contact your mortgage lender to organise the extra amount needed to purchase more shares.
- Speak to a solicitor - if you increase your shares your lease will change so you will need to involve a solicitor. It is important that you use a solicitor with the right experience as shared ownership sales are different to open market sales.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Use this link for Staircasing application form
Right to Buy Information
Right to buy https://righttobuy.gov.uk/
Right to buy application form https://righttobuy.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTB1-form.pdf