Shared ownership: more complex than traditional residential property purchases & sales
Our experienced property lawyers work in affordable housing all the time. They know what’s needed to protect our clients’ interests and get the transactions through, often to tight housing association deadlines.
We are solicitors specialising in shared ownership purchases, staircasing & resales for clients right across England & Wales – London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Swansea, Norwich, Newcastle, Nottingham, Plymouth, Leeds, Maidstone, Oxford, Milton Keynes – so our conveyancing team offers comprehensive coverage.
“Thanks for all your hard work and assistance when dealing with our house purchase and sale. Sorry if I was a bit impatient at times, it’s just we were excited to move into our new house. We couldn’t have done it without you!” Shared ownership sale with simultaneous staircasing (Coventry) and straight purchase (Birmingham)
The terms “part buy part rent” and “part rent part buy” summarise the way in which the scheme works. This type of ownership is worth considering if you are not yet able to fund the cost of a home on your own as the deposit required is much lower than in a traditional purchase. Generally buyers fund their purchase of the initial share in the home by way of a mortgage.
“Really impressed with service I received, response times to emails were excellent, will recommend you to others in the future.” (Southampton)
What types of affordable housing are there?
There are a number of schemes available for those looking to purchase a home, including shared ownership, shared equity (e.g. the new Help To Buy scheme), FirstBuy and HomeBuy.
“Thank you. We really appreciate all the advice and quick responses you have given throughout our buying process. We will definitely recommend yourself and Humphreys & Co. to friends and family.” (purchase in Reading)
Shared ownership – choosing a solicitor
You may find that a number of firms send you quotations on the basis that this is a “standard” leasehold purchase. Shared ownership conveyancing is much more complex than other types of leasehold transaction and the prudent course for you and your lender would be to instruct a firm with knowledge and experience in this particular area.
As regards costs quoted, to be sure of the total amount you are going to have to pay out (and therefore budget for), you should make sure that any firm quoting is aware that this is a “shared ownership” purchase, as there is a risk that their initial estimate will increase as the matter proceeds on the basis that the transaction is more complex than first anticipated.
You should also be aware that a number of firms make additional charges for filing the Stamp Duty Land Tax return, acting for the lender, undertaking ID checks, exchanging and completing with 14 days, leasehold supplements and unspecified “administrative” items. When all of these additional charges are factored in, the actual total payable may end up being a lot higher than the initial “headline” figure.
You should check to see that any quotation you receive includes advice on your SDLT liability, as duty is sometimes payable even when the percentage share you are buying is as low as 25%. Duty can be payable on the grant of a new lease in relation to the rental payments, which means that there can be duty payable even if the purchase price does not exceed the £125,000 threshold at which SDLT becomes payable.
Shared ownership: are you looking to staircase?
This is something we would be pleased to help with. In order to supply you with our detailed quotation we would need the following information from you:
(1) Is the staircasing being funded by your existing lender?
If funding is being provided by a new lender we are likely to need to carry out searches or obtain a search indemnity policy in order for the lender to release the funds.
(2) When you purchased your initial share did you pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on the premium and initial rent or on the full market value of the property?
The general rule in respect of shared ownership properties is that stamp duty will be assessed when you staircase to a share above 80%. There may be a stamp duty liability when you staircase unless it has already been paid in respect of the full market value.
(3) What is the estimated amount you will pay to staircase and the estimated market value of the property?
This is needed to enable us to calculate the potential stamp duty liability.
(4) Are there any provisions in your lease restricting staircasing?
Shared ownership leases often limit the share that can be purchased at any one time (for example minimum 10% and maximum 25%). It would be helpful if you could supply us with a copy of the lease.
The lease will also contain details of any administrative charges that the Housing Association make in respect of staircasing.
Shared ownership – selling your property
When it comes to selling a shared ownership property, the process depends on whether you have staircased to 100% ownership or whether you wish to sell the share that you originally purchased. In either case you are free to sell the property on – however the terms of your lease will usually state that the Housing Association have the right to take back the lease or to nominate a buyer for the property. Even if you own 100% of your home, the Housing Association will usually retain its right to buy the property back or to nominate a buyer for 21 years after completion of final staircasing.