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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Shared Ownership?

Shared Ownership gives first time buyers and those that do not currently own a home the opportunity to purchase a share in a new build or resales property.

The purchaser pays a mortgage on the share they own, and pays rent to a housing association on the remaining share. Because the purchaser only needs a mortgage for the share they are purchasing, the amount of money required for a deposit is usually a lot lower when compared to the amount that would be required when purchasing outright.

The purchaser has the option to increase their share during their time in the property via a process known as ‘staircasing’, and in most cases can staircase all the way to 100%. In this instance, the shared owner will no longer pay any rent, just their mortgage along with any service charges and ground rent.

Why buy a Shared Ownership home?

Shared Ownership is essentially for people who would like to own their own home but can’t afford to buy on the open market. Shared Ownership costs are usually lower than other housing options for a number of reasons:

 

  • The rent is less than the rate charged on the open market and usually charged at 2.75% of the property value per annum.
  • You can start with a little as 25% share in many cases.
  • Your deposit will be 5-10% of the price of the share, not of the full market value of the whole property.
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT or simply ‘stamp duty’) can generally be deferred until your share reaches 80%.

Shared Ownership properties can often be found in private developments as a certain number of Shared Ownership homes will often be required as a part of the planning permission for a development. This can help to put affordable housing in the heart of sought-after areas!

How to buy a Shared Ownership home

Register with us today and we can help you find a Shared Ownership property.

Getting started with Shared Ownership is not as complicated as people might think. First of all. you should check if you are eligible. Please note that in addition to the general eligibility rules, there might be some specific requirements for some properties and local boroughs have their own terms regarding priorities and affordability. These will be outlined on each listing.

When you have chosen a property, you will need to make sure you have the required deposit and get a mortgage.

When I part-buy/part-rent my home, what am I buying?

Effectively you are buying a leasehold house or flat, and this will be either a new build or resale home. However, as you cannot presently afford to buy a home outright, you are paying rent on the portion that you can’t afford.

You have the option to buy further shares – up to and including 100% ownership in most instances – if and when you choose to do so. The price of buying further shares (or ‘staircasing’) will be based on an independent valuation at the time that you purchase the further share. You can find out more about the process of buying additional shares in our staircasing guide.

 

What are the eligibility rules for Shared Ownership?

There are some general eligibility requirements that anyone wishing to buy a Shared Ownership home must meet. The general eligibility criteria for Shared Ownership is as follows:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Outside of London your annual household income must be less than £80,000.
  • In London, your annual household income must be less than £90,000.
  • Shared Ownership purchasers are often first time buyers but if you do already own another home, you must be in the process of selling it.
  • You should not be able to afford to buy a home suitable for your housing needs on the open market.
  • You must show you are not in mortgage or rent arrears.
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you have a good credit history (no bad debts or County Court Judgements) and can afford the regular payments and costs involved in buying a home.

You should have savings or be able to easily access at least £4,000 to cover the costs of buying a home (this is a guideline figure – the actual amount may vary).

You will also need access to the deposit amount required. For Shared Ownership, this will usually be 5-10% of the equity share you are buying.

Can I purchase any property on a Shared Ownership basis?

No, Shared Ownership is only available for specific, purpose-built properties.

Does Shared Ownership mean sharing with another person?

While you’re welcome to buy with another person, Shared Ownership does not mean you have to share the ownership of the property.

What is a resale Shared Ownership property?

Resale homes are a type of property that you can purchase through the Shared Ownership scheme, and offer some differences from New Build homes.

What size share can I purchase?

The share you can purchase can vary depending on the housing provider and your financial situation.

Who is responsible for repairs of my Shared Ownership home?

This will depend on factors such as whether you own a house or a flat, and if the repairs are internal or related to the structure of the property.

Can I increase my share of my Shared Ownership property to 100%?

You can increase your share through a process known as ‘staircasing’, however there may be some restrictions on this.

What is Staircasing?

Usually once you have lived in your home for a certain period of time as the shared owner (depending on the terms of your lease), you can buy further shares in your property. This process is known as staircasing, enabling you to own a greater proportion of your home. If you bought a resale property you can buy further shares too (depending on the terms of your lease).

The greater the share you buy in your home the less rent you will pay to your Housing Association. If you staircase to 100% you become an outright owner, and you will no longer need to pay rent.

You may acquire additional shares in your property at a price equal to the relevant proportion of the current full open market value of the property. For example: if your property is valued at £200,000 and you want to buy an additional 25% share, the purchase price of the extra share would be 25% of the valuation, which is £50,000.

What happens when I staircase to 100%?

You will no longer have to pay and rent, although you will need to continue paying service charges.

If you wish to sell your property, you will not have to give Origin Housing the opportunity to sell the property. If the property is a freehold you may be able to buy the freehold from Origin Housing.

What are the benefits of Staircasing?

You will own more of the property and pay less rent. You will therefore obtain greater value from any increases in value the property may gain from.

Can I sell my home?

Yes, you can sell your shares at any time. If you own less than 100% you will need to let Origin Housing know, and they will have a defined period of weeks to try and sell the property. Please see your lease agreement or contact us to find out more.

If you own 100% you will be able to see your property without letting Origin Housing know.

Are there any restrictions?

There are no restrictions in the majority of cases however we would recommend in the first instance that you refer to your lease. This may require assistance from your legal representative.

How do I buy more shares?

If you already own a Shared Ownership home and want to buy more shares – possibly right up to 100% outright ownership – we can help. Contact us today to find out now how much you can buy and how much it would cost.

How do I buy more shares?

You can increase your share in your home at any time after you complete your initial purchase. The process is called ‘Staircasing’, and most leases will allow you to do this until you own 100% of the property.

You must read the relevant section of your shared ownership (part buy – part rent) lease before instructing anyone, though, as this governs how the process will work and if there are any restrictions on the maximum share you can purchase.

Each time you staircase, you will need to budget for:

  • Valuation fee
  • Legal expenses
  • SDLT (if applicable)
  • Mortgage fees

You’ll need to obtain an RICS Valuation (Registered Institute of Chartered Surveyors) report; you can use our suggested list of independent valuers and send this to us with written confirmation that you would like to purchase more of your home. Once we have received the documentation, we will confirm how much you will need to pay to purchase any additional shares (the Premium) and how your rent will change once you’ve done so.

The cost to purchase additional shares is based on the current market value of your home. You can look at local prices for similar properties to get an idea of the cost of buying further shares, but we won’t be able to tell you how much it will cost until you have sent us the RICS Valuation.

The more equity you have in your home, the lower your rent will be, and once you own 100% of the shares, you will no longer have to pay rent to us. If you pay a service charge or ground rent, you will still need to pay this once you own 100% of your home.

For more information or to start the process, please email sales@originhousing.org.uk or call 0300 323 0325.

How do I sell my home?

Selling your home is a very straightforward process. Still, you must read the relevant section of your shared ownership (part buy – part rent) lease before instructing anyone, as this governs how the process will work and if there are any restrictions on selling your home.

Under an average shared ownership (part buy – part rent) lease as the landlord Origin Housing has a right to nominate a buyer in the first 8 weeks (the nominations period), who would buy your share of the lease and then continue to pay rent to us. If we cannot nominate a buyer, you can sell your home through an estate agent – you can sell your share of the lease or sell the property outright.

To sell your home, you’ll need to get an RICS Valuation (Registered Institute of Chartered Surveyors) and select one from our suggested list of independent valuers.  Once received, send this to us with written confirmation that you want to sell your home, a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and photo identification; we’ll instruct an agent to market your home for the nominations period. If we’ve not been able to find a buyer at the end of the nominations period, we’ll be in touch with you regarding your next steps.

We cannot accept an estate agent’s valuation instead of a qualified RICS valuation as these are for marketing purposes and do not necessarily reflect the actual market value.

Once a buyer has is found, you’ll need to instruct your solicitors, and we’ll instruct our solicitors to complete the legal paperwork.

You’ll need to pay an administration fee to Originhousing, your solicitors’ fees, and the surveyor who does the valuation; if you’ve instructed an agent to market the property outside the nominations period, you will also need to pay them. If your scheme has a managing agent, you may also need to obtain a sales pack from them.

For more information or to start the process, please email resales.staircasing@originhousing.org.uk or call 020 3744 0415.

What is the Nominations Period?

Almost all shared ownership leases contain a clause which states that the landlord is allowed to nominate a buyer during a set period before you are allowed to sell the property on the open market. It ensures that affordable homes continue to be made available to other people unable to afford them on the open market.

Any buyer found during the nominations period will need to meet the standard criteria for purchasing a shared ownership property set out by Homes England.

If I staircase to 100%, will I obtain the freehold?

It will depend on the title Origin has for your property and the staircasing provisions in your shared ownership lease. Would you please email resales.staircasing@originhousing.org.uk for more information?

What restrictions are there on selling my property?

With many shared ownership leases, you are required to market the home through the provider or landlord in the first instance for a limited period of 8 weeks. We will try to find you a buyer during this time and may charge you for doing so. If we cannot find you a buyer, you are free to sell on the open market.

Can I remove someone from my lease?

It is possible to remove someone from your shared ownership (part buy – part rent) lease without selling the property. We would need to undertake an affordability assessment on the person remaining to ensure that they will continue to meet the affordability criteria.

Once we have approved the changes, you will need to instruct a solicitor to make the necessary changes with the Land Registry.

For more information or to start the process, please email resales.staircasing@originhousing.org.uk or call 020 3744 0415.

Can I add someone from my lease?

It is possible to add another person to your shared ownership (part buy – part rent) lease without selling the property. We will need to check that they are eligible for part buy/part rent, and they will also need to undertake a credit check as a new tenant. You cannot add someone to your lease who is ineligible to purchase a part buy/part rent property.

Once we have approved the changes, you will need to instruct a solicitor to make the necessary changes with the Land Registry.

For more information or to start the process, please email sales@originhousing.org.uk or call 020 3744 0415.

How do I pay my rent?

The easiest way to pay your rent is by direct debit, as the payments are taken automatically, so you don’t have to worry about missing a payment. We will tell you in advance if the amount or the date of your direct debit will change, and your payment instruction will be automatically updated.

It would help if you filled out a direct debit mandate before you completed on your property, which we’ll set upon completion, and confirm all of your payment details in your Welcome Letter. If we don’t have a form, we’ll send you one and ask you to return it so that we can set up a direct debit.

If you don’t want to pay by direct debit, please email income@originhousing.org.uk, and we will provide the details for you to pay by standing order.

I have seen AllPay on my account. Who is this?

AllPay is a payment services provider, who we use to manage the collection of your direct debit and debit card payments.

I need to update my Direct Debit details

Please get in touch with the Home Ownership Team by emailing HomeOwnership-Enquiries@originhousing.org.uk or call 0300 323 0325, and we will guide you through the process.

Is the rent capped, or can this increase at any time?

The rent is not capped and is reviewed each year as per your shared ownership lease terms. Your shared ownership lease sets out how and when the rent is reviewed in a form determined by government policy and the standard government-supported model lease.

I am having trouble paying my rent. What should I do?

Home Ownership Team by emailing HomeOwnership-Enquiries@originhousing.org.uk or call 0300 323 0325, and we can discuss the options with you.

Can I pay my rent over the phone?

You can make a debit card payment through AllPay either online https://pay.allpay.net or by calling 0330 041 6497.

You will need to have your AllPay Payment Reference Number to hand to make the payment; if you don’t have this, please contact the Home Ownership Team by emailing HomeOwnership-Enquiries@originhousing.org.uk or call 0300 323 0325.

We do not accept payment by credit card.

Can my home be repossessed if I don’t pay my rent?

Ultimately, yes, it can, but this is subject to strict and transparent rules explained in our revenue collection and recovery process, and we will work with you to avoid that happening. If we consider this, you will receive a Notice of Seeking Possession from our solicitors; if this happens, you should seek some independent advice.

Why does my rent increase?

The rent increases each year to consider inflation and help us pay for the investment we have made in the property over the longer term. Our investments are often also linked to inflationary increases.

Can I sublet?

Your shared ownership lease does not allow you to sublet the whole of the property. It is because part buy/part rent is to help people take a step onto the property ladder.

There are exceptional circumstances where we may permit you to sublet temporarily, such as if you are in the Armed Forces and are deployed. We also permit renting out a room in your home under the governments’ Rent a Room scheme.

Subletting your property on short-term lets, such as via AirBnB, is not permitted under any circumstances.

Do I need to let Origin know if I am subletting a room?

You can rent a room in your home under the Governments’ Rent a Room scheme, but we ask you to let us know you are doing so.

How do I pay my rent?

The easiest way to pay your rent is by direct debit, as the payments are taken automatically, so you don’t have to worry about missing a payment. We will tell you in advance if the amount or the date of your direct debit will change, and your payment instruction will be automatically updated.

It would help if you filled out a direct debit mandate before you completed on your property, which we’ll set upon completion, and confirm all of your payment details in your Welcome Letter. If we don’t have a form, we’ll send you one and ask you to return it so that we can set up a direct debit.

If you don’t want to pay by direct debit, please email income@originhousing.org.uk, and we will provide the details for you to pay by standing order.

I have seen AllPay on my account. Who is this?

AllPay is a payment services provider, who we use to manage the collection of your direct debit and debit card payments.

I need to update my Direct Debit details

Please get in touch with the Home Ownership Team by emailing HomeOwnership-Enquiries@originhousing.org.uk or call 0300 323 0325, and we will guide you through the process.

Is the rent capped, or can this increase at any time?

The rent is not capped and is reviewed each year as per your shared ownership lease terms. Your shared ownership lease sets out how and when the rent is reviewed in a form determined by government policy and the standard government-supported model lease.

I am having trouble paying my rent. What should I do?

Home Ownership Team by emailing HomeOwnership-Enquiries@originhousing.org.uk or call 0300 323 0325, and we can discuss the options with you.

Can I pay my rent over the phone?

You can make a debit card payment through AllPay either online https://pay.allpay.net or by calling 0330 041 6497.

You will need to have your AllPay Payment Reference Number to hand to make the payment; if you don’t have this, please contact the Home Ownership Team by emailing HomeOwnership-Enquiries@originhousing.org.uk or call 0300 323 0325.

We do not accept payment by credit card.

Can my home be repossessed if I don’t pay my rent?

Ultimately, yes, it can, but this is subject to strict and transparent rules explained in our revenue collection and recovery process, and we will work with you to avoid that happening. If we consider this, you will receive a Notice of Seeking Possession from our solicitors; if this happens, you should seek some independent advice.

Why does my rent increase?

The rent increases each year to consider inflation and help us pay for the investment we have made in the property over the longer term. Our investments are often also linked to inflationary increases.

Why does Origin take out building insurance?

Under the terms of your shared ownership (part buy – part rent) lease, the building is insured by us as your landlord (unless you live in a flat and your managing agent insures the building). The buildings insurance policy does not cover your contents.

Our insurance policy runs from 1st October – 30th September each year, and the premiums are collected between April and March (with your Rent Review). You will pay an apportioned premium to the end of the current insurance policy when you move in. The premium is subsequently added to your monthly payments from the following April; you’ll receive the details with your Rent Review Letter shortly before this.

The insurance policy covers the whole property, so you don’t need to insure your share separately. It will cover any standard insurance requirements by your mortgage lender as well.

It is not possible to have your own buildings insurance policy instead.

I have recently moved into the property, and there are some nagging issues and building? Defects, who do I talk to?

Report snagging issues to Repairs@OriginHousing.org.uk, and if it remains unresolved, please email NewHomes@originhousing.org.uk, who can assist you if unsure about the warranty your home may have.

If you have any problems claiming on your warranty, please email the Portfolio Team at portfolio@originhousing.org.uk with a list of the outstanding issues and the details of your contact at the builder, and we will do our best to assist you.

If your property is out of warranty, then it would be your responsibility as the leaseholder to undertake any necessary repairs and maintenance required; you may be able to claim on the buildings insurance policy. Would you please speak to the insurance brokers to discuss this further?

How do I get a copy of the building insurance?

You’ll receive the details for the insurance policy shortly after you complete your purchase welcome letter. Each year the policy renews (generally in November); if you need a certificate specific to your property, please get in touch with the Home Ownership Team by emailing HomeOwnership-Enquiries@originhousing.org.uk or call 0300 323 0325 with your property details. We will request one from the insurance company for you.

If you live in a flat and your managing agent arranges the insurance, you should contact them to get a copy of the insurance policy.

How do I claim on the buildings insurance policy?

If Origin organises your insurance and you need to make a claim, please contact our insurance brokers, who will talk you through the process (This Housing will contact us where necessary). All of the details you’ll need are in your insurance policy letter.

If your managing agent organises your insurance, please refer to your managing agent, who will assist.

For more information on our Building Insurance policy and how to claim – link to building insurance policy (Link insert)

Do I need to send a copy of my contents insurance to Origin?

No, we do not need a copy of your contents insurance.

What happens if my boiler breaks down?

The buildings insurance policy does not cover boiler breakdown; as a shared owner, it would be your responsibility to repair the boiler if it isn’t covered by a warranty from the builder or manufacturer.

If your boiler is beyond economic repair, you do not need our permission before arranging for it to be replaced, provided that the new boiler is installed in the same place as the existing one. We will need to see copies of the installation paperwork once the installation is complete and will then provide retrospective consent.

If you have or suspect a gas leak, you should contact the National Gas Emergency Helpline immediately on 0800 111 999.

Who is responsible for servicing my boiler?

As a shared owner, it is your responsibility to arrange for any servicing or repairs required to your boiler (unless these repairs are covered by a warranty from the builder or manufacturer); failure to service your boiler can void the warranty from the builder or manufacturer. You can find details of qualified gas engineers on the official Gas Safe website – www.gassaferegister.co.uk/find-an-engineer.

Can I have a pet?

If you live in a house, you do not need our permission to have a pet.

If you live in an apartment, you will need to get permission from the HomeOmanaging agent for your block; once you have permission from the managing agent, you should forward us a copy, and we can also confirm consent under your shared ownership lease.

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Who is responsible for any service charges and ground rent due?

Any service charges due for your home, which are your contribution towards the cost of maintaining the communal areas of the estate you live on, would be set by the managing agent for the scheme that you live on and are payable by the shared owner. Your managing agent should collect any service charges due directly from you as the shared owner.

What is the Administration Fee / Lease Management Fee for?

The Lease Management Fee (also known as the Administration Fee) is a fee charged by Origin for managing your shared ownership lease and for any administration required to meet the landlord’s obligations for the day-to-day management of your lease.

Some additional fees may be payable for specific items, such as buying further shares in your property or selling the property, but these will be outlined at the time.

Who do I contact if I have a problem?

If you have a problem, please get in touch with the Home Ownership Team by emailing HomeOwnership-Enquiries@originhousing.org.uk or call 0300 323 0325.

Can I run a business from my shared ownership home?

No, your shared ownership lease does not allow you to run a business from your home. Most new-build estates will also have a restriction in the property title, which prevents anyone on the estate from running a business from their home.

Can I install a Sky dish in my home?

If you live in a house, you should check with the builder and/or the managing agent on the estate whether there are any estate restrictions; provided that neither objects, you can go ahead and have the dish fitted.

If you live in a flat, you should speak to your managing agent – you may find that your block already has a communal dish installed.

My neighbours are noisy or engaging in anti-social behaviour, can you help?

It would help if you tried speaking to your neighbour first – they may not realise that the noise is disturbing you. It’s always best to try and resolve disagreements with your neighbours directly before they escalate.

If you can’t resolve your dispute, please get in touch with us. We can talk you through the following steps, such as contacting your local Environmental Health Department or offering mediation. We may also ask that you keep an incident diary, which we would require to look at taking any action against another resident.

We do not consider noise caused by people going about their daily lives (including DIY and building works being done during the day), playing with children or crying babies to be anti-social behaviour.

If you feel threatened, harassed, or believe the behaviour in question is illegal, you should contact the police – 999 it’s an emergency, and 101 if it’s not.

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