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All you need to know about managing your home, from buying a bigger share to home improvements and selling.
Our shared ownership homes are built and run by our property development company, Latimer Homes.
The Latimer website has all the information you need to manage your home – whether you’ve lived in your home for years or have just moved in.
In particular, it can help if you want to buy a bigger share in your home, plan to sell your home, or need to report a repair or defect.
Buying a bigger share
One of the benefits of shared ownership is that you can buy bigger shares until you own your home outright. This is a process known as staircasing.
Selling your home
You can sell your home whenever you want. If its value has increased, you get to keep any profit on your share. There are some restrictions if you want to sell, but haven’t staircased to 100%.
Repairs and defects in your home
You’re responsible for maintaining and repairing your home, including fixtures and fittings. New-build properties do sometimes have minor defects that need fixing. If these occur within an initial defects period we’re responsible for repairing them.
Repairs to communal areas
We’re responsible for maintaining and repairing communal areas; communal plumbing, heating and electrics; fire safety; and the structure of your property.
We tell you the estimated service charge at the start of each financial year. We then update you on what we actually spent within six months of the end of each financial year.
You might also have to pay ground rent to your freeholder. If so, you’ll get a notice of demand before each financial year saying how much you have to pay and whether this will increase over time. The deficit or surplus from this is applied to your account on 30 September each year.
With some leases, we collect fees for a sinking fund, also known as a reserve fund. Sinking funds are kept in an account that accrues interest and we only use this money when unplanned major works are needed. We’ll let you know how much is in your sinking fund and if we need to use the money.
If you want to remortgage, your new mortgage offer has to be approved by us before the mortgage transfer takes place.
We’ll need your reason for remortgaging, as well as your new mortgage offer document and the redemption statement from your current lender. We do charge for processing remortgage applications: a £60 administration fee and a £78 notice fee.
If you’re planning to remortgage, please contact us.
Extending your lease
Leases are typically for a fixed term, often 99 or 125 years. Your contract details the length of your lease.
Shared owners don’t have a legal right to lease extensions. However, we try to accommodate requests for longer leases.
Before you apply for a lease extension, please read our lease extension guide. This outlines the application process, which includes writing to us formally to request your lease extension. We also recommend you get advice from a solicitor.
After you apply
We’ll check that we’re both the freeholder and the immediate landlord, and confirm the lease has a long enough term remaining for an extension. If we don’t own the freehold, we don’t have the legal right to extend your lease.
If your lease can be extended, you’ll have to pay a surveyor’s fee and our legal costs. These costs vary depending on the property. In addition, there’s an administration fee of £195.
There are some things related to your home that you need to get permission to do.
EWS1 fire safety forms
In 2020, the government issued revised guidance on building safety standards for flats within apartment blocks. As a result, buildings of any height are now potentially in scope for requiring the EWS1 (external wall system) form devised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
EWS1 certification requires a new assessment of the building by a qualified, independent professional to establish if the external wall system meets the new fire risk standards, or whether remedial work is needed.
EWS1 forms are not a legal requirement, but some lenders require one before they’ll offer a mortgage.
As a result, the form may apply to you if you live in an apartment block and want to sell, remortgage or staircase (buy a greater share of your home). EWS1 forms only apply to flats.
We're investigating the external wall systems on our buildings. We're now prioritising blocks under six storeys and expect to complete initial assessments this year. We'll update customers as soon as we know if any work is needed.