Our property experts have provided some information and answers here to some frequently asked questions regularly raised by our clients about Shared Ownership.

Can I buy additional shares of the property?

Depending on the terms of your lease, you can buy additional shares of the property whenever you can afford to do so. Buying additional shares in your home is known as ‘staircasing’. The price of the additional shares will be based on the market value at the time. Like any home, the value can rise and fall along with the housing market.

There are also sometimes provisions in a shared ownership lease, where you can downward staircase, this would be when you sell shares in your property back to the landlord, this would also depend on your lease. It is always best to ask the sellers’ solicitors to get confirmation from the landlord this has not taken place.

Do I acquire the freehold when purchasing a leasehold flat and staircasing to 100%?


Do I pay Stamp Duty Land Tax when purchasing a new shared ownership property?

At the grant of a new lease, you have the option to make a full market election, meaning you pay the full amount of stamp duty (The amount of stamp duty had you been purchasing a 100% of the property). This would mean when you purchase shares above 80% in the property you would not have to pay stamp duty. If you decided not to make a full market election at the grant of a shared ownership lease, you would have to pay stamp duty on every staircasing transaction over 80%.

Do I pay stamp duty when purchasing an existing shared ownership property?

If you are buying an existing shared ownership property, you would need to ask the sellers if they had made a full market election at the grant of the shared ownership lease. If they had decided to make a full market election, stamp duty would not be payable for any staircasing transactions above 80%.

How long do I have to complete a staircasing transaction?

Leaseholders would normally have three months to complete their staircasing purchase from the date the Housing Association receive the valuation from the valuer. This can be extended to six months if there has been a delay, so it is important you instruct a solicitor as soon as you have had the valuation done.

Is staircasing registered at HM Land Registry?

When you staircase, a memorandum of staircasing will be completed. We would advise you staple this to your lease, as this will be your proof you have staircased to a certain amount. On a flat purchase, this does not have to be registered with HM Land Registry, so it is imperative you keep a copy with your lease. On a house when you get to a 100% you would normally acquire the freehold.

What happens when I staircase and do I have to pay stamp duty?

The reply to this question depends on whether you are staircasing to 80% (where you do not have to pay stamp duty) or 100% in which event you will. This is not a straightforward answer and would have to be answered based on your specific circumstances, but is a question often asked.

Who undertakes repairs on shared ownership properties?

The shared ownership lease between the shared owner and the housing association will set out the rights and responsibilities of a shared owner. Although the shared owner has not bought the property outright, they will have the normal rights and responsibilities of a full owner occupier. In particular the shared owner will normally be fully responsible for the cost of repair and maintenance to a house, this differs from a flat, where it is normal for a landlord to be responsible for the repair and maintenance.

Can I rent my shared ownership property?

You cannot normally sublet your whole property unless you either own 100% or you have the landlord’s permission. More information can be found on GOV.UK.

How can I sell my Shared Ownership Property?

You can sell your shared ownership property at any time, although if you do not own 100% of your property you must get permission from the landlord (normally housing association) when you want to sell your home, as this gives the landlord the opportunity to find a buyer for your shared ownership property.

When you give the landlord notice that you want to sell your home, the landlord often has a “nomination period”, this means the landlord can often have either four, eight or 12 weeks to find a buyer depending on the lease.  If a buyer is not found within the nomination period, you can then sell your property on the open market.

The landlord can even offer to buy back your shared ownership property, although this only happens in exceptional circumstance if they have the funds.

Normally when you own 100% of your home you can sell this on the open market through an estate agent.

More information can be found on GOV.UK.

How much can I staircase by?

You can normally buy shares of 10% or more at any time, but this is dependant on the age of the lease, as some of the older leases only allow you to buy 25% and some of the newer leases will allow you to buy 5% or more.

If you bought your shared ownership lease after the 1st April 2021, your lease can even state that you can staircase by 1% each year for the first 15 years, in relation to this, the 1% is available each year for the first 15 years, but you cannot rollover unused years, so if you did not staircase for the first three years, you could then not staircase by 4% in year four.

More information can be found on GOV.UK.

Will the rent I pay on my shared ownership property change?

The rent you pay for your share of the shared ownership property can change each year, as the landlord does have the right to review the rent paid each year.  This is normally only once a year.  When the rent is reviewed this may go up.  It will not go down.

More information can be found on GOV.UK.

How we can help

Our property experts will advise and work with you throughout your matter with us, and keep you informed about how your case is progressing and any issues that may have arisen.

If you are a current client and have any questions about your property transaction please contact your team directly.

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