FAQs

We've compiled a list of frequently asked questions we get from new customers and existing leaseholders which we hope you find helpful.  If you can't find the answer to your question, our team are on hand to help you with any queries you have, simply Get in Touch

Shared Ownership

Shared Ownership is a Government-funded scheme that helps people who would not normally be able to afford home ownership to purchase a home of their own.

The Shared Ownership scheme is also known as part buy, part rent because purchasers buy a share in their home and pay rent on the remainder.

Shared owners do not share their homes with someone else, they share the ownership of it with a housing association.

The size of the share you buy can be between 25% and 75% of the value of the property, although this does depend on individual circumstances. Normally we sell between 40% – 50% shares, although smaller or larger shares may be available on some new developments.

Shared owners pay a monthly rent on the share that has not been purchased. There will usually also be a monthly service charge to cover items such as buildings insurance, management and cleaning and maintenance of communal areas.

The scheme is designed to help people who cannot afford to buy the type of home that they need or want on the open market. In most instances, existing council and housing association tenants and people registered for housing with their local authority are given priority, but other people can also benefit from shared ownership.

Most shared owners are first time buyers; others are people who have had to leave their existing owner-occupied home because of a relationship breakdown. To be considered you must be able to afford the cost of the shared ownership rent and mortgage and any service charges. To be eligible for shared ownership you must be a British or EU citizen, or have ‘indefinite leave to remain’ stamped in your passport, or have appropriate documentation to cover the eligibility of your application.

If you do not have indefinite leave to remain in the UK but can provide evidence of mortgageability from a prime lender, we may be able to help you. We will be unable to help you if you have had any arrears of rent in the last six months, or are already named on an existing mortgage or property deeds. Applicants receiving Housing Benefit will need to be assessed on a case by case basis before a decision can be made.

There is no bedroom size restriction and you can apply for any size of property

To make sure properties go to those most in need, priority will be given in the following order.

1)      Existing social tenants - because council and housing association tenants buying their own home will release a home to someone else who needs social housing

2)      Military personnel

3)      Applicants registered on the local authority’s housing waiting list or who are in a local priority group

4)      First time buyers

5)      Buyers with a home to sell

After the initial priority groups have been considered, applications will then be prioritised based on:

1)     People who live and work within the same borough of the home they wish to buy

2)     People on the lowest income, but still able to afford the property

3)     People with a larger household size i.e. families

Buying with BE WEST

• You'll need a maximum yearly household income of £90,000 inside London.

• You'll need enough savings to cover your deposit (dependent on your mortgage and/or share of property).

• You will need additional savings of £3,500 to cover legal fees, moving costs, etc.

• You must have sold or be about to complete on the sale of any existing property you may have.

• If you own a property outright, you should have sold it before completing on a shared ownership property with us.

• You must be a British/EU Citizen, or have indefinite leave to remain.

The minimum share of the equity you can purchase is determined by the Housing Association and you will be required to pay a subsidized monthly rent on the unsold share of the equity to the Housing Association.

However, you may choose to purchase additional shares if that is affordable to you. You may also choose to staircase (buy more shares), as that option becomes affordable to you at a later stage. We have a team of in-house specialist who are able to advise and assist you with this

It is always best to speak with your sales consultant to understand the terms of the lease. Housing Associations may offer leases of varying lengths, therefore, it is always best to enquire of your sales consultant what the terms of the lease are.

The minimum share available is 25%, although each site will have its own minimum.

'NHBC' stands for National House Building Council. It can also be called a build warranty or a premier warranty as per our Waterside Heights development.

The NHBC provides protection for homebuyers through its 10-year Buildmark warranty.

BE WEST provides NHBC warranty certificates for all new properties.

For more information please visit the NHBC website

Existing Leaseholders

A leaseholder is a person who occupies a property under the terms of a lease.

The property can either be a house or flat on:

·        A shared ownership scheme, where the customer owns more than 25% and less than 90% or

·        They may own outright, which means they own 100% of the shares in the property.

Yes, you can take in a paying guest or lodger, as long as you are still living in the property and do not sign a tenancy agreement.

It would make good financial sense, however, to verify through an Independent Financial Advisor IFA that the costs of home ownership are affordable to you prior to purchase. I would also advise you to double check the lease with the HA you are dealing with beforehand.

Absolutely, as well as being a leaseholder, buying through Shared Ownership means that you are an owner-occupier, with all the same rights and responsibilities. You are free to decorate your new home as you wish and are responsible for its maintenance and upkeep. It is in your interest to inform the housing association of these changes, you are not allowed to change the structure/tenure of your home however. (i.e. you cannot turn a 1 bed into a 2 bed)

No, you may not sublet unless you are given permission by the Housing Association in question for special circumstances.

Shared ownership is a product that benefits from government funds to make homes affordable for those unable to buy on the open market, therefore, it is not permitted to make commercial gain from it. Additionally, if you do have a mortgage, your lender may also not be in accordance with you letting it out to someone else.

No, you may not rent the property out.

Yes, you should log onto the government website www.epcregister.com and find the certificate by entering your postcode. If your property is over 10 years old, or the certificate is not valid then you can request an assessor to provide you with a new certificate.

If you are a leaseholder or shared owner of a home and want to know more about EWS1 please read our in-depth article on our news section here

Financials

A poor credit rating may rule you out of qualifying for a mortgage which is needed to buy a Shared Ownership home. If your unsure, contact an Independent Mortgage Adviser (IMA) before you book an appointment to view a home

Your solicitor will:

· Carry out searches on the property to make sure there are no issues which will affect your new home.

· Check your lease.

· Communicate with our solicitors and your mortgage company.

· Ensure that all contracts and paperwork are in place so that your purchase can go without any problems.

Your BE WEST sales consultant can recommend the best solicitors from their experience for you

The terms of the Shared Ownership scheme state that you should buy the maximum share you can afford. Your Mortgage Adviser will advise what this is during your financial assessment. You can buy a maximum of 75% of the share in the first instance.

There is a usually a minimum share of at least 25% that you’ll have to buy, but the actual minimum varies from home to home. You'll find details on this website, and our sales team can advise.

Yes – all owners/occupiers over the age of 18 are liable for council tax. You may be eligible for reductions if you live alone or are a disabled owner. Contact the relevant local authority for further information.

You will be responsible for any repairs and maintenance of your home and SBHG is responsible for repairs and maintenance of any communal areas.

You'll find an estimated monthly service charge on our website for each property but the final charge you'll actually pay may differ - our sales team will advise you on this.

The service charge will be specific to the development and calculated on the number of bedrooms in your home and is reviewed on an annual basis.

We make sure that any services we provide are reasonable and affordable and the charge covers costs such as:

· Maintenance of building and grounds

· Upkeep of communal areas

· Caretaking and cleaning

· Maintenance of lifts, fire alarms and door entry systems

· Buildings insurance

· A contribution to a reserve fund to cover future redecoration or refurbishment.

The service charge is reviewed on an annual basis, and if it's to change, we'll give you at least one month's notice.

NB The service charge is separate to the ground rent you may have to pay.

You'll need to pay for your utilities.

Our calculator runs off the term of 25 years at a 4% interest rate. The length of your term can be adjusted, and will therefore affect monthly repayments. It’s down to your mortgage lender to scrutinise the loan-to-value (LTV), which can also affect repayments within your term.

 However if you wish to make any structural changes such as removing walls, you must get SBHG approval. 

If you've been successful (you'll receive notification of this by email or letter) we'll give your contact details to a mortgage advisor who'll act on your behalf. We'll also give you their contact details in case you need to speak to them.

You'll be available for an appointment with the advisor within 5 days of the offer being made and the advisor will ask you to bring some documentation that your lender will ask to see:

· Credit report

· ID

· Proof of address for each of the last 3 years

· Proof of income (a payslip or P60)

· Proof of additional income

· Last 3 months’ bank statements

· Proof of deposit

· Proof of gifted deposit

· Proof of rent for Council or Housing Association tenants (6 months rent statements)

· Landlords details (name, address and telephone number)

· Proof of rent for council or housing association tenants

· Mortgage statement (your latest annual statement)

 The interview will last from between two to three hours and the advisor will go into some detail about your day-to-day expenses and monthly outgoings.

This is quite a bit of detail, but the more information your advisor has, the more straightforward the process with your lender will be.

Up to and including 30 June 2021, you will pay no Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on the purchase of your main property costing up to £500,000.

For first time buyers, if the property value is no more than £500,000, no Stamp Duty is payable on the first £300,000 of the purchase price. 5% is payable on any value from £300,001 and £500,000.

For those who have owned a property before, Stamp Duty is 0% on the first £125,000, with 2% payable on any sum from £125,001 and £250,000. 5% tax is payable on the next £250,000 to £925,000.

You can choose to pay Stamp Duty on the entire value of the property – which while initially expensive means you won’t have to pay Stamp Duty ever again. Alternatively, you can pay Stamp Duty on your share, which could well be less than the allowance for first-time buyers, then pay the rest in stages. You would not have to pay any further Stamp Duty until your share of the property reaches 80%. The best approach to paying Stamp Duty will depend on your specific circumstances. Your solicitor or other legal advisers will be able to help you make this decision.

No you don't have to, but from experience it makes the journey less stressful for an affordable amount. Your BE WEST consultant will be able to provide you with recommended advisors who have expertise to assist you.

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