Help to Buy or Shared Ownership schemes have become a more realistic option for many people struggling to afford their own home.


Help to Buy or Shared Ownership schemes have become a more realistic option for many people struggling to afford their own home.
Generally run through Housing Associations or Registered Social Landlords, these schemes operate whereby you purchase a share of the property and then pay rent on the remaining share you do not own.
There are a variety of schemes already in place and most have terms which allow the buyer to pay for further percentages in the property over time and ultimately buy the property outright known as Staircasing.
Shared ownership conveyancing is often more complicated than a straightforward purchase because shared ownership properties are always leasehold and there are Government rules to comply with. That’s why you need an experienced shared ownership lawyer with in-depth knowledge of the scheme rules to handle your transaction on your behalf.


A key feature of a shared ownership lease is the right of a tenant to purchase additional shares until eventually they own 100% of the lease, this purchase cannot be carried out within the 1st 12 months of purchasing the initial share. The purchase of additional shares is known as staircasing and the purchase of the final share, which takes ownership to 100%, is known as final staircasing. Staircasing often requires a conveyancer to complete the transaction, GloverPriest use dedicated specialist members to support in Staircasing matters.  
Staircasing is the process of acquiring additional shares in the property. The minimum purchase is usually set at 10% with no maximum. If a tenant wished to staircase they would approach the landlord who must then gain a value of the property as a whole and advise the tenant of the cost of the share they would like to purchase. Following the purchase of a share tenant and landlord will execute a memorandum evidencing the purchase and confirming the new Specified Rent. The rent will be reduced to reflect the reduced share owned by the landlord.
Final staircasing occurs when the tenant buys the final share so that they own 100% of the leasehold interest. When that happens, the Specified Rent is reduced to zero. What happens next depends on the terms of the particular lease. Where the property is a house the lease will generally provide for the landlord's freehold interest to be transferred to the tenant. In this case the "tenant" will acquire both the freehold and leasehold interests, so that the lease is in effect defunct and if the tenant so wishes the leasehold title can be closed.
Since it is necessary for flats to remain let on a lease rather than being freehold, final staircasing for flat leases are dealt with differently. Sometimes a new lease will be granted with the old shared ownership lease being surrendered. More usually, the original lease will continue and will include a clause stating that the clauses which make up the shared ownership provisions (restriction on sub-letting, nomination provisions etc) will no longer apply. Where the housing association is itself a tenant of the freeholder (for example where a block is made up of both shared ownership and non shared ownership flats) the housing association's head leasehold interest may be transferred on final staircasing.

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