What is staircasing?
Staircasing is the process where anyone who has bought a new home through shared ownership can increase the amount of ‘share’ they own on that property.
The greater the share you buy in your home, the less rent you will have to pay.
The amount you can step up by, or ‘staircase’ is done in increments that are called tranches: these are usually detailed in your lease and will be the percentage you can increase by.
In many cases the amount you can staircase up to is capped at 75% however, in some cases you can increase your share up to 100%.
If the details in your lease allow you to staircase up to 100%, then you will become an outright owner and will no longer have to pay rent, although you may still need to pay service charges. Details of the maximum share you can purchase will also be detailed in your lease.
Once you fully own your home you may also be able to acquire the freehold.
What is the process for staircasing?
As an owner of a Shared Ownership property you will need to follow this process in order to staircase your share, before you begin this process if your home is in an apartment block read our important advice:
- Contact Sanctuary to advise of your intention to staircase: Call 0800 916 1444 from a landline or 0300 123 3516 from your mobile or via e-mail Homeownership@sanctuary-housing.co.uk.
- Sanctuary will send you the sale procedure with a valuation form for you to complete and return
- Sanctuary receives completed valuation form
- Sanctuary instructs the properties valuer
- The valuer will then contact you directly to arrange a valuation
- The valuer then sends the valuation report to Sanctuary
- Sanctuary sends you the valuation report and confirms the price for the share that you wish to purchase
- You will then need to confirm in writing to Sanctuary (email is acceptable) your intention to proceed and confirm your solicitor’s details to Sanctuary
- Sanctuary then instructs their internal or external solicitors
- Once everything has successfully gone through you then take a step up, owning a greater share in your home!
You should refer to your lease, in any case your solicitor will be able to advise you. If your lease allows you to staircase to 100% and you own the house, this would usually mean you will acquire the freehold. Your rent will reduce as your share increases, but there may still be service charges payable for grounds maintenance etc.
Not every shared ownership property is able to be staircased up to 100%. These are for several reasons, including planning permission or restrictions placed by local authorities. We will always tell you the maximum you can staircase as well as the minimum amount of share you can take.
You will need to pay for the valuation, your solicitor’s fees, our solicitor’s fees and any disbursements. These will be explained in advance by your solicitor and Sanctuary where applicable.
Yes, we strongly recommend that you seek professional legal advice prior to staircasing and that you instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf.
A valuation is required to determine the market value of the property. As Sanctuary will be selling a percentage to you, it is important that the price the share is sold for is fair and equitable.
The valuer who will carry out the valuation must be a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Valuations are valid for three months, after which time the valuer may extend or need to re-value depending on market conditions.
Some leaseholders may experience issues securing mortgages for homes which are in blocks of flats or apartments as a result of changes in building safety advice. Make sure you seek advice directly from your lender or mortgage broker before applying to staircase, sell or remortage a property in this situation so that you don’t incur any unnecessary valuation or solicitors' costs. For more information please visit our online page regarding building safety advice for homes in apartment blocks.
Yes, if you own less than 100% share of your home Sanctuary can, in some instances buy your home back. Sanctuary may also be able to find a buyer for your home. Once you own the full 100% share you can sell the property yourself.
Contact us for further information about selling your Shared Ownership home.