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Your circumstances may change in the future and you may need a bigger home. If we have a suitable property available, we will try to help you move by finding someone to buy your existing home and co-ordinating a simultaneous purchase of a new Gateway property.
Yes. After 12 months (or three months for a resale) you can buy up to 100% of your home (this is known as staircasing). The price you pay is based on the market value at the time. However, you can only staircase three times.
For example, if you buy 50% now, you could buy another 20% in two years time, then a further 15% in five years time and the remaining 15% later on. Please note that this is only an example - the timescales and shares are flexible and up to you.
If you are a leaseholder or a shared owner you should think about extending your lease. The closer you are to the end of your lease, the more likely it is that it will affect your (or a new buyer’s) ability to get a mortgage.
Unless you have bought all of your property, you do not have a legal right to extend your lease (for example, the right to a further 90-year lease). We will consider all applications for extending a lease individually. If you are a shared owner of a house, your lease has its own rules set out in the lease for buying extra shares or the freehold.
Yes. Many jobs, such as putting up shelves or fitting new kitchen cabinets, do not need our permission. However You must get our written permission before you start major structural work such as removing a wall or changing the windows, putting up security gates as this could affect fire safety, or you may need planning permission from your local council.
If you want to carry out major improvements you must get our written permission first. We do not allow works that affect the structure or that may decrease the value of the property.
You can buy another share in your home at any time, though not usually for the first three months after you move (or the first year if you move into a newly built home).
Your lease contains details of how you can buy an extra share in your home (known as staircasing), and you should talk to your solicitor about this. You can buy an extra share in your home in the following way.
This takes around three months to complete. The valuation is valid for three months (except at Blyth Close where it is six months) but this can usually be extended. The valuer will ignore any improvements you have made that
would increase the value of the property but, if it is in a poor condition, they will value it as though it has been looked after in line with the lease. This is so you do not benefit from neglecting your property and we do not benefit if you have done extra work on your home.
We will not let you buy any more shares (staircase) if you owe us any rent or other charges, or if you have broken your lease in any other way. Some leases only let you buy extra shares in multiples of 25%, while others let you buy extra shares in multiples of 5% (with a minimum of 10%).
You are not allowed to staircase more than three times.
We will send you an account statement every three months if you are a shared owner. It tells you how much you have paid and how much you owe us.
If you want to know how your account stands at other times, call us on 020 8709 4300 ask for the ‘current balance’ of your account.
Buying your home is a big financial commitment. We can break it down into two types.
One-off purchasing costs
For this you will need savings. The amount will depend on the property you are buying, your solicitor, your mortgage lender. We estimate that you will need between £2,000 and £4,500 to cover the costs of buying a home. This does not include your deposit.
One-off costs include:
Ongoing running costs
You will be responsible for everyday costs of home ownership, including;
We will keep the building where your flat is in good condition, insure the building and keep the shared areas (such as staircases, corridors, car parks and shared gardens) decorated, clean and well lit.
You will pay some of these costs through the service charge. We will tell you how we spend your service charge and will consult you before we start any major work.
We will redecorate and repair the outside of the building and shared areas on a regular basis (usually every five years). We will set up a fund (known as a ‘sinking fund’) which you pay into regularly to cover the future costs of any major work to the building.
As a shared owner you have a full repairing and insuring lease. This means that although you do not own the whole of your property, you are still responsible for all of the maintenance and insurance costs.
If your home is a house, you are responsible for all repairs and decoration, both inside and outside.
If your home is a flat, you are responsible for all the repairs and decoration inside your flat. This includes any service ducts and water pumps that only serve your flat.
We will insure the building (but not your contents and personal belongings) and will charge you the cost of the insurance once a year.
Servicing – you should arrange for your heating and hot-water system to be serviced each year by a qualified engineer. This is for your safety, but will also save you money and help prevent your heating and hot-water systems from breaking down.
Some of your responsibilities, as shown in your lease, include the following. You must:
You must not:
If you fall behind with your rent or service charge, you can make an agreement with us to pay off what you owe in extra amounts each month. But we will take legal action against you if you refuse to clear your debt - you may even lose your home.
We will help you sell your home if your are still a shared owner (that is to say you do not yet own the full 100% of your home). The lease allows us to nominate someone who wants to buy a shared ownership property. If we can't find a buyer within the nomination period (usually four or eight weeks, depending on your lease), you can sell privately or through an estate agent.
If your shared-ownership home is new, there will always be a ‘defects liability period’ when the builder is responsible for any fault that is caused by poor workmanship or materials. This is known as a ‘defect’.
For the first six or 12 months (depending on your scheme) after your home is built, the builders have to fix any genuine defects that appear or were not fixed when you moved in. Mechanical, plumbing, electrical, defects to the outside of the building (for example, the windows and doors) and landscaping items (for example, in the car park or garden) are all covered for the first 12 months.
It is very important that you let us know about possible defects as soon as they appear, as any delay can reduce the builder’s responsibility for fixing it. If you need to report a defect, please contact our asset management team on 020 8709 4300.
National House Builders’ Certificate (NHBC)
If you have NHBC cover, the first two years are known as the initial guarantee period. During this time you can get help from the NHBC to fix anything that does not reach NHBC standards. We will give you an NHBC handbook when you move in (if this applies to you).
For the following eight or 10 years (or four for refurbished properties) the NHBC warranty covers you against ‘major structural damage’ caused by the builder failing to meet standards. This is quite strict and a problem has to be very serious to qualify to be fixed under the NHBC warranty. It does not usually cover plumbing or electrical faults.
If you notice a fault outside the warranty or guarantee period, there is not much you can do if the builder will not accept responsibility. You may want to get legal advice about trying to claim for a fault that you have recently noticed that you think has been there for a long time.
As leaseholder, you are still responsible for keeping your property in a good condition. Warranties or insurance policies will not cover day-to-day maintenance or wear and tear.
You cannot sell a share back to us to reduce your mortgage payments or become a tenant rather than a leaseholder. However, if you are having financial difficulties that could be helped by one of these options, we will consider each individual case.
You may have to pay an amount on top of your rent for services we provide.This is called a service charge. The charges are usually for services we provide for everyone in your scheme or block and is mainly for shared areas and the main structure of the building, including the walls, roof and windows.
If you live in a house, you don’t usually have to pay a service charge because you are responsible for the whole building, although there may be a charge for estate management.
Your lease is a legal document that shows the agreement between you and us, and most shared-ownership leases are for 99 or 125 years from when they start.
You should keep a copy of your lease in a safe place in case you need it. If your solicitors did not give you a copy, you should ask them for one. We do not have a copy of every lease but we should be able to give you a copy of a standard lease for your scheme.
The lease shows your property and its boundaries. It lists our responsibilities as the freeholder of your property and your responsibilities as a leaseholder. It also tells you how we set your rent, how you can buy more of a share in your home, and how you can sell your home.
Your lease is a legal document and if you break its conditions we can take you to court.
Shared ownership is one of the low-cost home-ownership programmes run by housing associations for people who can’t afford to buy a home on the open market. At Gateway, we call all shared owners ‘leaseholders’, no matter what percentage of your home you own.
Most of our properties are shared-ownership homes where we build (or refurbish) a property and sell you part of it (usually between 25% and 75% to begin with). You then pay rent on the part of the home you do not own.
Before you can buy an extra share in your home, we recommend that you make sure that you have enough money to pay for it. You may be able to take out a new mortgage or increase your current mortgage. At this stage, you won’t know exactly how much the extra share will cost you, so it is important that you speak to your mortgage lender or financial advisor to find out how much money you can get.
You will have to pay the following one-off costs when you buy an extra share.
We will be able to give you an estimate of these costs when you start the process of buying an extra share or shares.
Your lease says you must pay your rent and service charge on the first day of each month. We will let you know before you first move in how much rent you should pay.
If you live in a house, you will pay rent and no service charge, although there may be an estate management charge.
You can pay by standing order or direct debit into our bank account. You should tell your bank to make these payments, and we can give you a form with our details (standing order only).
We can give you a rent payment card if you ask for one. We offer a wide range of ways to pay.
You are. When you buy through shared ownership you have a full repairing and insurance lease, which is usually 99 or 125 years long.
If you buy a flat, your responsibilities include:
Our main responsibilities include:
You will share the costs of this with other flats in the block through a service charge.
If you buy a house, all repairs are your responsibility, but we will arrange the buildings insurance and charge you the premium once a year.