FAQs - shared ownership


What is a lease? 

A Lease is a legal document that sets out the rights and responsibilities of the leaseholder and the landlord. We have a contractural right to ensure that you, as the leaseholder, comply with the terms of the lease agreement.

Your responsibilities usually include: 

  • Paying rent and sometimes service charges (if applicable to your property) 

  • Maintaining and repairing internal parts of your home including fixtures and fittings  

  • Obtaining our written permission before carrying out any structural changes or improvements 

  • Being considerate to neighbours 

  • Taking care of your own rubbish by leaving it out only on your collection day

  • Keeping to your own parking bay or designated space if you have one

 Rent and service charges 

Rent 

You pay rent on the unsold share of your home, so this will vary from property to property, and leaseholder to leaseholder. Your rent is usually due on the 1st of each month and in advance.                         

Service charges 

The terms of your lease set out what services you will receive and what you will have to pay for. Your service charges will be based on your lease terms.  Service charges vary with different properties and estates but may include the cost of: 

  • Communal maintenance and repairs 

  • Cleaning communal areas 

  • Landscaping 

  • Buildings insurance 

  • Management fee 


 Who maintains my property? 

Generally, you will be responsible for maintenance of your home. We are responsible for maintaining the structure and exterior of the buildings and any common parts, and the costs of this are recovered through a service charge, which is in addition to your rent. 

If your home is new, the builder will be responsible for some repairs for the first 12 months. Otherwise, you will be responsible for any necessary repairs.


 Can I make alterations to my property? 

Alterations can be made to properties however:

  • If the alterations affect the structure of the property, then you must have permission from the Council before you start any work. You need to fill out the alterations form and return it to the address on the form. Our Assets Management team will contact you, in writing, to give our response.  

  • If your alterations require planning permission, you will need to contact the Planning team . There may also be a need for Building Regulations. 

Not all alterations require our approval, (such as decorating). However, we would always suggest contacting us to check before you start any work. 


 How do I insure my property? 

If you do not have a mortgage or your property is a flat/maisonette then it will need to be insured through the Council. This will be a charge along with your rent.  

If your property is a house and you have a mortgage then it needs to be insured through a company of your choice, making sure that your buildings insurance covers the whole rebuild cost and not just your share. The rebuild cost is not related to the value of the property and you should take professional advice on this cost. 


How do I buy more shares in my property? 

Purchasing additional shares in your shared ownership home is known as 'staircasing'.

You can purchase further shares in your property after you have purchased it, and is dependant on which model of shared ownership you have purchased. For the older model the minimum purchase for additional shares is 10%, however under the new model you can purchase 1% shares over 15 years, and still purchase larger shares of a minimum of 5%.

If you want to purchase additional shares you will need to get in touch with the Council beforehand. 

Once we have received your request, we will contact you to arrange a date and time for an independent valuation to be carried out. You will be required to pay for the valuation and your own legal fees. 

You have six weeks to decide whether to go ahead with the purchase or not, and also what additional percentage you wish to buy. 



Can I keep a pet in my property? 

You can keep pets in your shared ownership property only after obtaining permissions from us. You should not keep any pets in the house without first contacting us. 

You need to be aware that any pets you keep in your property must not be a nuisance to neighbours. 

You should follow the guidance as states on our 'Keeping Pets' webpage and adhere to the Council's Pets Policy.


 

Dealing with neighbourhood nuisance / anti-social behaviour 

Not to cause nuisance to your neighbours will be of the main obligations of your lease, (along with paying your rent). You are responsible for the behaviour of your family and visitors to your home. All our residents have the right to live peacefully in their homes and we expect people to show consideration to their neighbours. 

We recommend that neighbours attempt to solve problems between themselves in the first instance.  

More information can be found on our  on how we deal with anti-social behaviour can be found in our Neighbourhood Nuisances and Anti-social Behaviour Policy, and our 'Anti-social behaviour' webpage.


Have a question? Why not send it to us on communityhousing@dover.gov.uk.