Waiting lists

Can I register for more than one development?

We can only match you to one property at a time. You can express an interest in purchasing at more than one development, but if we match you to a property you need to accept the offer – or decline it if you'd rather hold out for a match at another development that you might prefer. We can't guarantee that you will be matched at the other development, and we won't be able to hold the first offer while you wait to find out.

Finances

If I'm self-employed, can I still apply for Shared Ownership?

Yes, but it's likely you'll need a higher deposit than usual for the share you are buying. This is subject to your lender's conditions at the time of purchase.

If you're self-employed we'll also need to see either audited accounts for the last two full years plus an estimate for the current year OR copies of your last three years' tax returns and SA302 forms for the same period. When we do an affordability check as part of the application process, we'll use your income figures to inform our decision. If your income has been stable we'll take an average figure. If it has fluctuated over the last two or three years, we'll use the lowest annual income as a guide.

You may find it difficult to get a mortgage if you're self-employed, so it's well worth speaking to an Specialist Financial Advisor (SFA) about this.

What happens if my lender has valued the property below the agreed sale price?

This is called a ‘down valuation' and will affect your ability to borrow enough to cover the agreed equity price. We try to avoid this by keeping the value of our homes in line with the local market, but it does happen from time to time, particularly in a falling property market. We would help you in challenging the down valuation by providing evidence of recent sale prices for similar properties in the area. But this doesn't guarantee that the lender will agree to change their valuation. We wouldn't normally agree to reduce our sale price unless there was compelling evidence that the market values in the area had fallen – in this case we'd suggest you approach a different lender, or try to make up the shortfall with your savings.

If you're a council tenant

Will I get priority if I'm a council tenant?

Depending on the criteria agreed with the Local Authority, council tenants giving full vacant possession of the council property on purchasing a Shared Ownership home may get priority.

Living in the property

Can I buy more shares?

Yes, unless it says otherwise in your lease, you will be able to buy more of the remaining shares in your home until you own 100%. This is known as 'staircasing'.

What if I want to sell my home?

If you're still a Shared Owner, the lease specifies a period of time that we have exclusivity to sell the home. This is called the nomination period – usually 8 weeks. It means that we will try and find a buyer, and if we're successful we will charge you, the seller, a fee of 1% of the price your share sold for. If after the nomination period is up, we haven't found a buyer, you'll be free to sell your home on the open market.

Can I have pets?

Unfortunately, usually not – this will be set out in the terms of your lease.

Can I sub-let or rent out my home?

No, your lease doesn't allow this.

Rent

Does my rent pay off the share I don't own?

No, the rent is paid on the share that we still own, in the same way that you would pay a landlord for a private rental but at a lower than market rate.

Will the rent go up?

Yes, the rent will increase on 1 April every year as detailed in your lease. As a guide this is usually based on the Retail Price Index plus 0.5% per year. But for resales it will be based on the increase that was set out when the first under-lease was granted.

When do I stop paying rent?

When you own 100% of your home, though you will always have to pay ground rent.

How do I pay my rent?

Just before your completion date you'll pay the first month's rent upfront and possibly the second month's rent as well – if you complete towards the end of the month, you would normally pay until the end of the month and for the next month. You'll make this payment via your solicitor. After that you'll pay on the first day of every month by Direct Debit or standing order, except for the very first payment which you'll make through your solicitor just before your completion date.

There's more about rent and service charges here.

Service charges and other costs

Does Notting Hill Housing or Genesis share the cost of utility bills?

No, you have to pay all of them.

Do I have to take out contents insurance?

You don't have to, but it's worth thinking about this seriously because buildings insurance won't cover your belongings.

What does my service charge cover?

As the homeowner you will have to pay a service charge to cover the costs associated with managing and maintaining the development you live in.

What is the reserve fund?

We collect funds from all leaseholders every year to put towards the cost of potential major repairs in the future. It minimises the impact of these costs as and when they arise.

Why do I have to pay for buildings insurance?

If anything major happens to your property, like subsidence or structural damage caused by storms, floods or fire, you'll need insurance to pay for the repairs.

Does the property I'm buying have a builder's guarantee?

All of the new homes we offer have at minimum a 10-year NHBC guarantee which covers certain repairs.

Do I have to pay for repairs and maintenance?

You have to pay for repairs inside your home. If your home is in a block, the service charge you pay goes towards funds for maintenance and repairs in the shared areas.

Can I make a snagging list when I move in?

No, we snag the property before you move in. But if there is a genuine defect in your property within the first year of the building being completed (the ‘defects period'), you can report it to us and we will have it repaired. That doesn't include anything that's only cosmetically imperfect and still fit for purpose or in working order. After the defects period has ended, you'll need to contact the developer's aftercare office about the NHBC guarantee.

NEXT: find out about financial advisors and solicitors

Need more information?

If you have any questions about Shared Ownership, or you think we should add any other questions and answers to this page, please get in touch: you can call us on 0203 815 1234.