What is Staircasing?

Staircasing is when you buy more shares in your homeownership property (increasing your equity and reducing your rent charges).

  • Firstly, please read all of the 'Step by Step Guide' below for information on the process of staircasing.
  • Once you have read the information, at the bottom of the page is a link for you to log in to your MyHightown account to begin the process.

Step-by-Step Guide to 'Staircasing'

  • 1. Check if you are eligible

    To staircase, your rent and service charge account must be up to date with no arrears.

    You can check your account online via MyHightown link account.

    There are some limitations on buying more shares:

    • Not all Shared Ownership properties allow you to staircase
    • Your lease may only allow you to staircase by a certain amount, or by a certain percentage at a time.

    Please note: It is vital that you check your lease before you begin to staircase.

    If you are unsure if you are eligible or what your lease says, please contact the Home Ownership team.

  • 2. Valuing your home
    • The first stage of staircasing is to have the property valued.
    • Hightown has a fee of £354 (including VAT) for this process, which pays towards the cost of the valuations and the administration process.
    • Most leases state that your shared ownership property must be valued by a RICS qualified valuer.
    • Hightown has a list of approved RICS qualified valuers that cover different geographical areas. You will need to select two valuers to value your property.

    See our list of approved valuers

    The valuers contact you to arrange an appointment to visit your home. They will value 100% of your home, and the value of your share will be based on the proportion which you own. 

    Once Hightown has received the valuations back from both valuers, we will send you a Valuation Offer letter confirming the value of your home. Please note that the reports are for Hightown use only.

    Valuations are valid for three months. After this time, the valuation can usually be re-validated at the same value, at a cost of £72 (including VAT). This can only be done on a maximum of two occasions, after which a full valuation at a fee of £354 (including VAT) will be required.

     

  • 3. Anti-money laundering checks and mortgage approvals

    Once you have received the Valuation Offer letter, you will need to confirm with Hightown that you are proceeding with the staircasing.

    In line with our financial and anti-money laundering regulations, you will be asked to come to Hightown's office for an informal interview where you will be required to provide documentation (e.g. photo ID, proof of address, proof of how you will purchase the additional shares and bank statements,).

    If you are staircasing to less than 100%, Hightown is also required to approve your new mortgage. This has a fee of £60 plus VAT.

    Click here to see the full Administrative Fee list.

  • 4. Instructing the solicitors

    Once the anti-money laundering checks have been completed, you will need to instruct a solicitor to manage the staircasing process on your behalf.

    We recommend that you find a solicitor who is familiar with shared ownership. Please also ensure that you are aware of the fees you will be charged by your solicitor at the beginning of the process.

    Hightown will then instruct our solicitors to liaise with your solicitors regarding the staircasing.

     

     

  • 5. After completion

    Once the staircasing has been completed, your rent and service charges will change depending on which of the following options apply to you:

    Buying less than 100% of your home  
    • Your rent will be reduced according to what percentage you have just bought
    • Any service charges that you currently pay will still apply.
    Buying 100% of your home 

    Houses

    • You will become the Freeholder and pay no rent
    • You will need to arrange your own building insurance
    • In most cases, any service charges that you currently pay for communal areas, will still apply
    • If there is an external Managing Agent on the estate, you will pay them directly, rather than through Hightown

    Flats

    • You will become the Leaseholder and pay ground rent instead of rent
    • In most cases, Hightown will still arrange the building insurance and manage the building
    • In most cases, any service charges that you currently pay will still apply

 I'm ready to start the staircasing process

When you have chosen your two surveyors, please:

  1. Notify Hightown that you want to staircase via the online portal, MyHightown. Please complete and submit the form telling us of your intention to staircase and provide all information required (including if you have made any alterations/improvements to your home).
  2. Pay £354 (including VAT) administrative fee - this can be done by calling the Home Ownership team on 01442 292535.

Once we have received your online form and payment, we will formally instruct the two valuers to begin the staircasing process.

To contact the Home Ownership team, please email homeownership@hightownha.org.uk or call 01442 292535