When you buy more shares in your home ownership property, increasing your equity and reducing your ground rent charges, this is known as 'staricasing'.

There will be solicitor and other administrative costs involved in staircasing. Our step-by-step guide below will walk you through this process.

 

I'm ready to staircase

  1. Please make sure you read the guidance below so you are familiar with the process.
  2. Log in to your MyHightown account and send in details about your wish to buy more shares.
  3. Call 01442 292300 to pay your valuation fee. Please ask for the Homeownership team and use your address as your reference.

After your home has been valued, we will discuss how much you want to staircase (i.e. how many shares you want to buy).

 

Step-by-Step Guide to 'Staircasing'

  • 1. Check if you are eligible

    There must not be any arrears on your account, so your rent and service charge payments must be up to date. You can check this via your online MyHightown account.

    There are some limitations on buying more shares.

    1. Not all Home Ownership properties allow you to staircase.
    2. Your lease may only allow you to staircase by a certain amount or by a certain percentage at a time.

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

  • 2. Picking a valuer

    You must have your home valued before you can buy more shares. You can choose from our list of RICS qualified valuers. We will then formally instruct the valuers. See our list of approved valuers

    Once you've chosen your valuers, you can then instruct Hightown and we will arrange the valuations on your behalf (see Step 3). There is a fee of £354.00 that pays towards the costs of the valuations and administration.

    About valuations

    The valuer will value 100% of your home, and the value of your share will be based on the proportion which you currently own. If you have carried out any improvements you need to let us know what you've done so the valuer can take these into account. 

    If you wish to  sell and staircase simultaneously (i.e. buy all the shares in your home and sell it at the same time) the value without improvements will be used to calculate the price paid to Hightown for your share.

    N.B. Valuations are valid for three months. If you haven't accepted the valuation and instructed your solicitors within three months, the valuation will expire and we will close your application. Before this happens, we will write to you with a reminder.

     

  • 3. Instructing Hightown

    Once you have chosen your 2 valuers, you need to inform Hightown that you want to buy more shares and send in your valuation fee. We will formally instruct the valuers.

    To instruct Hightown:

    1. Log in online and fill in the form to tell us about your intention to staircase and which valuers you want to use.
    2. Call 01442 292300 and ask for your Homeownership Officer to pay your valuation fee. Please use your property address as your reference.
  • 4. Valuing your home

    Once we've received your online form and fee, we will instruct the valuers. They will contact you to arrange an appointment to assess your home. Valuers are independent and governed by the RICS code of practice.

    The fee you pay covers some of the cost of the valuations and the administration. 

    The valuers will send a report to Hightown. You will not receive a copy of the report and are not entitled to a copy; however, Hightown will issue you will an offer letter which will tell you the value of your home.

  • 5. Confirmation & Anti-Money Laundering

    On receiving the offer letter, you need to let us know if you wish to proceed.

    Due to Anti-Money Laundering regulations, you will be asked to come to Hightown's offices to provide:

    • your photo ID (passport / driving licence)
    • proof of funds that you plan to use to buy more shares (statements from savings accounts, mortgage offer letters, etc)

    If you are being gifted money (e.g. from a parent or relative), we will need a letter confirming that the money is a gift to you and where the money has come from (e.g. from a parent's personal savings). If we cannot identify where the money has come from, we will not be able to help you to buy more shares.

     

  • 6. Getting legal

    You need to appoint a solicitor to help you to buy more shares (staircase). We recommend that you choose someone familiar with shared ownership - we can give you details of solicitors who act for shared owners.

    Many solicitors will offer a fixed fee so you may wish to agree a price with your solicitor beforehand.

    We will instruct solicitors to act on our behalf, they liaise with your solicitor to agree a completion date.

    Please note: You may need to pay the cost of any searches, Land Registry fees or stamp duty (please ask your solicitor to advise you).

     

     

  • 7. After you have staircased
    Buying less than 100% of your home  

    Your rent will be reduced in relation to the share that you buy.

    Any service charges that you paid previously will still apply.

    Buying your home outright (100%) 

    Houses

    • You will own the freehold.
    • You will no longer pay rent.

     

    • You will only have to pay additional charges if there is a Management Company.
    • You will also need to arrange Building Insurance, which was previously covered in your monthly service charges.  
    • You may also have to contribute towards the upkeep of any communal areas.

    Flats

    • You will no longer pay rent.
    • You will be a leaseholder.

     

    • You will still pay ground rent 
    • We will continue to insure and manage the building.
    • You will continue to pay a service charge.
    • You will pay any leasehold charges in relation to communal areas.