What you need to know about staircasing
You are entitled to buy additional shares at any time after you purchase your shared ownership home.
The process of purchasing additional shares and increasing your ownership (equity) is called “staircasing”. Your lease will contain information that explains how to staircase.
Before you apply to staircase, it is wise to speak to your mortgage lender or an independent financial adviser to ensure you will be able to afford to buy more shares.
When you apply to increase your shares, your rent account must be up to date and must remain so throughout the process. You also need to consider the costs of legal fees and any additional mortgage fees you will incur.
It is L&Q’s policy that you can only staircase in multiples of 5% and 10% shares. The minimum share is 10%.
If you would like to calculate how your rent will change by purchasing more shares in your home, please see our interim staircasing calculator (Microsoft Excel). You will need to enter both your current share owned (%) and your current rent (£).
Information for leaseholders in our apartment blocks
Some residents and buyers in our apartment blocks may experience issues securing mortgages as a result of changes in building safety advice.
You can find out more about these changes on our leaseholders who live in our apartment blocks page.
Please seek advice directly from your lender or mortgage broker before applying to make sure you do not incur any unnecessary valuation or solicitors' costs.
Staircasing: step by step
You'll need to instruct an independent RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) / FRICS (Fellow of Royal institute of Chartered Surveyors) registered surveyor.
You are able to instruct a surveyor of your choice or we have an experienced panel of surveyors who can assist you; they provide very competitive rates to L&Q residents.
If you choose to use your own surveyor, they must meet the following criteria:
We always require a copy of the full valuation report and it should be based on an assumption that the property has been maintained to a good standard. This is within the requirements of your lease.
As per the terms of your lease, your staircasing transaction should complete within three months of the date of the valuation. If an extension is required, you will be responsible for any related costs (updates are usually only valid for a further three-month period).
You should also be aware that if the value of your property changes if a new valuation is required, we will recalculate your staircasing premium accordingly, regardless to whether the value has increased or decreased.
Once you receive your valuation and have sought financial advice on whether staircasing is financially viable to you, you may submit your request to our Staircasing team.
We have a panel of independent financial consultants who would be more than happy to assist you further.
Please attach your valuation and if applicable your home improvement form by email at email@example.com. Please confirm you wish to buy more shares detailing your full address and contact details.
When we receive the property valuation, we will calculate the premium of the share you don't own. You will then be contacted to request payment of our administration fee.
On receipt of payment a staircasing confirmation letter detailing the calculations, together with a response form will be emailed to you. This form will ask you to confirm the additional shares you wish to purchase. We’ll also ask you to provide your solicitors details.
We have a panel of dedicated solicitors who are all experienced in assisting shared owners buy more shares.
Your application will not progress until you return your response form confirming how you wish to proceed and the additional shares you wish to purchase. All leaseholders must sign this form.
We will contact all solicitors involved and pass on all relevant information to them. They will then work together to agree a completion date. We would advise you to keep in regular contact with your solicitor during this time.
Step five: Completion
If you are purchasing 100% and currently not paying a service charge: you will no longer have to pay rent or have any further communication with us.
If you are purchasing 100% and currently pay service charges: your solicitor will confirm if you will continue to pay this service charge to L&Q or directly to a third party managing agent.
If you staircase to a share in excess of 75%, when you come to sell it is unlikely that we'll be able to find a buyer for your home - that's because first time shared ownership buyers can only buy between 25% and 75% of a home.
However, before you put your home up for sale on the open market you must let us know and we will issue you a 'waive' letter confirming you can sell via a high street agent. To find out more, please visit our selling your shared ownership home page.
If you are interim staircasing (buying less than 100%): we'll update your file with your new share and confirm your new rent figure that you will now have to pay.