The process of buying more shares in your shared ownership home and increasing your equity is called “staircasing”. Here, you'll find information about how and when to staircase.

What you need to know about staircasing

You can buy more shares any time after you purchase your shared ownership home.

You have three opportunities to buy more shares up to 100%.

You can only buy shares in multiples of 5% and 10%.

You must be able to afford to buy more shares as well as the costs of any legal or additional mortgage fees.

Your rent account must be up to date during the whole process.

Your lease also contains lots of useful information about how to staircase.

How to calculate changes to your rent when staircasing

To calculate how your rent will change if you buy more shares in your home, please use our interim staircasing calculator (Microsoft Excel).

You'll need to know your current share percentage (%) and rent (£).

Information for leaseholders in our apartment blocks who want to staircase

Some residents and buyers in our apartment blocks may experience issues securing mortgages because of changes in building safety advice.

To find out more about the changes, please visit our leaseholders who live in our apartment blocks page.

How to staircase: step by step

  • Step one: check that you can afford to staircase
    The first thing we recommend you do is to speak to a financial consultant to find out if you can afford to buy more shares in your home.

    They'll be able to tell you if staircasing is financially possible and how far you can staircase.
  • Step two: instruct a RICS/FRICS registered surveyor to complete a valuation report
    You need to instruct an independent RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) / FRICS (Fellow of Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) registered surveyor to complete a valuation report.

    You can instruct your own or we have a panel of experienced surveyors who can help you – our panel provides very competitive rates to L&Q residents. If you want to use your own surveyor, they must be: 
    • independent and not associated with any estate agents 
    • unrelated to you 
    • not employed by any bank/building society 
    • registered with the recognised qualification of FRICS or RICS
    We always require a copy of the full valuation report. It should be valid for a period of three months – and until completion takes place.

    The report should assume that the property has been maintained to a good standard. This is within the requirements of your lease.

    It must include at least three comparable properties used to determine the value.

    It must also state that we can use the contents of the valuation report.

    Any home improvements must be declared using our home improvement form (PDF). Please note that we may ask the surveyor to justify the valuation provided.

    As per the terms of your lease, your staircasing transaction must be completed within three months of the date of the valuation. If an extension is required, you’ll 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 home changes if a new valuation is required, we’ll need to recalculate your staircase premium, regardless of whether the value has increased or decreased.
  • Step three: double check that you can afford to staircase and send us your valuation
    It’s a good idea, once you’ve received your valuation, to get in touch with your financial consultant to make sure you can still afford to buy more shares in your home.

    If you’ve not spoken to them yet, we strongly suggest that you seek financial advice as soon as possible.

    When you’re ready to proceed, please email your staircasing request to our team.

    You’ll need to include your valuation report and home improvement form – if applicable.

    We’ll also need you to confirm that you wish to buy more shares as well as your contact details and full address.
  • Step four: pay the administration fee, instruct a solicitor and confirm how you want to proceed
    After we receive your valuation report, we’ll calculate the premium of the share you don’t own. We’ll then contact you to pay the administration fee for this service.

    To see the full list of our administration fees, please download a copy: Once we’ve received your payment, we’ll email you a confirmation letter detailing the calculations and a response form.

    Please complete the response form to confirm how you would like to proceed, how many shares you want to buy and your solicitor's details.

    You can instruct your own solicitor or we have a panel of dedicated solicitors who can help you. They are all experienced in assisting shared owners to buy more shares. We will not process your application until this form has been signed by all leaseholders and returned to us.
  • Step five: Know what happens after completion
    If you’re buying 100% of your home and currently pay a service charge – which we pass on to a third-party managing agent, your solicitor will let you know if you need to continue paying us after completion or pay the third-party agent directly. When there is no third party involved, you will continue to pay service charges directly to us.

    If you’re buying 100% of your home and do not currently pay a service charge, you will no longer have to pay us rent or have any further communication with us.

    If you staircase to shares higher than 75% and want to sell, it’s 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 so that we can 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’re buying less than 100% of your home, we'll update our records with your new share and confirm what the new rent figure is you have to pay.

Frequently asked questions about staircasing

Can I reverse staircase (sell a share back to L&Q)?

Our complete guide to Shared Ownership

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