Everything you need to know about your rights as a shared owner.

Important message

You should always refer to your lease agreement for the full details and conditions about your rights and responsibilities in relation to your home.

Shared owners own a share in their home and pay rent on the rest. They typically hold a lease of anywhere from 99 to 999 years.

Read our complete guide to shared ownership (PDF) to find out more.

Every shared owner is given an L&Q lease agreement when they buy their home and asked to sign it. We also sign a copy of this lease. This is a legal document that sets out what you can expect of us (your rights) and, in turn, what we will expect from you during your lease (your responsibilities). It’s important you ask your solicitor to go through these carefully with you and provide you with a copy.

You can find lots of useful information on your rights as a shared owner on LEASE’s website.

The below list describes some of the typical rights and responsibilities that will be set out in your lease agreement, but it’s important to note that different shared owners may have different types of agreements.

  • You have a right to buy your home in increments
    When purchasing your shared ownership home, you will have paid a premium for the lease as a fixed amount of the property value (10-75%) to us.

    The Shared Ownership scheme gives you the right to increase the amount of premium you pay, up to 100% of the property value – this is called staircasing. Once you pay 100%, you own the lease.

    Your responsibilities: to benefit from staircasing, you must pay your rent on time and in full.
  • You have a right to sell your home
    If you want to move house, you have the right to sell your lease/share of your lease at any time.

    Your responsibilities: once you’re ready to sell, you must get in touch with us and we can explain your options to you.

    We have an eight-week nomination period, which is detailed within your lease. We will attempt to sell your share (so it continues to be a shared ownership home) or we will sell your home as an outright sale.

    Your home will be sold at the full market value at the time of sale on our resales page.
  • You have a right to sublet your shared ownership home
    If you own 100% of your home and wish to sublet it, you should be able to do so without any issues. However, we always need to check the terms of your lease to make sure there are no restrictions.

    If you own less than 100% of your home, usually you’re not allowed to sublet the whole of your shared ownership home, but we may consider a request to sublet in exceptional circumstances.

    We will consider your request in line with government guidance. If you live in London, you can read this guidance (paragraphs 4.1.221-230). If you live outside of London, you can read this guidance (paragraph 5.3.21-25).

    Learn more about subletting.

    Your responsibilities: 
    you must provide evidence of your reason to sublet and information on the rent you plan to charge. This rent must aim to cover costs, like rent, mortgage, service charges and letting costs.
  • If you die, the people named in your will have a right to inherit the part of your home you own
    If you don’t have a will, we will follow intestacy rules to decide who should inherit the part of your home you own. Usually, this means it will pass on to your children (if you have any) or closest blood relatives.

    There are lots of rules, which apply to decide who may have this right. For more information on succession and the rules that apply to your lease agreement, please get in touch with our customer service centre.

    Your responsibilities: we recommend that all shared owners make a will setting out what they wish to happen to their home if they die.

    Any family members wishing to apply for succession when a homeowner passes away must contact us within one month of this happening.
  • You have a right to receive notice of a proposed visit to carry out repairs or maintenance or to view the condition and state of repair of your home
    Under your lease agreement, we must give you at least 48 hour’s notice before we need to visit you to inspect the condition of your home or carry out our repairs.

    The exact length of time we need to give notice can be found in your lease agreement.

    Your responsibilities: please check your lease agreement, which sets out your specific responsibilities to keep your home free from disrepair and defects as well as rules around the removal of fixtures and fittings or unauthorised alterations or additions.
  • You have a right to challenge your service charge
    You have the right to challenge your service charge if you do not think it is reasonable.

    This will involve you asking the First-tier Tribunal to determine whether you are liable to pay service charges for services, repairs, maintenance, improvements, insurance or management. This is called seeking a determination.

    You may make a request before or after you have paid the service charge. You’ll find information about how to do this on the government website.

    Your responsibilities: if you seek a determination from the First-tier Tribunal, you may have to pay additional costs, like professional fees.

    If you’re experiencing difficulties paying your service charge or any other personal circumstances are making this difficult for you, please get in touch with us as soon as possible, so that we can help you.

    You can also find lots of useful information and tips on our cost of living support page.
  • You have a right to be consulted before we carry out any repairs that cost more than £250 for any single leaseholder
    Where we are responsible for maintaining the shared parts and structure of your building, if the costs are more than £250 for any single shared owner, then we are required to consult you under Section 20 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985.

    This means we must provide you with an estimated cost of works and give you the opportunity to provide feedback on these proposals. This is called making an observation.

    Find out more about Section 20 consultations.

    Your responsibilities: you should check your lease to find out what proportion of costs you are liable to pay.

How your home meets health and safety laws

We must make sure that the shared parts and structure of your building meet the standards set out in various health and safety laws, but also to help ensure that you and those living in your home are safe and feel safe.

The two most common assessments and checks that we must carry out are as follows:

Fire risk assessment

We must review fire risk assessments covering the shared parts and structure of your building every 1-5 years depending on the building. We take into account the age and size of the building in deciding how frequently we do this.

During this assessment we check the risk to residents from fire, taking into account existing fire safety measures and determine whether additional measures are necessary.

Asbestos check

We must check that the shared parts and structure of your building are free from asbestos. This involves us checking if the shared parts and structure of your building contain asbestos, and if so, where it is, what condition is it in, to assess the risk and to make a plan to manage the risk and act on it.

If we need to carry out any work as a result of a fire risk assessment or asbestos check, like replacing communal doors or materials in the structure of your building, these are usually covered by the service charge you pay. However, if the cost of works is more than £250 for any single leaseholder, we will give you the opportunity to provide feedback on these proposals – this is called a Section 20 consultation.

Your responsibilities

You should notify us if you become aware of any safety features within any communal areas that become faulty or look like they need repairing, so that we can take measures to repair or correct the situation in a timely manner.