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Information for Shared Owners

Shared ownership is a great way on to the property ladder. You buy an initial share of a home ranging from 25% to 75% of its value and pay a low rent on the remaining share, with the option to own your home outright in the future.

  • How it works
  • Living in your home
  • What you can expect from Torus
  • FAQs

Updated: 19 December 2023

Shared Ownership

Shared ownership is a great way on to the property ladder. You buy an initial share of a home ranging from 25% to 75% of its value and pay a low rent on the remaining share, with the option to own your home outright in the future.

Buying through shared ownership means you need a smaller mortgage and, therefore, a smaller deposit than if you were buying on the open market, so you can step onto the property ladder without over stretching yourself financially.

In addition to your mortgage, you pay a subsidised rent on the share of your home you don’t own.

The benefits of being a shared owner are:

  • You need a smaller mortgage and smaller deposit
  • You can buy more shares in the property when you can afford them
  • You get the home you’ve always dreamed of at a price you can afford

And, whenever you want, you can buy bigger shares in your home until you own 100% – this is known as staircasing.  When you buy more shares in your home, up to 100%, the rent you pay goes down and when you own 100% of the home, you do not pay any rent.

If you have any questions, please speak to our Leasehold Team:

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Your voice, your say – get involved

As Shared Owners  you can get involved in “Torus Tenant Voice” opportunities, where you can take part in consultations that interest you, share your ideas and influence the service you receive.

We have a dedicated involvement team who support our customer volunteers to give their views and have their say, through a wide range of opportunities to suit them.

Find out more about how you can give your views to improve Shared Ownership services

Leaks

If there is a leak within your property, as the leaseholder, this is your responsibility to resolve. We would ask that you attend to any leak as matter of urgency to prevent any potential damage to neighbouring properties.

If there is a leak into your flat, coming from an external area, or the property above, please report this by contacting Customer Hub on 0800 678 1894 or info@torus.co.uk.  

Should you wish to make a claim for any damage or repairs to your property, you must contact the insurer direct to make a claim as detailed above.

Please note:  Torus will not carry out any repairs to your property following a leak.

Shared Ownership leaseholders information

A lease is a binding contract, enforceable in law, which establishes the rights of the leaseholder and the landlord’s rights as freeholder.

Your lease will set out many terms and conditions, rights and obligations. It is an important document, and you must always keep it in a safe place. If you lose the original lease, we may be able to get you a copy, but there will be a charge for it. You can also obtain a copy from Land Registry who will also charge for a copy.

Like many legal documents, your lease may be difficult to read and understand. If in any doubt, always seek legal advice.

Communal areas

We will clean the communal landings, stairs and other areas and maintain the communal garden area on a regular basis. The cost of this is included in your annual service charge. You must keep the communal areas clean, tidy and clear of all carpet, mats and furniture to comply with current fire regulations.

Keeping pets

Please check your lease to see whether you are allowed to keep pets in your home. Your lease may stipulate that you need written permission from us to keep a pet.  If your lease allows you to keep a pet, then you must ensure that it does not cause a nuisance for example dog fouling and noise nuisance.

Allowing people into your building

Please ensure you only allow access to people who are visiting your flat. You are responsible for the behaviour of people living in your property or visiting your home.

Always ask any visitor who claims to be on official business, for the appropriate identification before you let them in. When you enter or leave the building, always make sure the doors are closed properly behind you. Never leave the communal door wedged open, as this is a major fire safety and security risk.

Neighbours

Please try to be considerate to others and comply with the terms of your lease. Neighbours may have different lifestyles and you should allow for this in the way that you behave.

Why is rent charged to Shared Owners?

As a shared owner you pay a rent on the remaining share that you don’t own.  Your lease will set out how much rent is charged and how and when it will be reviewed.

How to pay your rent?

The easiest way to pay your rent is by Direct Debit. Arranging a direct debit is easy and can be set up with the Leasehold Team over the phone, by calling 0800 678 1894 or emailing leaseholderteam@torus.co.uk

What is a Service Charge?

The cost of any communal services that we may provide under the terms of your lease is paid for through a ‘service charge’. These charges will depend on where you live and what services you receive.  They may include services such as landscaping, door entry, repairs to communal areas and responsive repairs.

The service charge also includes a management fee for the cost of providing our management service.  This includes the administration of the annual service charge estimates and accounts and insurance provision.

Always check the terms of your lease to see what the service charge covers.

When is the Service Charge Payable?

The service charge period runs from 1 April to 31 March each year.  You will receive a service charge estimate in March each year to advise you of the charges payable from 1 April.

At the end of the financial year, we calculate the difference between the estimated cost and the actual costs and send you a statement of account in September each year.

How to pay your Service Charge?

The easiest way to pay your service charge is by Direct Debit. Arranging a direct debit is easy and can be set up with the Leasehold Team over the phone, by calling 0800 678 1894 or emailing leaseholderteam@torus.co.uk.

What happens if you cannot pay your Rent and/or Service Charge?

Whilst we appreciate circumstances can change, you risk losing your home if you do not pay your charges in full and on time.  If you are unable to pay the rent or service charge, you should contact us immediately to see if we can help you.

A Sinking Fund is used to pay for the costs of any major works to your building or development in the future rather than receiving a bill as and when major works are carried out.

Sinking Funds do not apply to all properties. Please refer to your lease for details of whether they apply to you.

The amount you are charged will depend upon what works are expected to be undertaken on or in your block or estate over the next few years.

The Sinking Fund can only be used to offset the cost of planned maintenance and major works, as described in your lease.

The Sinking Fund money is held “In Trust” on your behalf and interest is added to any credit balances each year.

Consulting you about major works and services

Under Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (amended by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002), we must consult all Leaseholders who will be affected before we will:

  • carry out major work or planned maintenance that will cost any Leaseholder more than £250
  • agree a long-term contract (for over 12 months) with a contractor for services, goods or work that will cost any Leaseholder more than £100 per year,
    or
  • carry out work under a long-term agreement, if the work will cost any Leaseholder more than £250 (even if we have already consulted you about the long-term agreement itself).

We will send you a ‘Section 20’ letter which explains the need for the works and an estimate of costs. The letter gives you 30 days to send us any written questions and comments you have.

What repairs and maintenance am I entitled to?

As a Shared Owner, you are responsible for all repairs to your home.

If you live in a shared ownership flat, we are responsible for keeping the ‘common parts’ and structure in good repair including but not limited to:

  • the roof
  • gutters
  • downspouts
  • window frames (but not the glass itself)
  • lighting in communal hallways
  • communal door-entry system

Please refer to the lease for more information.

How do I report a repair to the communal area?

You can report the repairs by contacting the Torus Customer Hub:

To help us provide an efficient service, please report any problems as soon as possible, provide as much information as possible, provide your contact details and ask for a job number.

How quickly will the repair be done?

All repairs are prioritised as either Emergency, by Arrangement (Priority or Routine) and or Programmed (Major) Repair:

  • Emergency Repairs – These are faults that could seriously damage your health or the property, we aim make safe any emergency repairs within 4 hours and will aim to complete the job within 24 hours. In an emergency you should call 0800 678 1894.
  • Priority Repairs – These are not emergencies, but repairs, which need to be carried out quickly to prevent further damage to the property and improve customer’s quality of life. We aim to complete the job within 48 hours.
  • Routine Repairs - For all non-emergency jobs we will offer an appointment within 20 calendar days. The quickest way to report a non-emergency repair is online.

Am I responsible for the maintenance of gas appliances?

As a Shared Owner you are responsible for regular servicing of any gas appliances in your home.

It is recommended that you arrange this once a year in order to ensure that your appliances are safe and working at their most efficient.

As a Shared Owner, you have the right to improve your home. Your lease will confirm whether you are able to make any alterations or additions to the property.

Most leases allow for internal alterations, such as kitchen or bathroom replacement, to be made with our written permission. We will not refuse permission unless we have a good reason. You may also need to get planning permission and building regulations approval before starting any work.

Structural alterations and additions are not allowed under the lease.  You must not do anything likely to damage the structure of the building or cause damage to shared services (such as removing internal walls, plumbing to the roof tank, door frames, windows, electricity or gas supplies, or sewerage).

A fee may be payable to us to grant permission. You should put your improvement request in writing to the Leasehold Team.

If you make any alterations or improvements without our written permission, you will be breaking the terms of your lease. We may then ask you to put your property back to how it was or to make sure the alteration reaches an acceptable standard.

We do not need to know about minor work such as decorating.

If you are unsure, then please contact the Leasehold Team:

If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle please contact us beforehand.  We can help with queries regarding whether you will be able to install an electric charging point at your property.

It is likely that under the terms of your lease, you will need Torus’s consent for a car charging point. 

If you have a parking space that is not directly adjacent to your property and you need to cross land that is outside your boundary to reach your vehicle,  it is unlikely that Torus will be able to grant permission and you will not be able to install a charging point.   If this is the case, please check what local charging options there are in your area.

Electric Vehicle Chargers can be very dangerous if not installed correctly and must be fitted by a fully qualified and competent electrician who is a registered installer under the Governments OZEV scheme.

Please contact the Leasehold Team on leaseholderteam@torus.co.uk or 0800 678 894 for further information and to request permission.

You can sell your shared ownership property at any time and the process is laid out within your lease.

Once you decide you wish to sell your share, you should inform us in writing or by email. You will be asked to obtain a market valuation, which must be carried out by an RICS qualified Valuer (at your own cost) and the valuation must be sent to us for approval BEFORE the property can be put up for sale. 

Please note that Estate Agent valuations are not valid.

We have a nomination period within the lease during which we can nominate any potential purchasers from our waiting list. We may choose to waive the right to nominate and allow you to sell the property on the open market as soon as the valuation has been approved.

If you place the property for sale with an Estate Agent, you will need to send us a copy of the Particulars of Sale for approval.

Once you have a suitable purchaser, who has been assessed and meets the criteria for Shared Ownership, the sale can proceed with your solicitors. Both parties will need to inform us once the sale has completed.

There are a number of fees associated with the sale of the property, which we can explain during the process. 

If you have any questions, please contact the Leasehold Team on 0800 678 1894 or leaseholderteam@torus.co.uk.

You can purchase further shares in your home at any time during the term of the lease. This process is known as “Staircasing”.

The first thing you need to do is to contact the Leasehold Team to advise us that you wish to purchase additional shares. If you have carried out any permitted improvements to your property, please ensure you provide us with a list of them as any improvements that have added value to your property will be disregarded in the market valuation.

We will instruct an RICS Valuer to carry out a market valuation of your home and you will be liable for the valuation fee.  Once we receive the valuation report, we will advise you in writing of the market value of your home and the price of the additional share you wish to purchase.

Please note that the price you pay for any additional shares may be different than the price you paid for your original purchase. This is due to fluctuations in the housing market.

You will need to instruct a solicitor to complete the purchase. Once your purchase has gone through, the amount of rent you pay will be adjusted accordingly. If you have purchased 100% then you will no longer pay any rent and the freehold of the property may be transferred to you, if the lease allows.

Please note that even when you own 100% of the property, you may be liable for service charges depending on the development and the terms of your lease.

If you need to make a claim on the building insurance policy, please contact the claims department at Arthur J Gallagher Housing using the following contact information.

During office hours: 01245 341200.

In the event of an incident out of office hours, you should take whatever action is necessary to prevent further damage. If the damage is catastrophic, where the cost of loss is likely to exceed £5,000 or where the property can no longer be occupied, please immediately contact the nominated Loss Adjuster, QuestGates on telephone number 0845 070 9500.

Please note that there is an excess payable of £100 on all insurance claims.

Download cover document

Shared Owner Claim Form and Guidance Notes

Admin fees are charged by Torus for providing additional services to you as a leaseholder.

These may include the costs of dealing with correspondence;  providing copy documents such as the lease; approving a Notice or providing a Certificate of Consent.

These fees are allowable under the terms of your lease.

All these fees include VAT.

Leasehold Management Enquiries (LPE1)
£180.00
Copy Documents £36.00
Notice of Assignment/Charge/Transfer £60.00
Deed of Postponement £60.00
Deed of Variation From £300.00
Certificate of Exemption/Compliance £60.00
Permission to carry out alterations - minor £60.00
Permission to carry out alterations - surveyor required £120.00
Shared Ownership Resales Admin Fee £180.00
Subletting permission (if applicable) £60.00
Remortgage Consent £60.00
Valuation Fee £192.00
Desktop Valuation Fee (within 12 months) £60.00
Lease extension valuation £660.00
Lease extension valuation (intermediate interest) £720.00
Major works management fee 10% contract value
Surrender & Regrant of lease From £300.00
Section 146 Notice £270.00

Can I sublet my property?

Unfortunately, Shared Ownership properties cannot be sublet. This is a condition of your lease. If you know you have to be away from your property for an extended period of time, please contact The Leasehold & Sales Team to discuss your circumstances.

What happens to my property if I die?

It’s a good idea to have a will so that the share that you own passes onto the person you want it to in the event of your death.

How can I deal with pests?

If you are experiencing problems with vermin (e.g. mice, rats, wasps or ants), please contact the Council’s Pest Control team. We will consider assisting in the removal of vermin if communal areas are affected. Find out more about dealing with pests here.

I am having problems parking on my scheme, what can I do?

Your lease will state whether you own a parking space with your property or whether you have the right to park in communal parking bays.

If you own a parking space, then this is for you or your visitors to use and manage appropriately.

If there is communal parking at the scheme, we would ask that residents and their visitors are considerate of others in the scheme. Vehicles should not be parked so as to cause obstruction and must only be parked on approved driveways or parking spaces.

Please note that commercial vehicles, untaxed or unroadworthy vehicles or caravans must not be parked in communal parking bays.

Torus Customer Hub

0800 678 1894

info@torus.co.uk

The Leasehold Advisory Service

The Leasehold Advisory Service is funded by Government to provide free advice on the law affecting residential leasehold property in England and Wales.

The LEASE Advisory Guides provide detailed advice on the main issues that affect leasehold property. They are written, and regularly reviewed, by a team of professional legal advisers.  Please remember that these are guides only and are not a substitute for personal legal advice.

70-74 City Road, London, EC1Y 2BJ

020 7490 9580

www.lease-advice.org

First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber Residential Property)

You can apply to the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber - Residential Property) if you’re a landlord, tenant, freeholder or leaseholder.  The cases you can apply for include:

  • Leasehold disputes and Leasehold management
  • Service Charges
  • Leasehold enfranchisement
  • Lease variations

First Floor, 25 York Street, Manchester, M1 4JB. Tel: 0845 600 3178

www.gov.uk/courts-tribunals/first-tier-tribunal-property-chamber

National Emergency Gas Leak Number – 24 hour

0800 111 999

United Utility Emergency Water Leaks

0800 330 033

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Your local council

You can access all council services including bin collections, pest control, council tax and planning via the City Council website or contact number below. Find your local council here: www.gov.uk/find-local-council