As one of the largest housing groups in the Midlands and East of England, we own and manager over 24,000 homes. Of those, 6,000 properties are leasehold, shared ownership and retirement living homes.
With a clear set of values that unite the Group, we put our customers first and work in collaboration with partners that share our ambition and vision – Improving Lives.
We've put together some frequently asked questions relating to home ownership. The information contained here is a guide only and will not cover everything. Contact us for more information if your question isn't answered here.
Under the shared ownership scheme and the terms of your lease, you're able to purchase further shares in your home to enable you to gradually build up the amount you own. This process is called staircasing. Read Steve's* story here on how he's used staircasing on his shared ownership home.
Please note, you'll continue to pay rent on the unacquired proportion that you don't own, however if you purchase all of the remaining shares of the property you'll not be required to pay rent. In some cases you may be required to pay a service charge.
If you require further assistance with staircasing please contact our Sales Team on 0345 601 9095.
Find out how to extend your lease - and the costs involved - by clicking here and reading a step-by-step guide.
Your lease will determine whether you can carry out any alterations or additions.
We would therefore recommend you first check your lease agreement to see whether the alteration or addition you are considering is permitted and/or needs our prior consent.
A copy of your lease will have been provided by your Solicitor when you purchased the property. We can provide a copy of your lease at a charge if required.
Please note alteration permissions will not be granted within the initial 12 month defect period on a new build Shared Ownership property.
There is a fee payable for us to process your permission request. You can request up to five alterations within one alteration permission fee, therefore if you’re considering any other alterations within the next 12 months please submit these at the same time.
If your lease states, you need permission for alterations and/or additions, please click here to request permission to make alterations to your home.
In accordance with your lease you may be charged an additional fee for the administration of requests such as, home improvements and pet permissions. The fee must be paid prior to any request being granted. Please note, if you proceed without obtaining permission a retrospective permission fee will be charged. Please click here to view our fee schedule.
Contents insurance is designed to help protect your possessions. No matter how careful you are, there’s always a risk that your belongings could be broken, damaged or stolen so home contents insurance can help provide peace of mind.
It's your responsibility to purchase contents insurance, as this isn't covered in your lease.
You're normally responsible for all repairs and maintenance to your property, however you may pay a service charge contribution towards communal areas such as unadopted roadways and public open space which we maintain.
If you need to report a communal repair, please call 0800 111 4013.
You're normally responsible for the internal repairs to your property. For communal repairs, please report these by calling 0800 111 4013.
If you're unsure of your repair responsibilities, please check you lease or transfer for further details or call us on 0800 111 4013.
Usually, your lease will say whether you're allowed to keep a domestic pet at your property.
If your lease permits you to keep a pet, you're still required to seek our permission.
Our grounds maintenance contractors maintain the communal grounds of our estates. The number of visits each month depends on the time of year. For example, grass cutting will take place more regularly during the growing season.
If your home comes with a grounds maintenance service, you can expect the following.
- Grass cutting – Grass cutting is weather dependent but we endeavour to cut grass every two weeks between March and October.
- Hedge cutting - This'll usually consist of one cut per year, and will take place outside of the bird nesting season which is between February and July.
- Shrub pruning - Cut all shrubs in communal areas. All shrubs should be kept at a height of no more than 160 centimetres. Some shrubs will require hard pruning at times, which may lead to the shrubs looking unsightly for a short time before they regrow. Yearly prune unless overgrowing paths or creating a health and safety hazard
- Shrub beds - Will be kept weed free through a combination of treatment and hand weeding.
- Weed control – Hard standing areas will normally receive four sprays during the growing season between March and October.
- Leaf collection - Will take place monthly on each site visit between October and January.
- Hard areas - All hard areas will be swept monthly, with all litter removed and any build-up of debris removed.
- Trees – An annual tree survey will take place, which'll inform us of any work required for health and safety purposes. We won't normally prune trees to improve TV/satellite reception, if they block light or drop leaves or fruits.
What ISN'T included?
- Removal of green rubbish generated by customers.
- Maintenance of any plants or shrubs planted by customers.
- Removal of any garden furniture or any other items that could impede grounds maintenance duties such as grass cutting. It's up to residents to ensure areas of grass are free of all obstacles.
If you have any queries regarding communal grounds maintenance or cleaning, please click here to complete an enquiry form.
The shared ownership scheme is designed to help lower income households and first time buyers to purchase a property. It uses public funding to build shared ownership homes and we're expected to ensure the shared ownership homes we build are used for the purpose they're intended.
For this reason, subletting isn't allowed and is a serious breach of a lease agreement.
If you decide to sell your home, please email firstname.lastname@example.org confirming your details and a member of the Sales Team will arrange for you to receive a selling letter and a copy of our document called 'Guidance Notes For Selling Your Home'.
These'll provide you with all the information you'll need to help you with the selling process and explain the next steps for placing your home on the market.
Our promise to you
- We'll provide you with guidance notes and selling information to help you place your property on the market.
- We'll liaise with your appointed estate agent to ensure they have the necessary information to market your property correctly, including application forms and eligibility requirements, the share available for sale, the lease term and ongoing rent/service charge costs.
- We'll provide your appointed estate agent with the information they require to help potential purchasers complete an Application Form.
- Once you've found a buyer, we'll provide them with a copy of our ‘Your Lease and Your Rights’ booklet, which helps explain our responsibilities as landlord and important information regarding their own ongoing responsibilities as a shared owner.
- Our dedicated Sales Team and appointed solicitor will work closely with your own solicitor to ensure they have all the necessary information to progress your sale as smoothly as possible.
Please note that you'll be required to appoint a solicitor to act on your behalf and you'll be responsible for your own costs and payments upon resale as detailed within your lease.
We offer a wide range of payment methods to make it easy for you to pay your rent and service charge.
We can also offer support to help you manage your payments if you're experiencing financial difficulty.
If you'd like to set up a direct debit, please call us on 0800 111 4013 and ask for the Leasehold Team. This can then be set up over the phone. Alternatively you can fill in the form online and send it back to us to process.
Please call us on 0800 111 4013 to make a one-off payment.
You can call our Customer Service Team on 0800 111 4013 if you're experiencing issues with paying your rent and service charge. To view your account go to MyAccount.
They can also help you with the following:
- Discuss your rent and service charge account.
- Find out more about any of the ways to pay your rent and service charge.
- Get advice on benefits you may be entitled to.
- Get access to independent, free organisations that can give you budgeting and debt advice.
If you'd like to give permission to a named person (a relative or close friend) to discuss matters relating to your tenancy or lease (including your contact details) consent to disclose information form.
There are many ways you can get involved.
Joining one of our groups is a great way of developing new and existing skills, gaining experience and meeting new people, as well as helping to improve the services you receive from us.
You can also join The Hub, our online customer engagement platform where customers can have their say and contribute to engagement projects.