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Home ownership with Latimer

Advice and instructions for seeking permission and making applications for certain things you may want to carry out in or to your home. Each type of enquiry has different requirements.

We charge non-refundable administration fees for reviewing your lease and progressing applications.

You'll find out more about these charges on our Service charges, fees and rent page.

Keeping pets

If you live in a house, you’re normally able to have pets. If you live in an apartment you'll need to seek permission from us.

We recognise the importance of pets to their owners, including their positive impact on wellbeing. We'll not unreasonably refuse permission without good reason. However, there are some homes we may not be able to approve. This could be apartments in tall buildings or homes where we're not your freeholder.

Running a business from home

You'll need permission from us. The terms of your lease may only permit that your home is only for residential purposes. Even if your lease doesn't prevent you from running a business from home, consider if it will affect your mortgage agreements and any insurance.

Homeowners are responsible for ensuring that their business complies with all regulations, legislation and standards relevant to the type of business. We won't accept responsibility where a business fails to comply with these requirements. 

Where a business is related to childcare we'll ask for more information to confirm that the person running the business is appropriately registered. We won’t permit any signage relating to the business to be affixed to our property.

We'll need the full details of your planned business use, the hours of operation, level of noise and how much you think it could impact on your neighbours.

Subletting your home

All leaseholders are advised to check lease agreements if you're considering subletting your home. As the home owner, there are many responsibilities to consider.

People with shared ownership don't generally have the right to sublet, but please read our guidance for more information.

 

Remortgaging your shared ownership home

As a shared owner if you're changing your lender or borrowing additional funds the new mortgage offer must be approved by your Housing Association prior to the remortgage taking place.

The terms of your shared ownership lease only allows further borrowing for the purchase of additional shares, home improvements or if one joint shared owner wishes to purchase the interest in the lease of the other joint shared owner.

If you're remortgaging to fund a staircasing application, the new mortgage document will be reviewed and approved by our solicitors.

If you're remortgaging for more favourable terms, but remaining with the same lender, check with your lender. We don't usually need to provide consent, but some lenders may want it.

You're also required to pay the administration fee of £60 including VAT and notice fee of £78 including VAT, payable upon completion.

Remortgaging application checklist:

  • New mortgage offer document (including the full market value).
  • Redemption statement from the current lender.
  • The reason you're looking to remortgage.

Transfer of ownership

As a shared owner you may want to transfer the lease agreement to either the other joint owner, so they become the sole owner, or to share your lease with another person. You'll need our consent.

Often referred to as transfer of ownership or transfer of equity, the following steps are required:

  • Speak to your mortgage lender, a new mortgage offer will be needed along with their consent.
  • We'll need to approve the new mortgage offer.
  • Shared owners are responsible for arranging with their solicitors to carry out the legal transfer of the property.
  • We'll be served with Notice of Transfer on completion. 

Before we're able to grant consent to the transfer of your lease we require written confirmation:

  • Of consent to the transfer taking place from the person being removed or being added to the title.
  • That the leaseholder(s) understand that compliance with the terms of the lease will be their sole responsibility.
  • From the remaining leaseholder(s) that they agree with the transfer.

Important - if you're transferring your shared ownership lease from sole to joint names, the new owner will need to be eligible for the shared ownership scheme. The joint household income needs to be below £80,000 (£90,000 in London). They must not own another property.

We'll confirm this by asking them to register with the local Help to Buy Agent, who administer the Government’s affordable housing schemes. They'll provide a registration number.

For the Home Ownership team to progress your request you're required to pay the administration fee of £120 including VAT and notice fee of £78 including VAT, payable upon completion.

Buying the freehold

What is a freehold? Most houses are freehold, but some might be leasehold - including those bought with shared ownership. Apartments are always leasehold properties.

The freeholder of a property:

  • Owns it outright, including the land it's built on.
  • Is responsible for costs and maintenance of the property and land.

Shared owners in houses aren't able to purchase a freehold until they've staircased to 100% ownership.

The process of purchasing a freehold is formally known as the statutory right of collective enfranchisement. It's the right provided by the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 to enable qualifying leaseholders to request the freehold of their building is sold to their nominee purchaser. 

Buying the freehold can be a complicated process. We recommend you get professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this area.

The benefits of having a freehold include:

  • No concern over a lease running out, you'll own the property outright.
  • There's no landlord (as a freeholder managing a lease) to deal with.
  • There are no ground rent, service charges or other landlord charges to pay.

We'll agree to collective enfranchisement of qualifying properties in cases where there are enough qualifying leaseholders. To pursue a collective enfranchisement application you may choose the statutory procedure or our own informal procedure. The Leasehold Advisory Service provides useful and independent guidance.

Extending your lease

Every year your lease’s length diminishes. A shorter lease may make it more difficult to find a buyer for your home if you want to sell. It may make it difficult to re-mortgage as well.

Most housing association leases have historically been granted for 99 or 125 years. More recently they've been granted for 250 or more years. Older leases, or leases that have come into our management via a stock transfer from another housing association or local authority, may differ.

Lenders favour leases with an unexpired term in excess of 80 years. The cost of a lease extension increases once the remaining term drops below 80 years. If you can afford it, it's best to extend your lease before the remaining term falls below 80 years.

Lease extensions are legal processes, so you should always get specialist legal advice.

Extending a lease is a statutory right for 100% leaseholders. Shared owners are required to formally apply to extend your lease through this statutory route. We'll still offer an informal lease extension service. 

Making alterations to your home

Check out our home improvements and alterations page. It's dedicated to providing advice and information. 

If you're planning home improvements there's a handy checklist to follow before making an application. You'll find other links and useful details there too.

Don't forget that you're able to decorate and make cosmetic improvements to your home without seeking permission. The terms of your lease or freehold transfer outline where you'll need to get permission first.