Staircasing - buying more shares
What is staircasing?
You are entitled to buy additional shares at any time after you purchase your shared ownership home. The process of purchasing additional shares and increasing your ownership (equity) is called staircasing.
Your lease contains information that explains how to staircase. It is important to carefully consider all the costs related to the staircasing process before you proceed. When you apply to increase your shares, your rent account must be up to date and must remain so throughout the process.
Before you apply to staircase, it is wise to speak to your mortgage lender or an independent financial adviser to ensure you will be able to afford to buy more shares. You also need to take into account the costs of legal fees and any additional mortgage fees you will incur.
Also, some residents/buyers in purpose-built blocks may experience issues securing mortgages as a result of changes in building safety advice. You can find out more about these changes here. Please seek advice directly from your lender or mortgage broker before applying to make sure you do not incur any unnecessary valuation or solicitors' costs.
Please note it is L&Q’s policy that you can only staircase within 5s and 10s. Minimum share is 10%.
If you would like to calculate how your rent will change by purchasing more shares in your home, please see our interim staircasing calculator. You will need to enter both your current share owned (%) and your current rent (£).
Steps to staircasing
You will need to instruct an independent RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) / FRICS (Fellow of Royal institute of Chartered Surveyors) registered surveyor. You are able to instruct a surveyor of your choice or we have an experienced panel of surveyors [PDF, 59 KB] that can all assist you; they provide very competitive rates to L&Q residents.
If you choose to use your own surveyor, they must meet the following criteria:
- The valuer needs to be independent and can not be associated with any estate agents
- The valuer must not be related to you
- The valuer must not be employed by any bank/building society
- The valuer must be registered with the recognised qualification of FRICS or RICS
- L&Q will require a copy of the valuation report; this should be valid for a period of three months (and should be valid until completion takes place)
- The report must include at least three comparable properties used to determine the value
- The report must also state that L&Q can use the contents of the valuation report.
- Detail any home improvements [PDF, 215 KB]. Please note that we always require a copy of the full valuation report and we may ask the surveyor to justify the valuation provided
Please note that we always require a copy of the full valuation report and it should be based on an assumption that the property has been maintained to a good standard. This is within the requirements of your lease.
As per the terms of your lease, your staircasing transaction should complete within three months of the date of the valuation; if an extension is required, you will be responsible for any related costs (updates are usually only valid for a further three month period).
You should be aware that if the value of your property changes if a new valuation is required, we will recalculate your staircasing premium accordingly, regardless to whether the value has increased or decreased.
Once you receive your valuation and sought financial advice on whether staircasing is financially viable to you, you may submit your request to the Staircasing team.
Please attach your valuation and if applicable your home improvement form with a brief email. Please confirm you wish to buy more shares detailing your full address and contact details to Staircasing@lqgroup.org.uk.
We have a panel of independent financial consultants [PDF, 34 KB] who would be more than happy to assist you further.
When we receive the property valuation we will calculate the premium of the share you don't own. You will then be contacted to request payment of our £235 admin fee. Administration charges [PDF, 40 KB].
On receipt of payment a staircasing confirmation letter detailing the calculations, together with a response form will be emailed to you. This form will ask you to confirm what shares you wish to purchase and your solicitors details.
We have a panel of dedicated solicitors [PDF, 34 KB] who are all experienced in assisting shared owners buy more shares.
Your application will not progress until you return your response form confirming how you wish to proceed and what shares you wish to purchase. All leaseholders named on the lease must sign this form.
We will contact all solicitors involved and pass on all relevant information to them. They will then work together to agree a completion date. We would advise you to keep in regular contact with your solicitor during this time.
Step five: Completion
Purchased 100% and currently not paying a service charge - you will no longer have to pay rent or have any further communication with us.
Purchased 100% and currently pay service charges - your solicitor will confirm if you will continue to pay this service charge to L&Q or directly to the managing agent.
Interim staircasing - L&Q will update your file with your new share and confirm your new rent figure that you will now have to pay.
Your questions answered
How is the remaining share calculated?
The remaining share will be determined by getting an independent surveyor to value your home and then calculate how much this share is now worth. For example, if you wish to purchase an additional 25% share and your property is now valued at £100,000, the purchase price will be £25,000. If Staircasing doesn’t complete within 3-4 months (depending how long the valuation is valid for) your premium could change.
What is the minimum share I can purchase?
The minimum share you can purchase is 10% and L&Q's policy allows you to staircase to a maximum of three times.
What if I have made improvements to my property?
When you instruct your valuation to staircase please notify the surveyor of any improvements you have carried out. Please see the Home Improvements form which will outline what we deem to be a home improvement. You should request written permission from us before carrying out any improvements to your home. Please note that the added value may not always equate to the amount you initially spent on the improvement.
What costs will I be expected to pay for staircasing?
You will be expected to pay an administration fee of £235 (including VAT) each time you wish to staircase. In addition to this, you will also be responsible for your own solicitor's costs. You will also be required to pay for the cost of the valuation and any necessary updates.
Why do l need to pay an admin fee?
As you are aware, L&Q charge a £235 administration fee for our services when a customer wishes to staircase/repay their equity loan. The fee covers the running costs of the team enabling us to provide a service to our customers and carry out a high volume of administration duties.
Payment can be made using Visa Debit/Credit or Mastercard, our team are contactable on 0300 456 9998. Please select the following options once connected:
Select option 1- the option confirming you are a resident, followed by option 1 to make a payment then finally option 2 to make an administration fee payment.
Please ensure that payment is not made via the automated service, you are required to speak to a member of the team directly for payment to be made.
Please also note: This admin fee is non refundable.