What is staircasing?

Staircase and Staircasing are the terms that we use to refer to the process of buying some or all of the remaining shares in your shared-ownership home.

You would buy more shares based on the current market value of the home and you therefore need to have your property valued by an independent surveyor.

In order to determine the value, you 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, 147 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.
  • If you have carried out any improvements to the property you should make the surveyor aware when they visit. A separate figure should be provided in the report to confirm the type and value of the improvements

Please note that we always require a copy of the full valuation report and we may ask the surveyor to justify the valuation provided.

Once a valuation is in place we will use this to determine a price for the share you want to buy. Normally the minimum percentage you can buy is 10% and the maximum is anything up to the percentage that L&Q owns to take you to 100% ownership. Please note, that you can normally only staircase a maximum of three times.

When buying more shares, you will need to instruct a solicitor to act for you in dealing with all the legal work required. We have a panel of dedicated solicitors [PDF, 48 KB] who are all experienced in assisting Shared Owners buy more shares.

It is anticipated that a Staircasing transaction will be complete within three months. You and your solicitor need to work to this timescale and ensure that you provide all of the relevant information required to progress accordingly.

You may want to seek independent mortgage advice. We have a panel of independent financial consultants [PDF, 42 KB] who would be more than happy to assist you further.

As an Equity Loan customer, you also have the opportunity to Staircase and the process is very similar where you will buy more shares from L&Q based on the current market value of the home.

For all Staircasing transactions, there are administration charges [PDF, 513 KB] for dealing with your application. We make a charge  to cover the cost of providing a service to you.

If you wish to discuss any part of the staircasing process, please contact L&Q Direct.