The Government recognises the existing difficulties and obstacles that shared ownership leaseholders face when either seeking to increase their percentage share in their home or selling their home.
Their new national simplified model would apply for all shared ownership schemes whether offered by private developers or social housing providers, so they are seeking feedback on this proposed plan.
The proposals on which the Government is seeking suggestions regarding effective implementation include:
- Allowing homeowners to staircase (increase their ownership share) in small payments e.g. £250 at a time rather than the pre-existing 10% minimum.
- Rather than the current norm of allowing landlords the right to market, the proposal introduces a landlord’s right of first refusal (akin to a Section 5 Landlord & Tenants Act 1987 obligation) merely requiring a notice to be served on a landlord giving them a fixed time to confirm if they want to buy or not before the homeowner is free to proceed with a sale. The question is how short can that notice be to give maximum flexibility to the homeowner without making it too difficult to ensure the home remains in the affordable market?
- In relation to a standardised model, there's some ambiguity in what should be included to ensure success in rural areas (where the allocation policies are generally more restrictive) as well as encouraging private developers to build and run shared ownership schemes themselves. It is recognised that creating a model that works for funders is therefore essential.