The Metropolitan Staircasing Process - Guidance Notes

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1 The Metropolitan Staircasing Process - Guidance Notes As a shared ownership leaseholder you can buy further shares in your home when you can afford to, this process is known as Staircasing. Staircasing enables you to own a greater proportion of your home. The greater the share you own in your home the less rent you will pay. If you Staircase to 100% ownership you become an outright owner, and will no longer have to pay rent to Metropolitan. You may still have to pay a service charge depending on the type of property you own and the type of services provided to you. The minimum share that you can Staircase by varies but is generally not less than 10% of your home s value and you Staircase in multiples of 5%. It is important to refer to the Staircasing provisions of your lease for confirmation of the maximum share that you can own. The majority of our leases allow Staircasing up to 100%; however we have also granted some leases which contain a preserved equity clause which will only allow Staircasing up to a minimum and maximum of 60%, 70% or 80%. The maximum number of times you can Staircase is three times. Each time you Staircase you will be liable for costs, such as a valuation fee, legal fees, and (if you re funding your staircasing with approved additional borrowing), mortgage/specialist financial advice fees. It is advisable to Staircase in one tranche if you can afford to so you can keep these costs to a minimum. It is important to consider the costs associated with Staircasing at the beginning of the process. Mortgage/Independent advice fees for buying extra shares are funded through approved additional borrowing. These costs are outlined in more detail below: COST FEE ( ) Independent Valuation Your appointed solicitor fees Mortgage administration fees Specialist Financial Advisor fees Monthly mortgage payments. Mortgage costs, interest charges, interest rates and conditions will be outlined in your mortgage quote. It is important to read this carefully. Specialist Financial Advisor application fee (payable where a mortgage product is arranged) Varies between (plus VAT)* dependent on your property value and location. Approximately (plus VAT)*. Your appointed solicitor will be able to provide you with an exact quotation. Remember to ask for a quote for any extra work outside the original quotation as legal costs can escalate quickly. Varies depending on lender. Varies between 295 to 497 (see next page) Refer to your lender for confirmation of any fees payable. Quoted upon application. *Prices given are correct at time of publication (06/2016) but may vary by legal service provider.

2 The process Step 1: Find out if Staircasing is affordable for you Before you make a formal application to purchase a further share of your property it is advisable to find out if you can Staircase (you can do this by contacting us), understand the fees that apply and whether you can afford to Staircase. You may wish to speak with your current lender, who will assess your current mortgage terms and advise you whether or not you are able to borrow additional funds on your existing mortgage in order to own a larger share of your property. Your lender may charge a fee for this service. You may also want to contact a new lender directly and find out if it would be better to take out a new mortgage loan with them (paying off your current lender as part of the process) to achieve a better interest rate; this process is called Remortgaging. The new lender will assess your financial circumstances and issue a mortgage promise, this is not a formal mortgage offer, but gives you an idea as to whether or not you are able to purchase a further share and an approximate idea as to what the repayment terms will be without having to formally commit to the new mortgage. When remortgaging it is important to check with your current lender first to ensure that there are no penalty charges for early repayment. Another option to consider when weighing up your financial position is to contact a Specialist Financial Advisor who will assess your financial circumstances, before searching across a number of lenders who specialise in Shared Ownership mortgages to find the right mortgage for you. Below you ll find details of our panel of Specialist Financial Advisors who can assist you with your Staircasing application. Specialist Financial Advisors will offer you a free financial assessment over the phone; should you choose to use the advisor, you will only pay an administration fee when the advisor finds a suitable mortgage product that you proceed with. You can also contact a Specialist Financial Advisor of your choice. Clark Marshall Associates Ltd CMA House 5 Summerhill Rd Dartford Kent, DA1 2LP T: W: 395* VAT inc De Havilland Group (Quote MHO when calling) 2 Skylines Village Limeharbour London E14 9TS T: * W: TMP Sherwins Chesham House Lower Street Kettering Northants, NN16 8BH T: W: SRC Financial 4 Lords Court Cricketers Way Basildon Essex, SS13 1SS T: W: 399* VAT inc 497* VAT inc *Prices correct at time of print but may be subject to change 2.

3 Important: Securing the funds to purchase a further share is often the most prolonged part of Staircasing, if you are relying on additional mortgage funding, we would always advise you to check that you are able to Staircase before obtaining a valuation. It is important to note that whilst instructing a valuation does not commit you to proceed with Staircasing, your valuation is valid for three months, and a new mortgage application can take an average two to three months, so we would encourage you to apply for a mortgage before instructing the valuation to reduce the risk of additional costs that could arise from having to instruct a subsequent valuation. Step 2: Instruct a valuation Once you have had confirmation that you are able to purchase a further share in your home, you will need to instruct a surveyor to provide you with an independent valuation of your home. This valuation will determine the price of the share that you are buying. An independent valuation is required under the terms of your lease. Please select one of the surveyors from the list enclosed, or your own qualified, independent surveyor. You will need to ensure the following guidelines are adhered to when instructing your valuation: The valuer must be registered with RICS, with a recognised RICS qualification. Any works you have completed which have not been pre approved by Metropolitan will not be considered within the Staircasing valuation. We may consider providing retrospective consent, though you will need to provide evidence that the works were carried out. If you are unable to provide evidence we will be unable to consider your improvements. The valuer must be independent to an estate agent. We are unable to accept Estate Agent valuations since they are not RICS qualified. The valuer should provide at least three comparable properties and sale prices. The comparables must be dated within the last six months. The valuer must not be related or known to you. The valuer must inspect the interior of the property and provide a full valuation report. Valuations carried out for bank or mortgage purposes will not be accepted. Metropolitan will require a copy of the valuation report; the validity of the valuation must be shown on the report and the report must state that Metropolitan can use the contents of the report. On the day of the appointment, you must confirm to the valuer (accurately) the number of years remaining on your lease as this can affect the valuation figure. In addition, because the valuation is being carried out for Staircasing purposes, the valuation should include the following information: The Staircasing value which excludes any significant improvements made (see below) The open market valuation will include any improvements made. When going through the Staircasing procedure we use the figure which excludes any significant improvements. This in turn means you will not pay for the improvements in the percentage that you buy from Metropolitan. Significant improvements include: Any change to the floor plan/ layout of the property (which has been formally approved by Metropolitan under the terms of the lease). Newly fitted kitchens and bathrooms which have added value to the property in the valuers opinion. It is important to note that fitted kitchens and bathrooms will depreciate over time and so may not impact on the valuation where the work has been completed more than three years ago. 3.

4 General upkeep and maintenance to the property (to include improvements such as gardening, fence panels, boilers, fitted wardrobes etc) will not be discounted, since this is a requirement under the terms of the lease. We will be unable to accept a valuation with any of these improvements listed, please ensure this is made clear to the valuer when they conduct their report. Please refer to the FAQ section at the end of the pack for further information. The above guidelines must be adhered to, you will be required to liaise with the valuer for any necessary corrections to the valuation and any additional costs incurred will be your responsibility. A valuation which does not meet the above criteria will not be accepted by Metropolitan. Important: The valuation is valid for a period of three months from the date of the report. If the transaction is not completed within this time period a further valuation will be required. This may result in a change to the value of your property and the amount you have to pay to staircase. This figure could go up or down. The property market is currently experiencing value increases so it is critical If you are not happy with the valuation you can dispute this directly with the surveyor who will require comparable evidence before reassessing your valuation. If you are still not happy with the final value, you can instruct a further valuation through a different surveyor. You will however be responsible for any additional costs. Metropolitan will accept the most up to date valuation. An accurate valuation is key to your Staircasing transaction as it defines the amount that your home is worth and the amount that you will have to repay when you staircase. that you follow up with your lender and solicitor to get the property sale moving to complete within three months. You will also have to pay for the new valuation, which is an extra cost. It is therefore important that you do not instruct the valuation until you are certain that you are in a position to proceed. Step 3: Send your valuation report to Metropolitan Once you have received your valuation report, you should complete the Confirmation of Valuation Form, which is attached to the bottom of this information pack, and send it to Metropolitan along with a copy of the report. Upon receipt of both documents we will forward you a letter documenting the Staircasing details, which includes confirmation of the premium payable for the additional share. The letter will also contain a form which you will need to complete with your solicitors details in order to formally proceed with the Staircasing transaction, so now would be a good time to research potential solicitors that you would like to act on your behalf (if you have not already done so). 4.

5 Staircasing calculator The amount you will have to pay is based on the current market vale of you property. To help explain this we have produced a table which shows what extra shares would cost if the value of your property fell, increased, decreased or stayed the same. For the example below we are assuming: 1. You originally purchased 40% of your home and that you wish to buy a further 60%..We have then looked at what the extra shares (10%) would cost in a rising market, 2. Where prices have not changed, and 3. Where prices have gone down by 10%. Staircasing calculator 1. Property value 10% increase: Original valuation 200, % increase in property market 200, ,000 (10%) = 220,000 Current % Share 40% ( 88,000) Share available to Purchase 60% ( 132,000) 132,000 is the price payable to Metropolitan for the additional 60% share Property value remains the same: NO CHANGE Original valuation 200,000 Current % Share 40% ( 80,000) Share available to Purchase 60% ( 120,000) 120,000 is the price payable to Metropolitan for the additional 60% share. 3. Property value 10% decrease: Original valuation 200,000-10% decrease in property market 200,000-20,000 (10%) = 180,000 Current % Share 40% ( 72,000) Share available to Purchase 60% ( 108,000) 108,000 is the price payable to Metropolitan for the additional 60% share. - 5.

6 Step 4: Request to proceed: Please complete the Request to Proceed form; this confirms your solicitors details and the percentage you wish to Staircase by. Please be advised that at this stage you are formally confirming that you wish to proceed with Staircasing and, as such, your solicitor and our solicitor may charge an abortive fee should you withdraw from the transaction at any stage. Step 5: We instruct our solicitors: Once we receive your Request to Proceed Form we will instruct our solicitor, Penningtons electronically to ensure all documents are processed securely, and without postal delay. Penningtons act on behalf of Metropolitan, and will be responsible for managing the legal proceedings of your Staircasing. From this point on you will need to liaise primarily with your solicitor who, in turn, will liaise with Penningtons. Step 6: Memorandum of Staircasing Once your additional funds have been approved, Penningtons will produce a Memorandum of Staircasing for approval. This is a legal document which is inserted into the lease and confirms completion of your further or final Staircasing. The document will be sent to Metropolitan, for our Director to sign, this is then returned to Penningtons who will forward to your solicitor for approval. You will be required to sign the document and consent to the Staircasing provisions. Your solicitor is responsible for inserting the document into the lease following completion and will explain this process. Step 7: Completion Staircasing is a legal process and therefore our solicitors will liaise with your solicitors to ensure all legal documentation is completed before agreeing a completion date. They will also arrange for the payment of your Staircasing premium to be paid to Metropolitan, along with any arrears that are outstanding on your rent and service charge account at the time of Staircasing. It is important you keep your rent and service charge account balanced. Once we have received confirmation of completion from Penningtons we will contact you within 10 working days to advise you of your new monthly charges. Depending on how many shares you have purchased, these charges will be a combination of rent and a service charge or just service charges. Following completion your solicitor is responsible for contacting the Land Registry and making any necessary amendments to the legal documents held there. Please note: Metropolitan require 10 working days notice to arrange the completion of your Staircasing transaction. Your solicitor will contact our solicitor to arrange this. The 10 working days allow us time to provide accurate figures and arrange for the completion statement to be finalised ahead of completion. You will not be able to complete with any outstanding arrears on rent and/or service charges. You are at risk of losing your home should you fail to keep up your mortgage and service charge payments. 6.

7 Staircasing in summary Our visual guide to the key steps of Staircasing: Step 1: Find out if Staircasing is affordable for you Step 2: Instruct a valuation Step 3: Send your valuation to Metropolitan Speak with your current or new lender. Contact a Specialist Finacial Advisor. 1-2 weeks Check you are able to Staircase before obtaining a valuation. Valuer must be RICS registered/regulated. Valuer must provide the comparable properties and sales prices within last six months. 1-2 weeks Complete Confirmation of Valuation form. Recieve confirmation of premium payable. Research solicitors to work on your behalf. 5 working days Step 6: Memorandum of Staircasing Step 5: We instruct our solicitors Step 4: Request to proceed LEGAL Sign legal document (Memorandum) and consent to Staircasing provisions. Liaise primarily with your solicitor who will, in turn, liaise with Penningtons (Metropolitan s solicitors). Complete Request to Proceed form and send to Metropolitan. This formally confirms that you want to Staircase. 5-10* working days 5 working days 5 working days Step 7: Completion Step 8: Rent account administration Step 9: Shout about it Huzzah! Solicitors ensure all legal documentation is completed and agree a completion date. *This varies between property and lease type. Once you have completed, your rent will be adjusted to reflect your new share. Fill out our customer satisfaction survey and let us know how your Staircasing went, get involved with our customer forum or even volunteer for publicity to help raise awareness of Staircasing to current leaseholders and future Shared Ownership home buyers. 7.

8 Staircasing FAQ s How many times I can staircase? The maximum amount of times a leaseholder can Staircase is three times. Each time you Staircase you will be liable for costs, such as a valuation fee, and legal fees, and so it is advisable to Staircase in one tranche if this is possible. How much can I staircase at one time? The minimum share you can purchase is outlined in your lease, usually you are required to buy a minimum share of 10% and in multiples of at least 5%. Except the final share which should take you to 100%. When can I staircase? Older shared ownership leases prohibit you from being able to Staircase until you have owned the property for at least three months, so if you re buying a resale home this is a clause you may want to check. More recent shared ownership leases allow you to Staircase immediately - provided you can afford to. What happens to my rent and service charge following completion of staircasing? If you are completing an intermediate Staircasing, your rent will decrease, the Service Charge, Long Term Maintenance, Management Fee and Buildings Insurance, plus any other charges will remain the same. If you are Staircasing to 100%, your rent will cease. Service charges may or may not be payable, dependent on the below: Flats - the Service Charge, Long Term Maintenance, Management Fee and Buildings Insurance, plus any other charges, will remain the same. Properties purchased through the DIYSO scheme - All charges will cease. Houses- For houses where you acquire the Freehold title upon final Staircasing, most charges will cease. However we do have some houses which form part of a communal estate and will be subject to communal charges. A document called a TP1 will be executed upon final Staircasing to confirm this. Your solicitors will be able to advise further. How long does the staircasing process take? On average a Staircasing transaction takes two to three months from when the valuation is instructed. Why do I have to appoint a solicitor to act on my behalf? Staircasing is a legal transaction, further to which there are legal formalities which need to be checked and completed during the purchase by a qualified legal representative. Your solicitor will 8. also finalise the transaction with Land Registry upon completion. You should keep up to date with your solicitor; it is in both yours and Metropolitan s interest for the Staircasing to complete as soon as possible. Can Metropolitan give advice regarding which solicitor to use? At Metropolitan we are unable to make a recommendation; however we have provided you with a list of solicitors who are familiar with the Staircasing process and can offer their expertise and advise you accordingly. Can Metropolitan recommend a surveyor? Metropolitan provide a panel of surveyors who are familiar with the Staircasing process. They are not however recommended by Metropolitan, they are independent, you are welcome to use a valuer of your choice. The valuer should be RICS qualified and regulated. You should check this when instructing the valuation. Will I have to pay Stamp Duty? You may or may not have to pay Stamp Duty, depending on how much, if any, was paid when you bought your home, and also what the current Stamp Duty threshold is. Your solicitor will advise you further on this. What happens if I want to add or remove another person to/from the property ownership? If you are staircasing to 100% ownership you will need to include the details in your forms confirming who should be added and the details will be added to the instruction to our solicitors. If you were interim staircasing (ie. not to 100% ownership) then the person being added will need to register and be approved by the local Help to Buy agent to confirm their eligibility for the shared ownership scheme. Once approval is received, forward the approval to our team and we will include their details to the instruction. Once I own the property outright, can I sell it on the open market? Yes, but your solicitor will need to contact Metropolitan to change service charge details. Once I own the property outright can I rent it out? Yes you can but only when you own the property outright and not before.

9 Which home improvements are considered by Metropolitan when Staircasing? When Staircasing, some home improvements, which have been pre-approved by Metropolitan will be discounted from the valuation to ensure you are not paying for the cost of the work within your Staircasing premium. Home improvements are defined below: Addition of a conservatory Extension Loft conversion Porch New Garage Newly installed central heating (if there was no central heating prior to this) Installation of double glazed windows (if there was no double glazing prior to this) Newly fitted Kitchens and Bathrooms (Where value has been added to the property in the valuers opinion. It is important to note that fitted kitchens and bathrooms will depreciate over time and so may not impact on the valuation where the work has been completed some time ago. Repairs and maintenance are defined below: Redecoration of your home Floor coverings Fitted wardrobes New fencing New patio/decking Garden landscaping Garden structures (shed/summerhouse) Replacement/upgraded central heating Replacement/upgraded double glazing Boiler replacement Boiler repairs Rewiring or re-plumbing Replacement windows. Panel of registered surveyors Below is a list of surveyors who are qualified with and regulated by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The surveyors listed are also familiar with the Shared Ownership scheme. The surveyors are independent and we have no influence over the valuation figure provided by them. We can use the contents of your valuation report for reporting and analytical purposes. Below are the requirements for the completed report. You must ensure the report meets our requirements. If you need further explanation of the requirements, us at The valuer must be regulated by RICS, with a recognised RICS qualification. The valuer is independent to an estate agent. We cannot accept Estate Agent valuations as estate agents are not RICS qualified. The valuer should provide at least three comparable properties and sale prices. The comparables must be dated within the last six months. The valuer must not be related or known to you. The valuer must inspect the interior of the property and provide a full valuation report. Valuations carried out for bank or mortgage purposes will not be accepted We will require a copy of the valuation report; the validity of the valuation must be shown on the report and the report must state that Metropolitan can use the contents of the report. On the day of the appointment, you must confirm to the valuer (accurately) the number of years remaining on your lease as this can affect the valuation figure. Please note: The above guidelines must be adhered to, you will be required to liaise with the valuer for any necessary corrections and any additional costs incurred as a result will be your responsibility. A valuation which does not meet the above criteria will not be accepted by Metropolitan. 9.

10 Panel of registered surveyors MAP Surveyors: Areas covered: All: BR, CR, DA, SE, EC, E EN 1-3; TN 1-22; TN 32; ME 1 2, 4 6, 10, 14 20; N 1 4 5, 7, 16, 19; KT 1-8, 10, 17, 19; TW 1-2, 9-12; SW 2, 9, 13-15, T: W: plus VAT Copeland Yussuf Chartered Surveyors: Areas covered: London and all surrounding areas (further afield if requested) T: W: plus VAT Capital Chartered Surveyors: Within the M25, Please refer to Website for full coverage. T: W: Price quoted upon value of property. Castles Surveyors: Areas covered: N1-N22, NW2-NW7, E2-E17, EN1-EN4. T: W: plus VAT Gold Crest Surveyors: Areas covered: Birmingham, Derby, Nottingham, Leicester & Manchester T: W: Price quoted upon value of property. Aspect Surveyors: Areas covered: All London postcodes and majority postcodes within the M25 T: (Quote Metropolitan) W: plus VAT Watsons: Areas covered: NR, IP & PE Postcodes T: W: plus VAT Sheppard & Co Chartered Surveyors: Areas covered: All CB Postcodes & PE 16,19,26,27,28,29 T: W: plus VAT 8.

11 Staircasing - Confirmation of valuation form Please complete this form and with a copy of the completed valuation report to: Contact Details: Names of owners: Confirm Address: Post Code: Daytime number: Evening number: Address: Percentage share of your property you currently own: % Preserved Equity YES/NO? (Please circle) I hereby declare that the information provided above is correct at the time of writing. Client full Name/s: Client Signature/s: Date: If the property is jointly owned, we require the signatures of all co-owners. 11.

12 Panel of solicitors We strongly advise you appoint a solicitor with knowledge of affordable housing conveyancing. Included in this pack are a panel of solicitors with experience in this field, but you are of course free to choose your own solicitor. The solicitors on the panel are independent to Metropolitan and we do not endorse their services. Cavendish Hoe Street Walthamstow London E17 4QH T: E: Direction Law 31 Watling Street Canterbury Kent CT1 2UD T: E: Tinklin Springall Solicitors Devonshire House Elmfield Road Bromley BR1 1TF T: W: Key Conveyancing Solicitors Northampton St Edmunds House St Edmunds Road Northampton, NN1 5DY T: W: Contact us If you have any questions about Staircasing, would like to give us feedback or make a complaint please get in touch: Metropolitan Home Ownership After Sales Team The Grange 100 High Street Southgate, London, N14 6PW mho.co.uk You can call us Monday to Friday, between 09:00 to 17:15 on , select option two. 12.

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