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Leasehold Frequently Asked Questions
Anyone over the age of 16 can apply.
Applicants between the ages of 16 and 18 will, however, be required to provide a guarantor and we strongly recommend that they seek advice from social services and/or the local authority homeless services.
Applicants looking for our Independent Living properties must normally be 55 years of age. In the case of couples, one partner should have reached 55. In certain circumstances, however, we can consider applicants under the age of 55, e.g. someone who is registered disabled and is in receipt of a relevant disability benefit. Some of our schemes have specific restrictions on who can apply. You will be advised of any restrictions on application.
At Johnnie Johnson Housing we have a clear Equality and Diversity policy. We welcome applications from anyone regardless of age, gender, religious beliefs, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, physical characteristics or disability.
Once you have submitted your application and provided any supporting information requested, we aim to process your application within 21 days. Once we have processed your application we will let you know what Housing Need Band you have been placed in, your Effective Date and the size of property you are eligible for
There is no limit to the number of schemes you can apply for. However, some schemes are governed by a local lettings policy, which will normally require that the applicant has a local connection to the area.
Yes. Applicants accepted as homeless will be placed in our priority housing need group Housing Need Band 1
The question of who is regarded as homeless is complex but, generally speaking, we regard someone as homeless if accepted as statutorily homeless by the local authority
If a decision has been made to exclude you, we will write to you giving the reasons why.
Some of our properties may have immediate vacancies and no waiting list, while others will have infrequent vacancies and a full waiting list. It is difficult to guarantee a time scale in which you will be offered a property, as this depends on several factors, such as how many properties become available, how many priority applicants are waiting and your own particular circumstances. We will, however, do our best to help and give you realistic advice about your prospects.
We understand the value of pets in providing security and comfort, but we must also balance this with the comfort of our other residents. If you wish to keep a pet you must obtain permission in writing.
Having an online account makes it really quick and easy for you to update your application as and when things change. It is very important that you tell us about any changes in your circumstances as it may affect your Housing Need Band. If you don’t tell us about any changes, it might make you ineligible for some properties.
No, you can refuse a property offered to you. We will do our best to help you find a home that you are completely happy with, but we do reserve the right to remove applicants from the housing register where they have refused three reasonable offers of accommodation.
If you are applying for General Let housing, we will interview you, either at home or at the property. In the case of Independent Living properties, you will usually be able to meet one of our Independent Living Co-Ordinators, have a look around and ask any questions you may have even before you apply!
Internal transfers will only receive priority if they meet the criteria of the urgent needs categories as outlined in the allocations policy.
You can apply for a transfer in the normal way (see ‘How do I apply?’), and we will record your application as an internal transfer.
You should also register with the local authority so that you can ‘bid’ for Johnnie Johnson properties via their Choice Based Lettings system.
A Lease is an extremely important legal contract relating to the occupation and ownership of your home and sets out the legal relationship between you, the leaseholder and us, the landlord. When you sign the lease or take over an existing Lease you are agreeing to certain responsibilities and so are we. The Lease grants you a number of rights but also serious obligations which you need to understand when you buy your new home.
It is essential that you seek legal advice prior to signing the lease and make sure that your solicitor goes through each clause of the Lease with you. Ask your solicitor to provide you with a copy of your Lease when you purchase your property.
Leasehold ownership of a flat or house is simply a long tenancy, the right to occupation and use of the flat or house for a long period – the ‘term’ of the lease. This will usually be for 99 or 125 years and the flat or house can be bought and sold during that term. The term is fixed at the beginning and so decreases in length year by year. Thus, if it were not for inflation, the value of the flat or house would diminish over time until the eventual expiry of the lease, when the flat returns to the landlord (although an assured tenancy would then become a possibility).
The leasehold ownership of a flat usually relates to everything within the four walls of the flat, including floorboards and plaster to walls and ceiling, but does not usually include the external or structural walls. The structure and common parts of the building and the land it stands on are usually owned by the freeholder, who is also the landlord. The freeholder is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the building. The costs for doing so are recoverable through the service charges and billed to the leaseholders. A leasehold ownership of a house usually relates to the whole building both internal and external and possibly a garden and driveway. Typically a leaseholder of a house would be responsible for the repair and maintenance of the whole building.
The shared ownership lease sets out the rights and obligations of both the landlord (i.e. JJH) and tenant (i.e. the shared owner). JJH has a contractual right to ensure that the shared owner complies with the terms of the lease. A shared ownership lease is where the leaseholder has purchased a share in the equity and pays rent on that share retained by the landlord.
Typically a shared ownership leaseholder will own 25%, 50% or 75% of the property and pay rent on that part of the property owned by the landlord. The actual proportion owned by the leaseholder and the landlord can vary from the examples above.
All repairs and maintenance to the home are your responsibility, regardless of the share you own. Most brand new homes come with a 1 year warranty period for defects and a longer warranty to cover any structural problems caused by poor workmanship. When you buy a flat, Johnnie Johnson Housing (JJH) will generally be responsible for any communal parts of the building and grounds and you will be responsible for all repairs and maintenance to your own flat. You pay a service charge to JJH which is used to cover the costs of maintenance and decoration to communal areas.
You are free to decorate your shared ownership property. JJH will not contribute to decorative improvements. Your shared ownership lease should have details about major alterations to the property, e.g. new flooring, structural changes, which will have to be authorised by JJH before work commences.
No, shared ownership leases do not allow you to sublet your home. This may also be a condition of the mortgage. In some cases, under exceptional circumstances, you may be able to sublet for a specified period. You will be required to obtain written permission from JJH.
You should check with JJH first when purchasing the property, but most shared ownership leases allow this. Please note, the income you will gain from taking a lodger will not be taken into account when assessing your affordability for a property, you must be able to afford to purchase the property and make the monthly costs independently of the income from a lodger.
If you live in a flat, you will usually be responsible for repairs inside your home, and the housing association will be responsible for repairs and maintenance of the structure of the building and any communal areas (e.g. lifts, corridors, shared external areas).
If you are struggling to make your monthly payments you should let your lender and JJH know. Your housing association will try and help you manage your situation. If necessary, and if no other recourse is available, you may have to sell your property.
Yes, the rent paid to JJH on the share not owned by you will be reviewed periodically, usually every year, and will be increased in line with any proportionate increase in the Retail Prices Index plus an amount, typically between 0.5% and 2%. Note that the rent is reviewed on an “upwards only” basis and will not go down when reviewed. You should always check the terms of your lease carefully before you purchase a shared ownership property for details of possible rent increases.
You should check the terms of your lease. You must have JJH’s permission in writing before you make any alterations to your property.
You need to ask for permission from JJH at an early stage of the purchase process. If the property does not have a shared communal area you may be allowed to keep a pet subject to approval by JJH. If the property is in a block of flats and has shared communal areas you will not be allowed to keep pets.
Buildings insurance is be the responsibility of the Freeholder – quite often the housing association. The cost will often be included in the service charge. Contents insurance, which covers all your furniture, carpets, white goods and personal belongings, is the responsibility of the person living in the property – it is not compulsory to purchase but it is advisable.
You should always check the eligibility required with the housing association selling the property, as they may have specific criteria.
- You must be at least 18 years old
- Your annual household income must be less than £80,000
- You should generally be a first time buyer, i.e. you don’t already own a home. If you do already own, you must be in the process of selling it
- You should not be able to afford to buy a home suitable for your housing needs on the open market
- You must show you are not in mortgage or rent arrears
- You must be able to demonstrate that you have a good credit history (no bad debts or County Court Judgements) and can afford the regular payments and costs involved in buying a home
- You should have savings or to be able to easily access at least £4,000 to cover the costs of buying a home. This is a guideline figure – the actual amount you need will depend on the Help to Buy option you choose
- In most cases you will also need to have enough savings or be able to easily access a minimum 5-10% of the equity share you are buying, as a deposit.