Being a Homeowner
Help and advice for our Homeowners
We provide services to over 800 homeowners and have a dedicated Home Ownership team who can help you with:
- Queries about your lease or freehold transfer.
- Providing information about the services you receive.
- Answer queries your rent, service charges, or other charges that you might pay.
- Providing information packs when you’re selling your property.
- Extending your lease.
- Re-mortgaging or changes of ownership.
- Requests to make alterations or improvements to your home.
As a shared owner or leaseholder, your lease or transfer explains our joint responsibilities.
If you live in a house then you are typically responsible for repairs and maintenance for the whole property, inside and outside.
If you live in a flat, then you are usually responsible for all repairs and maintenance inside your home. We’re usually responsible for looking after the outside structure of the building and communal areas like shared stairways, corridors, lifts, and communal doors etc. The cost of any repairs or maintenance to those areas is then charged back to you through your service charge. You may also be responsible for external areas such as gardens, fences, boundary structures, garages, and car parks.
Please check your lease to see exactly what you’re responsible for, but if you need help understanding your lease, then please contact our Home Ownership team.
Repairs to communal areas
If we’re the freeholder of your building or estate, we’ll keep the structure of the building and the common areas, such as halls, stairways, roads, paths, and gardens maintained and in good repair. We do check these areas regularly but if you notice anything that needs repairing, please let us know.
In some areas, roads and paths are adopted by the local authority. Where this is the case, the local authority will be responsible for any repairs or maintenance to those areas.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that in some cases another managing agent/company will also be involved in providing services on an estate.
If we own the freehold of your building i.e., if you’re a leaseholder or share owner, then we are responsible for providing buildings insurance and you’ll be paying for this in your service charge.
The insurance that we provide is only to cover the building. You’ll need to arrange your own contents insurance to cover your personal possessions.
Here is a summary of cover for the building’s insurance.
You can contact the insurance provider direct if you have cause to make a claim. Details of how to contact them, including the policy reference number are included within the summary of cover.
If there is damage to a communal area for which Ocean has a responsibility, then please let us know and we’ll deal with any claims.
If you’re a shared owner or leaseholder, you’ll usually need our permission to make improvements or alterations to your home. Depending on the works that you’re planning you may also need to get permission from the Council.
Any improvements or alterations that you make may affect the buildings insurance or the value of your property if you choose to sell it.
If you’re planning alteration or improvement works to your home, then please contact our Home Ownership team first to make sure that you’re allowed to do them, and to get our permission.
There is a fee for providing permission. Please see our Administration Fees for details and speak to our Home Ownership team.
You can sell your shared ownership home at any time. Our Home Ownership team we will check your lease and advise you of the next steps but typically, you’ll:
• Need to choose a RICS valuer and instruct them to carry out a valuation of the property.
• Check to see if you have a valid Energy Performance Certificate, also known as an EPC. If yours has expired, then you’ll need to get another one done.
• Once you’ve had your property valued, you’ll need to submit the valuation, EPC and completed selling form, to our Home Ownership team.
• We’ll advertise your property on our website, on Help to Buy, and on Zoopla or Rightmove.
• People wanting to by your property will need to apply and meet the same criteria as you did when you bought it. As soon as we’ve approved your buyer, we will be in touch.
• When your buyer has been approved and the sale has been confirmed, you’ll need to instruct a solicitor to complete the legal process. We’ll then work with your solicitor to ensure that your sale goes through as quickly as possible.
Most of our shared owners have the option to buy up to 100% of their home. In some rural areas this is restricted to 80% to help us to keep affordable homes in the area.
1. Speak to a mortgage advisor first to see what you might be able to borrow. You can buy additional shared through a mortgage, savings, or a combination of both.
2. Speak to us about having your home valued by an independent chartered surveyor. This will help us get the right value for your home, taking into account any improvements you may want to make while living there.
3. You’ll need a solicitor to help you complete the additional purchase so you’ll need to tell us which solicitor you’re using so that we can write to them and when we’ve confirmed everything.
Our Home Ownership team will help you through the process, including arranging the valuation, and our solicitors will help with the legal paperwork from our side.
It important that we instruct the valuation. We’re unable to accept a valuation that has been instructed by you, or one that hasn’t been carried out by a RICS surveyor.
At some stage during your ownership, you may want to make changes to your mortgage, such as moving your mortgage to a different lender or taking out extra borrowing on your existing mortgage. As we have a financial interest in your home, we have to agree any changes that you’re looking to make to your mortgage.
We’re only able to agree changes to your borrowing in the following circumstance:
• To enable you to staircase and buy further shares in your home.
• For essential repairs to your property, which if not carried out, would result in you breaching your repair obligations contained in your lease.
• To enable one joint shared owner to buy out the other shared owner.
• To enable you to move to a better interest rate.
There is a fee for assisting with a re-mortgage. Please see our Administration Fees for details or speak to our Home Ownership team.
During your ownership, you may wish to transfer legal ownership of your home to another, such as in the event of a relationship breakdown. As we have a financial interest in your home, we have to agree any changes that you’re looking to make.
In order for us to agree any changes we’ll need the following:
• Letters from all named and future leaseholders confirming that they agree to a transfer. We’ll also need their ID, and, in some cases, we may need to complete a few checks first.
• Confirmation from your mortgage that they agree to the change.
• A clear rent account and no current legal action.
You’ll need to instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf and they’ll need to contact us for confirmation on what is required under the terms of the lease. Your solicitor will do most of the work for you, but we’ll work with them to make sure everything is completed as quickly as possible.
There is a fee for assisting with a transfer of ownership. Please see our Administration Fees for details or speak to our Home Ownership team.
You will find a list of our fees here