• How do I qualify?

    Your gross household income must be less than £80,000 per annum (outside of London) and you must be unable to afford to purchase a home on the open market without financial help.  Generally you should be a first time buyer, and not own a home or land, or have a financial interest in a home or land in the U.K. or abroad.

    Current shared home owners may be considered again for shared ownership if they have an approved application with the Help to Buy Agent, cannot afford to purchase a suitable property on the open market, and meet the scheme and property criteria. Catalyst also require that your current home must be for sale -  or in the case of purchasing a re-sale property, your current home should be sold with a confirmed exchange or completion date from your solicitor. As well as all of the above requirements for current shared owners, other current home owners must have written support from their local authority.  

    You will have to be able to afford low cost home ownership in the long term and will have an affordability assessment carried out to ensure it is affordable for you.

  • How many bedrooms can I have?

    There are no longer a maximum number of bedrooms you may consider but you must be able to afford the property in the long term.
  • Can I make alterations / adaptations to my shared ownership property?

    You need to request Catalyst’s written permission before you make any alterations or improvements to your home. However, we will not withhold permission unreasonably.  General maintenance, repairs and re-decoration are not regarded as improvements e.g. replacing a boiler.  However installing a brand new central heating system that was not already in the property would be considered an improvement as it would add value to the property.

    Any improvements that have Catalyst's written agreement may be considered if you decide to sell or buy further shares in your property.  If you stair-case to 100% ownership you should receive 100% of the benefit of any added value. If you sell your share, you will benefit in accordance with the share of your property.

    Please be aware that any added value may not represent the amount spent on the improvements.   

  • What improvements / additions do Catalyst accept?

    Extensions to your property, loft conversions, conservatories, double glazing, installing central heating, newly fitted bathroom and kitchens, (not just replacing unit doors etc).  If you were requested to carry out works when you originally purchased your property these are regarded as maintenance and repair.

    You must have the appropriate planning permission, warranties etc and works should have been carried out by properly qualified tradesmen.  Major improvements will need to be approved and checked by our asset management department.

    Please contact Lea Valley Homes before commencing any improvements or additions to your home.     

  • If I’m a shared owner, will Catalyst share the cost of the maintenance and repairs?

    It will be your responsibility to repair and maintain your new home. Most New Build shared ownership homes have a defect period, and all new properties are covered by the NHBC or a similar guarantee for latent defects. 

    If you purchase an apartment, Catalyst will be responsible for the fabric of the building, communal areas and buildings insurance etc and these costs will be included in your monthly service charge for the communal services e.g. maintenance of communal gardens, door entry systems etc.  You will also make a contribution through your service charges to the ‘sinking fund’.  These are funds put aside by Catalyst for major repairs and maintenance for example; replacing the roof.

  • What if I want to sell my home in the future?

    If you want to sell your property you must inform us first as per the conditions in your lease.  If we are unable to find a buyer within the time stated in your lease, you will have the option of selling through an estate agent etc.
  • Why do I have to let Catalyst sell my property first and not an estate agent?

    As with all shared ownership leases offered under the government-funded scheme, your lease contains a clause stating that your property must be offered to your Registered Provider landlord first to try to find a buyer.  This is called the ‘nomination period’ and is to ensure that the property is offered to the same economic group needing help to get on the property ladder as when you first purchased the property yourself.  It also gives the landlord the opportunity to find government-defined priority buyers.

    Catalyst generally apply an 8 week nomination period before you are free to sell on the open market but should your lease may stipulate a different nomination period.

  • How will Catalyst try to sell my property?

    Catalyst will contact all qualifying approved applicants registered with the Help to Buy Agent who meet the criteria of your property.  They will also advertise your property on various property web sites including on our own web site, Help to Buy East & South East, Rightmove etc. to further advertise your property we use various forms of social media, attend marketing events and may advertise in certain publications, responding to any expressions of interest.

    For further information e-mail sales.services@chg.org.co.uk or call the team on 01582 869422 during office hours

  • Who gets the property valued - you or me?

    You will need to instruct and pay an independent surveyor registered and attributed to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Your initial letter and information pack will advise you of what you need to inform your surveyor before he values your property. 
  • Why do I have to have a RICS valuation – an estate agent would be cheaper.

    Your lease will have a clause stating the valuation must be carried out by a RICS or FRICS (Fellow of RICS) surveyor.  This is to ensure your property is valued independently by professional property surveyors therefore ensuring your property is sold at a fair and competitive price.
  • What if I don’t agree with the valuation?

    You can contact your surveyor and ask them to re-consider. However part of the surveyor’s decision on the valuation of your property is based on the comparable/actual sale price of similar properties, and the surveyor’s own knowledge of property sales in your area. Therefore if you are asking them to re-consider their valuation, it would be advisable for you to have evidence of at least three properties, similar to yours and in the same area, that have selling/sold within the last 3 months.

    You can also appoint another RICS surveyor but you will have to pay for this valuation again yourself.

    You may also ask the District Valuer to value your property - again you will have  to pay for this service.

  • Will you charge a fee for selling my home?

    Yes - if we are successful in finding a buyer we currently charge £1,000 + VAT.  However please be aware there are other various fees involved in selling your property that you will have to pay, regardless of who sells your property. Details should be in your information pack.
  • If you can’t find a buyer in the nomination period, can I then go to an estate agent?

    Yes you can.  You may like to ask more than one estate agent to give you a quote for their fees to sell your property.

    Please also be aware that if the estate agent finds you a buyer who wants to purchase just your share then Catalyst will still need to approve them and check they have an approved application with the Help to Buy Agent.  This is to ensure the purchaser meets the government criteria for shared ownership and can afford this type of home ownership in the long term.

  • If my circumstances change, can I let my property out rather than sell it?

    No, unless you are a serving uniformed member of the British Armed Forces and serving overseas, in which case you may be able to sub-let your property.

    Your lease, and probably your mortgage provider will have a clause prohibiting you from sub-letting your property.  If you no longer need to live in your property as your main and only home then you should sell it.

  • What are Re-Sales?

    Re-sales are shared ownership properties where the current owner is selling their share. Unless they are ‘fixed equity’ you purchase the share on offer and may purchase additional shares in the future until you own it outright.

    With 'fixed equity' shared ownership you may only purchase the maximum stated in your lease - often 75% or 80%.  These homes are generally in small villages / hamlets so have a rural restriction or protected area clause in their lease, as do shared ownership properties built specifically for older or disabled people.

  • Will I have to pay rent on the share I do not buy?

    With most shared ownership properties you will have to pay a discounted rent on the share you do not own, although with some specific fixed equity schemes liked Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO) if you purchase the maximum share available you may not have to pay rent on the remainder of the share.   

    Your rent is reviewed annually and at Catalys , any rent increases take effect from October.   If you buy further shares in the future (staircasing) your rent will reduce accordingly. If you then purchase 100% of the shares, you will have no rent to pay. Any service charges though, will still be due.   

  • If I am a shared owner can I use the Right to Buy to buy the rest of the shares?

    No. Only social tenants may be considered (depending on the current criteria) for the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire scheme - not shared owners.  
  • What is a Mortgagee Protection Clause?

    The Mortgagee Protection Clause covers the amount advanced by the lender for the original value of the share should the lender have to take possession of the property on default of the mortgage. As Catalyst is effectively underwriting the amount advanced by the lender to Catalyst's shared owners and should the lender re-possess, Catalyst will be liable for any shortfall in the sales proceeds. Therefore to protect its own interests Catalyst has to approve any mortgage, re-mortgage or further advance, and charges a fee for doing so.   
  • I want to do some improvements. May I apply for a further advance to fund them?

    You may apply for a further advance or re-mortgage with another lender - however they must be an approved lender registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and cannot be an unregistered sub-prime lender.  As the new mortgage will be subject to the Mortgagee Protection Clause, Catalyst will have to approve the new mortgage, and will charge you a fee for doing so.

    The further advance / re-mortgage must not be in excess of the original share purchased  and the lease term must not be less than the mortgage term.  We are only able to consider repayment mortgages, not interest only mortgages. There are various other conditions the mortgage document must confirm and which Catalyst will check but the lender will be aware of these.

    If your rent and/or service charge account is in arrears we will be unable to approve the new mortgage unless you have already made a payment plan arrangement and are making the extra payments as agreed. 

    For further information please contact the team at sales@leavalleyhomes.co.uk or telephone 01582 869420 during office hours


  • I have come to the end of my Fixed Term rate with my lender. Can I re-mortgage with another lender?

    All shared owners have the option to re-mortgage with another lender - however any new mortgage will still be subject to terms and conditions of the Mortgagee Protection Clause.  Therefore Catalyst will have to review and approve the new mortgage to ensure it is in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Mortgagee Protection Clause - Catalyst will charge you a fee for doing this.  There are also other conditions that will need to be met.  

    Your new lender must be an approved lender registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and cannot be an unregistered sub-prime lender.  We are unable to approve any other mortgage other than a re-payment mortgage.  Your re-mortgage cannot be in exceess of the original value of the initial percentage of the share and the term of your lease should be greater than the term of your mortgage.  Your account for rent and/or service charges with Catalyst should not be in arrears.

    For further information contact the team at sales@leavalleyhomes.co.uk or telephone 01582 869420 during office hours.