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Date approved: November 2021
Review date: November 2024

Please be aware that this full policy may include acronyms or technical jargon used internally within Raven. If you have any questions, please contact us.

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1. This policy sets out the Raven Housing Trust’s approach to allocating shared ownership properties first tranche sales. Resale allocations will follow the same principles but will also be in accordance with the lease terms.

1.2. Raven does not currently develop new shared ownership properties in London Boroughs. However should this change this policy will apply, but Homes England should be read as the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the criteria at 5.2 must be replaced with current GLA eligibility as set out in their Capital Funding Guide (e.g. maximum £90,000 household income).

2. DEFINITIONS

  • Shared ownership – a tenure which allows the purchaser to buy a starting share and rent is paid on the equity that Raven retains. The new Shared Ownership model introduced for the Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) 2021 to 2026 permits shares between 10% and 75% which differs from the previous model that permits shares between 25% and 75%. Rents can be charged at up to 3% of the unsold equity. Raven charges 2.75% in line with Homes England recommendations and standard approach in the market.
  • Staircasing – when the shared ownership leaseholder purchases additional shares in their property. In the majority of cases they can staircase to 100% ownership, but on rural exception sites this is typically limited to 80%. 

3. LEGAL AND REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS

3.1. The following legislation impacts on this policy and will take precedence if any conflict arises with this policy:

  • Nomination Agreements;
  • Homes England’s Capital Funding Guide;
  • Charitable objectives; and
  • Any specific conditions required as a result of planning approval.

4. POLICY STATEMENT

4.1. Raven will allocate properties in a fair manner that meets the legislative and regulatory requirements, is in line with local nominations agreements and Board approvals.

5. APPLICANT PRIORITY PRESCRIBED CRITERIA

5.1. Homes England has removed all priority groups expect Armed Forces Personnel as set out in the Capital Funding Guide.

5.2. Applicants will need to qualify with Homes England’s HomeBuy Agent and meet the criterion which applies at the time of qualification. At present this includes;

  1. A household income of less than £80,000;
  2. Demonstrate they are investing the majority of their savings and investments in the purchase, but avoiding hardship and taking account of individual circumstances;
  3. Be unable to purchase a suitable property on the open market; and
  4. Shared Ownership homes are available for existing outright (subject to certain tests) or shared owners.

5.3. All applicants will be subject to a financial assessment, completed by Raven’s Sales team and Independent Financial Adviser.

5.4. Some properties will have specific qualifying criteria set out within the nomination agreement. This typically requires a local connection.

6. RAVEN ALLOCATION PRIORITY

6.1. Typically Raven operate a first-come-first served process, so where there is only one party meeting the qualifying criteria interested in a property their purchase will proceed.

6.2. When there is more than one qualifying applicant interested in a property who express their interest in a similar timeframe, we will allocate using the current Homes England priority groups, any specific allocation criteria agreed in a nomination agreement with the Local Authority and then:

  1. Existing Raven tenant*;
  2. Non-Raven affordable housing tenant*;
  3. The share value sought*;
  4. Current economic status (proceed-ability)*; and
  5. Household size.

* The Capital Funding Guide sets out guidelines in relation to these criteria, e.g. we must maximise the share value being purchased to support the aims of the Group and tenants must not be in arrears.

7. SELLING RAVEN HOMES TO STAFF AND BOARD MEMBERS

7.1. Members of staff and Board members meeting the criteria set out above may purchase a Raven shared ownership property.

7.2. Written approval will be sought from the Development Director or Chief Executive before an allocation is made.

8. MONITORING AND REVIEW

8.1. This policy will be reviewed every three years or sooner if there are substantial changes in legislation or best practice.

9. EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY

9.1. Raven aims to achieve equality of opportunity in relation to the services we provide as a landlord and as an employer. This means that no person or group seeking housing, jobs or contracts with us will be treated less favourably because of their or their partner’s, family’s, friend’s or associated person’s protected characteristics. In law, protected characteristics specifically cover: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. In addition to these, Raven will not treat anybody more or less favourably for any reason which causes a person to be treated with injustice.

9.2. We will seek to understand the diverse needs and circumstances of applicants. Using this insight, we will adjust services to meet the diverse needs of our customers, remove barriers and allocate properties in a fair, equitable and transparent way.

9.3. All Board members, staff and involved residents must understand Raven’s policies, promoting equality and diversity and challenging discriminatory action or expression.

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