Housing association announces new policy commitments for shared owners

Leading housing association Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing (MTVH) has announced several major policy commitments to boost security and cut costs for its existing and future shared ownership customers surrounding leaseholds and ground rents.

In new commitments recently unveiled, MTVH will offer all pipeline and new leasehold residential sales a 990-year lease, alongside ensuring that ground rents will not be charged on any pipeline or new sales on schemes where MTVH is the freeholder. This major policy commitment will be effective immediately.

MTVH has also announced its plans to offer similar commitments to existing shared ownership customers at occupied schemes, with the option for customers to extend their lease to 990-years from June 2021 at a cost based on the share they own. Additionally, marriage value will no longer be considered when calculating the cost of a lease extension.[1]

Geeta Nanda, Chief Executive of MTVH, comments: “We are pleased to announce our new policy commitments which are designed to boost security and cut costs for both our valued existing customers and future shared ownership customers at MTVH schemes. We are aware that these two issues are of importance to our customers and therefore are taking these steps to improve their shared ownership experience.

“Throughout our policy review, we have been particularly mindful that upcoming changes to shared ownership policy do little to enhance the experience of existing shared ownership customers and we were keen to explore what could be possible and within our means. Given that new customers will be guaranteed the security of a longer lease term, it is only right that this is offered to our existing customers too.”

Geeta adds: “We welcome the government’s wider proposals to implement 990-year leases across the shared ownership sector, but have taken the decision to act now to ensure our customers benefit from an extended lease length as quickly as possible.”

In a step further, a raft of other measures that will benefit MTVH leaseholders more generally will be introduced from April 2022. This will include the phasing out of ground rents across MTVH’s portfolio where they own the land, and the option to extend their lease to 990-years, alongside the removal of marriage value.

Geeta adds: “Whilst shared ownership has been impacted by some of the complexities of leasehold tenure, it is important that we address this across the board and ensure that any customers who have purchased through MTVH privately are offered a fair chance to extend their lease at an accessible cost too. We are pleased to be working on policy amendments that will allow all customers this option, as well as removing additional costs such as ground rents.”

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