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Decision details

Shared Ownership Policy

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

To agree a Shared Ownership Policy for current shared ownership stock held by Cambridge City Council.

Decision:

Matter for Decision

A Shared Ownership Policy has been produced to outline the Council’s approach to the management of the current units of shared ownership within the Housing Revenue Account, as well as the approach the Council will take to support current shared owners in working towards or achieving 100% ownership.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

  i.  Approved the Shared Ownership Policy for current stock.

  ii.  Agreed that the Council promotes staircasing, to 100% ownership where financially feasible, with current Shared Ownership Leaseholders.

  iii.  Agreed the revised approach for deciding on the repurchase of shared ownership units

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Head of Housing.

 

The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  Noted that flexible tenure allowed leaseholders to sell back shares to the Council in times of hardship and expressed concerns about the removal of an option for people who were struggling financially.  Asked if there were any current examples and the costs involved of offering flexible alternatives.

  ii.  Queried who set the cost of re-buying shares in a property.

 

The Head of Housing said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  Short of repurchasing shares in a property (which as the report outlines the Council would only do if it made strategic sense for the Council to do so) the Council does not directly offer any intermediate housing options. With regard to social/affordable housing, there is a paragraph in the Council Lettings Policy which states:

 

4.12.1 In line with the ‘Allocation of accommodation: guidance for local housing authorities in England’, Cambridge City Council will usually only allocate social housing to homeowners in exceptional circumstances. However, the City Council may allocate housing that is in low demand. Applicants who are homeowners will usually be allocated a Band D status. In exceptional circumstances Cambridge City Council may consider a homeowner’s status. For example, Cambridge City Council may allocate housing to applicants who require support and whose age qualifies them for housing for older people, but who have insufficient financial resources to access housing for older people in the private sector.

 

If, like any other potentially homeless applicant, a shared owner has to sell their shares or defaults on the mortgage, is facing repossession and does not have the financial means to secure an alternative housing option the Council, through its homelessness prevention services, can assist an applicant to access the private rented sector through rent in advance and a rent deposit or via our Housing Benefit Plus scheme which offers a one or two year rent subsidy and employment support to help a household get back on its feet.

  iii.  The Council used a valuer to calculate the buy-back value of shares in a property. This was based on market value and depended on the percentage of the share.

 

The Committee resolved:

- unanimously to endorse the recommendation 2.11

- unanimously to endorse the recommendation 2.12.

- by 10 votes to 0 to endorse the recommendation 2.13.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.

 

Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

Publication date: 12/11/2021

Date of decision: 23/09/2021