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1 Housing 21 is a not for profit organisation and a leading provider of care, health and housing options for the over 55 s. Purchasers Guide For further information please contact: New sales & marketing team Housing 21 1 Staithgate Lane Odsal Bradford West Yorkshire BD6 1YA Tel: Leasehold team Housing 21 9 Avro Court Ermine Business Park Huntingdon Cambridgeshire PE29 6WG Tel:

2 About Housing 21 Originally formed in 1965 as the Royal British Legion Housing Association, we changed our name to Housing 21 in 1992 and have continued our long history of working with older people. We are now one of the largest providers of older people s services in England. Whilst we have retained strong links with the Legion and other service organisations, our homes are available to all older people irrespective of whether they have a service background. We are a non-profit making organisation and a registered housing association with charitable status. Our purpose is to promote independence and choice for older people through quality housing, care and support. If you need any information in a different format, for example large print, Braille, audio tape or another language, please contact: Housing 21 on: Moving home can be a stressful experience at any time of life. We appreciate that when you are considering buying a retirement property within a leasehold or extra care development you are making a major decision. With this in mind, we have prepared this booklet to provide information that we hope will help you and your advisers decide whether this form of housing is suitable for you Our properties Service charges Insurance arrangements Re-selling your property Leases Return on re-sale Mortgages Equity release Pets Additional information

3 Our properties Service charges 1 2 We have: Over 350 sheltered schemes throughout England offering around 15,000 homes for rent. More than 30 leasehold developments in locations across the country, which provide around 1,300 homes for sale to the over 55 market. A number of extra care schemes, which are either completed, or in development around the country, many of which offer opportunities to rent or purchase (via shared ownership or outright sale). As we continue to develop around the country, the opportunity to purchase a property from Housing 21 is steadily growing. At present our properties are spread over schemes, made up of either: Rented properties only. Properties available for sale only. A mixture of properties available for sale and for rent. There is a service charge payable to Housing 21 in respect of all of our properties, whether rented or leasehold. A service charge budget is set at the start of each financial year for each development, which sets the level of service charge payable by residents during that year. At the end of the financial year, service charge accounts are calculated, based on actual spend. Annual meetings are held with residents to discuss both the service charges and other matters relating to the estate, including any planned maintenance which may be necessary during the coming year. The new service charge budget is calculated by reference to costs in the previous financial year and likely costs (where these are known) in the current year. We are unable to give guarantees about the level of service charge in future years, which will vary depending on the actual level of spend each year. How is service charge paid? The service charge is payable in advance and the preferred method of payment is by standing order from your bank account. When you move into your new home we will write to you and provide details of how this works. As we do not trade for profit you have the reassurance of knowing that our charges reflect the true cost of services provided. Wherever possible, all costs are competitively tendered.

4 What does the service charge cover? Each development varies, but our service charge will normally cover the following items: The employment of a court manager, including salary and related costs. On some schemes the court manager will be resident and on others, non-resident. An emergency alarm call system that provides cover when the court manager is unavailable or not on duty. Buildings insurance covering the structure of the building (residents are, however, responsible for arranging their own contents insurance). Lighting and heating for communal areas, including entrances, corridors, laundry and guest room(s). Cleaning of all communal areas. External window cleaning (the extent of cleaning varies at different schemes and may exclude bungalows). Maintaining communal gardens. Maintenance contracts for equipment in communal areas. Management fee, which is the Housing 21 charge for the administration involved in providing and supervising services and the production of audited accounts. Sinking fund Residents are required to make contributions to the costs of major repairs and replacements to items such as: Roofs Windows Doors Driveways Guttering and downpipes. A sinking fund is set up on each of our developments so that money will be available to fund major works. It ensures that each development is kept in good condition and major works are carried out when necessary. The sinking fund is built up by collecting contributions either: monthly through the service charge, taking into account the likely cost and the estimated timescale until works are necessary; or by a lump sum payable when the property is sold using a formula set out in the lease. You will be advised which method of collection applies for the property you want to buy. Provisional sums are also collected at most schemes to ensure that there will be sufficient money available to meet other significant costs such as redecoration works to the communal areas and replacement of communal items (such as carpets and laundry equipment).

5 Details of each development s sinking (or provisions) funds are provided to residents on an annual basis, together with the full service charge schedule. You are advised to ask to see a copy of the provisions being made when you buy. Generally, leaseholders are responsible for the maintenance and decoration of the interior of their homes. It is therefore recommended that before you purchase a resale property you obtain a report detailing the condition of the dwelling. What happens if I cannot pay my service charge? You may be entitled to claim state or other benefits if you have trouble paying your service charge or other outgoings. Housing 21 has benefit advisers who can help you to ensure you claim benefits to which you are entitled. The full rebuilding cost of your home will be covered by our comprehensive insurance policy and the sum insured is reviewed regularly. Your own furniture and personal effects are not covered by the policy so you will need to arrange your own contents insurance. Re-selling your property You must contact us (in writing) to advise us that you wish to sell your property. We will then write to you setting out the procedure for finding a purchaser for the property. This letter will normally advise you about obtaining a valuation and will confirm whether or not we or the local authority wish to nominate a buyer. It will also inform you about the costs you will incur, including any fees payable for the nomination of a buyer. Where no purchaser is identified by either the local authority or Housing 21, then the seller can place the property on the market with an estate agent of their own choosing. Prospective purchasers will need to meet the Court Manager before the sale can proceed to ensure that they comply with the criteria for buyers as set out in the lease. The meeting will also allow the Court Manager to advise the buyer about the scheme so they are fully aware of their rights and obligations. Service charge and sinking fund contributions are compulsory for all residents on our developments, whether or not various facilities are used by the purchaser. The purchaser(s) should ensure they are fully aware of the charges payable prior to purchase. 5 Leases 3 What are the insurance arrangements? New properties Housing 21 leases are for an initial term of 125 years and are assignable on re-sale. This means that the lease can be transferred between the buyer and seller. Re-sale leases Leases come in a variety of formats. You will be advised about the type and length of lease for the property before you buy. 4

6 6 How much will I get back when I sell? Can I release equity from the property? 8 You will get the current market value of your share of the lease when you sell. From this sum you will be asked to pay any outstanding service charges and any charges relating to the sale. For example: The market value of a property on purchase is 100,000 and you have bought a 75% share in that property. You have therefore paid 75,000. You now wish to sell your property. The valuation has been assessed at 150,000, so the value of your 75% share would be 112,500. If you own the lease outright (that is, own a 100% share) then you will receive the full selling price minus any service charge arrears and costs/charges relating to the sale. A number of finance companies do not offer equity release for some types of leasehold property, particularly shared ownership properties. Furthermore, leases usually prevent certain forms of equity release. It is usually possible, though, to release equity but you will need to consult a financial adviser as Housing 21 is unable to offer advice. Housing 21 will require details of the proposed equity release product to ensure it complies with the lease. Pets Pets are normally allowed so long as they do not cause a nuisance, however, you should always seek our written consent. 9 7 Can I obtain a mortgage? Housing 21 is unable to help purchasers with any financial advice on obtaining mortgage finance. If mortgage finance is required to finance the purchase of a property, then you will need to contact a mortgage lender or independent mortgage advisor of your own choice for advice. Housing 21 will require details of the proposed offer to ensure it meets our own criteria and is a lender approved by us. Additional information This is not intended to be an exhaustive document, covering all aspects of the property you are interested in purchasing. If you require further information on our care and support services, the court manager service, or specific information on your chosen development, please contact the appropriate office overleaf. 10

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