Housing Association compliant Staircasing Valuation from SAM Conveyancing. Someone walks their fingers up a 'staircase' of stacked coins
Staircasing? You need a RICS Valuation
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Staircasing Valuation

(Last Updated: 26/06/2024)
5 min read
A staircasing valuation is required as a first step when you're looking to staircase your shared ownership property. By staircasing, you'll increase your equity percentage in your property and - as importantly - your rent reduces by the proportion that you staircase.

However before you get there, your housing association requires you to get a RICS current market valuation of your property. The thinking is that prices may well have moved since you bought your first (or most recent) premium. The downside is, of course, that you have to pay for the valuation yourself and will have to on any subsequent occasion you staircase further.

Staircasing to over 80% ownership?

If you didn't choose to pay off all your stamp duty for the whole shared ownership property when you bought your first share (or premium) - known as a Market Value Election - then you'll have more to pay as soon as you staircase to above 80% ownership. 

The calculation of exactly how much stamp duty you might have to pay in this situation is a complex one - please read Stamp Duty for Staircasing to find out more.

This article looks at these matters:


    Do you have to choose your RICS valuer/surveyor only from your housing associations' 'approved list'?

No. Your housing association's literature may well imply that you have to choose your valuer from their own panel but this is never compulsory. At the very least, you should get at least a few quotes from professionals who aren't on the the panel - after all, valuations are one of the factors which make shared ownership conveyancing relatively expensive - and you'll want to at least ensure you get a good value quote.


    When in the process should you book in your valuation?

Once you're sure that you want to staircase and have sufficient funds in place - or are reasonably sure that you can realise them - then booking your valuation should be the first thing you do. Bear in mind that your housing association will only let you proceed if you've cleared all rent arrears etc. and you'll have to pay the requisite application fee.


    What if your housing association imposes 'special conditions' on your surveyor?

Experienced RICS valuers know that staircasing valuations are subject to regulations which are generally common to all housing associations. This includes, for example, producing up to two valuation figures. If you've made any improvements to your property, one of the figures you're given will reflect this.

However your housing association, whichever one it is, will not include any improvements you've made in their approved valuation, therefore your surveyor/valuer also gives you a figure which discounts these (if you have made any).


    Can you appeal against the valuation figure?

Yes, however you might find it very difficult to overturn. If you wish to, you should start by researching the prices of comparable properties in the vicinity of yours and in the first instance, take the matter up with your surveyor. The challenge you face is that to go further than this, you'll need to produce more compelling evidence and/or spend additional money.

You could, for example, get a valuation from a different RICS valuer, but there's no guarantee that the outcome will be any different.

Many commentators have stated that lenders and housing associations are unlikely to side against a surveyor regarding a RICS valuation. Appeal to the RICS itself is also possible, but once again, unless your surveyor can be proved to have acted unprofessionally or grossly incompetently, it's extremely unlikely that you'll succeed doing this.

Controversy - Grenfell and dangerous cladding

In the wake of the Grenfell tower disaster caused by extremely flammable cladding, some people in Help to Buy or Shared Ownership blocks where suspect cladding is a feature, looked either to staircase or sell their properties. Now in theory, if cladding on a building carries an enhanced risk of fire, it might be reasonable to assume that prices might have fallen and that therefore these people would have to pay less for their staircasing.

This is a developing matter, however, anecdotally we have found that not a few surveyors actually decline to offer a valuation in this situation for fear of stepping into an unresolved legal minefield.


    What is the next stage in the process?

The Memorandum of Staircasing stage is the next stage in the staircasing process. Once you've had your valuation returned, have instructed a solicitor and have made your application to staircase to your housing association (after clearing any arrears and paying the fee), they'll issue this memorandum, which, most importantly, lists what extra percentage share you're going to buy, how much it will cost you and what rent you'll then have to pay.

Staircasing? Need a RICS Valuation?

Our nationwide coverage of experienced RICS valuers and surveyors can help with this essential first step in the process.

* Compliant for All Housing Associations – Local RICS Survyeors – Same Week Availability - Terms Apply

Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

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