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Guide for homeowners and all homeowners services

This page provides a summary of services that are specifically for leaseholders where Southwark Council owns the freehold.

Advocacy Service update

The Advocacy Service is closing on 31 March 2024. Therefore, we won't be taking on any new investigations from 1 February 2024.

If you have any questions or a complaint, contact the relevant department or email complaints at complaints@southwark.gov.uk.

Alternatively, Citizens Advice Southwark provides free, confidential and impartial advice to clients who live, work or study in the Borough of Southwark. You can find out about Citizens Advice Southwark's specialist who advises on homeowners' issues. They also provide a telephone advice service Monday to Friday on 0344 499 4134.

Sales and acquisitions services

The sales and acquisitions team comprises the following three specialist teams.

Specialist Home Purchase Team

The team provides services to shared owners, leaseholders rehousing options and council tenants looking for financial help to buy a home.

Social Home Buy/Shared ownership

Shared ownership is an opportunity for a tenant to part buy and part rent a property usually in shares of 25%, 50% or 75%. Over time they can add further shares until they own 100% and become an outright leaseholder. Our role is to work with people interested in shared ownership and support them through the process. We also collect the rent and service charges for shared ownership customers.

Acquisitions team

The team supports leaseholders who live on estates and need to be rehoused because the estate is being redeveloped. Our officers provide support and guidance every step of the way, helping leaseholders decide what options are best for them. They're also able to help leaseholders with severe financial circumstances such as mortgage repossession, through our financial hardship buy back scheme. Based on a financial assessment, we can pay up to 40% of the valuation of your home to help you pay off all outstanding debts and then allow you to remain in your home as a secure tenant.

Home Purchase Grant Scheme

This grant is for council tenants who want to buy a property on the open market. We can help by providing financial assistance through a grant, which helps with the purchase. When you're ready to buy, you can give us back your council property.

Due to the popularity of the home purchase grant scheme and limited budget, we no longer accept new applications at present. We'll update this page when we're able to accept new applications.

Email us at specialist.homepurchase@southwark.gov.uk if you have any questions about the home purchase grant scheme.

Right to Buy services

This team helps our secure tenants to become homeowners. They deal with all applications under the Right to Buy scheme from start to finish - when an application is submitted through to dealing with solicitors until you've purchased your home.

To find more information on buying your home if you're a secure tenant, email righttobuyteam@southwark.gov.uk.

Residential Conveyancing and Compliance services

The team supports leaseholders and processes applications for:

  • lease extensions where a leaseholder needs to extend the terms of their lease
  • leaseholders interested in buying the freehold frames, so they become the owners/freeholders of the building their flats are situated in (often known as enfranchisement)
  • leaseholders or members of the public interested in buying an asset from the council, such as a loft space, empty laundry room or small piece of land
  • leaseholders who want to make changes to their flat that require our permission as the landlord; in this situation, you must contact us first as leaseholders often contact building control or planning and they get approval and go ahead with works (only to find out later that it's a breach of their lease and we have to ask them to change something back to its original condition)

We also provide a deed of covenants for freehold transfers and specialist conveyancing advice to both leaseholders and internal services.

To find out more information, email hsg.conveyancing@southwark.gov.uk.

Page last updated: 10 April 2024

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