Owner occupiers

A number of campus properties are privately owned by the occupier. As with most privately owned properties, the owner is entirely responsible for the property. However, utilities are managed differently to most privately owned properties.

University of Keele Staff Housing Association Ltd (UKSHA)

Springpool is a private housing area on approx 3.5 acres of land bought from the University and consists of 22 houses from 3 to 5 beds. These houses are available to purchase by University staff members and others (as approved by University Council).

The Secretary of the Association is Gavin Bailey. Email: secretary@springpool.org.uk
The Chair of the Association is Richard Wallace. Email: chair@springpool.org.uk

Houses for sale in Springpool are advertised on the University's e-noticeboards. If you are interested in buying a house, please contact the Secretary for further information.

The University is responsible for the mains supply of gas and electricity up to and including the meter and water supply up to the point where the supply crosses the boundary of the property. Owner occupiers are responsible for all aspects of gas, electrical and water services thereafter.

Meter readings

Electricity and Gas Meter readings are taken on the completion date of the property by the purchaser (if access is difficult, contact Estates for assistance) - these initial readings should be sent to the University Finance Office - Income section. Don’t forget to keep a copy.

Thereafter, on a monthly basis by the individual owners or by the Estates section of the University dependant on the accessibility of the meters.

The University strongly encourages the payment of all University supplied Utilities by salary mandate wherever possible. Payment can be made by exception direct to the Finance Department of the University.

Water charges

Water charges are raised quarterly in arrears assessed on the rateable value of the property or by water meter if fitted.

The University strongly encourages the payment of all University supplied Utilities by salary mandate where possible.

A number of campus properties are owned by the occupier under three schemes.  Each scheme contains different restrictive covenants which determine the ‘discount’ from ‘market value’. This is calculated on a formulaic basis as per the example below:

Property X

Market Value  £100,000
1998 scheme (market value minus 5%) £95,000
1991 scheme (market value minus 10%) £90,000
1989 scheme (market value minus 33%) £66,670

The Market Value is determined by an independent valuer appointed by the University. The formula determines the resulting valuations for the three sales schemes. The formula is used to determine the price at both the time of sale and subsequent ‘buy-back’ by the University and wherever possible the same valuer is used for consistency and fair play when determining the market value.

Guidelines for the sale of campus housing

The purchase of Campus Accommodation for non-resident qualifying persons is available through three schemes as approved by Council.  Under all schemes, the properties are sold on a freehold basis.  In each there are covenants covering such matters as extensions, alterations, parking, tree preservation etc., which are in line with those normally found in local residential estates.

1989 Scheme

This scheme requires occupation at all times by a member of staff with a minimum three year contract.  No lettings permitted. 

If a member of staff leaves University service for any reason, the property must either be sold on to another qualifying member of staff, or be sold back to the University at a price determined by an independent valuation.  Therefore, following for instance, resignation, redundancy or retirement of the qualifying member of staff, the property must be sold back to the University to coincide with the last day of University service of the qualifying member of staff.  (However, two years grace is allowed for remaining spouse for completion of re-sale following death of member of staff in service).

To ensure compliance with restrictions, the Transfer contains an option as such, which therefore runs with the land.

1991 Scheme

Permits occupation :

a)      by member of staff with a minimum three year contract during whole period of retirement

b)      by member of staff for period two years after leaving service for any reason other   than retirement. Therefore following, for instance, resignation, member of staff may remain for this period.

c)      by spouse of member of staff for the life of such spouse following death or retirement only of member of staff. Therefore spouse could not remain after, e.g. resignation of member of staff (but member of staff and spouse would have two years grace as in (b)

To secure compliance with restrictions, the Transfer contains a right of pre-emption (not an option).  Such a right is personal only and does not therefore run with the land, the University relying on the contractual relationship and the covenants in the Transfer.

Specifically permits lettings (on a shorthold basis).

All three Schemes - Difference between “occupied” and “vacant” properties.

VACANT - If the property being purchased is one for which the University has invited offers from members of staff in competition (a “vacant” property), the Transfer contains provisions which may permit the member of staff to sell to another eligible member of staff, subject to University approval.  When an owner, who has bought a ‘vacant property’ wishes to sell privately, properties may be sold on (with University approval and after first having offered the University its right of pre-emption) to another qualifying person subject to the provisions of the original transfer deed (i.e. purchased under same scheme). 

OCCUPIED:-  Where the property is purchased by the existing occupier following negotiation between the occupier and the University, (an “occupied” property), sale on to another member of staff is not permitted, and therefore in such a transfer the provisions in the last mentioned paragraph are omitted.  

The property can only be sold back to the University at a price determined by an independent valuation and the owner must ‘require’ the University to re-purchase.

1989 and 1991 scheme -*- flat ‘owners’ only

A service charge of 1% of the initial purchase figure is charged annually to contribute to cleaning in communal areas and maintenance of the blocks. A ground rent of £1 is also charged annually.

1998 Scheme

This scheme is only available for purchase of houses built by Seddon Homes Ltd at the Plantation Park. The 1998 scheme is entirely similar to the 1991 scheme save that purchasers, who must be members of University staff, are not required to have a contract of employment with a minimum three years length stipulation.

Owner occupiers who purchased with vacant possession have three options;

A  Offer to the University the opportunity to exercise its ‘right of pre-emption’

B  After offering the University the opportunity to exercise its right of pre-emption, to sell      privately to another eligible member of staff – it is essential that the University is offered its ‘right of pre-emption’ under this option

C ‘Require’ the University to buy-back the property under the agreed terms of the Transfer

Option A   

In offering the University its right of pre-emption you are effectively asking the University if it would like to repurchase your property. In some cases the University may choose to take up this offer, although it does not have to, but if it does the buy-back procedure is as follows:

University provides a valuation at its expense, and for fairness and consistency, expects to use the same valuer used at the initial point of sale and the same valuation formula used at the initial point of sale. The valuation relevant to the scheme is then presented to the owner as the buy-back figure. Assuming the valuation is accepted the process is then in the hands of the solicitors acting for both the University and the property owner, and completion can usually be arranged at a date to suit the property owner/outgoing member of staff.

Should the valuation presented to the owner not be acceptable a second valuation can be obtained for the purposes of arbitration. Such a second valuer must be duly qualified, independent of the parties and being a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in England and Wales, and his appointment should be agreed by the University. Such second valuer is required to prepare a market valuation only, to which the formula applicable to the specific property will be applied in conjunction with the University to determine the comparable valuation. The final buy-back price is the arithmetical mean of the valuation provided by the University’s valuer and that made by the second valuer, such second valuer appointed and paid for by the owner.

The buy-back then proceeds as described above through the appropriate solicitors.

Option B

When selling privately owners must first offer the University the right to exercise its right of pre-emption. This must be done in writing but expressing a wish to sell privately. Assuming the University does not wish to exercise its right of pre-emption a letter will be sent to the owner effectively giving permission for a private sale to another eligible member of staff (such permission remaining valid for a period of three months), together with other procedural information and guidance. The University cannot provide a valuation to aid this process but does keep a record of all ‘for sale’ prices of properties offered for sale by the University on the Staff Housing web page to give some guidance on valuation. This web site is also visible to incoming members of staff who should also be seeking similar information.

If a private buyer is found the matter proceeds through solicitors acting for the owner, the buyer and also the University. If a private buyer is not found the owner can opt to remove the property from the market and continue to occupy it (assuming they themselves are still eligible members of staff), or ‘require’ the University to buy-back the property.

Option C

An owner on the 1989, 1991 or 1998 scheme has the right to ‘require’ the University to buy-back their property at any time. In such cases the buy-back procedure is broadly as follows:

The University provides a valuation at its expense, and for fairness and consistency, expects to use the same valuer used at the initial point of sale and the same valuation formula used at the initial point of sale. The valuation relevant to the scheme under which the property was originally purchased is then presented the owner as the buy-back figure. Owners requiring the University to buy-back, who may not be satisfied with the valuation figure, do not have the right to appoint a second valuer for the purposes of arbitration. From this point on solicitors acting for both the University and the property owner, process the buy-back through to completion and the final transaction completion can usually be arranged at a date to suit the property owner/outgoing staff member.

An owner who purchased as a sitting tenant on the 1989, 1991 or 1998 scheme has the right to ‘require’ the University to buy-back their property at any time. In such cases the buy-back procedure is as follows:

The University provides a valuation at its expense, and for fairness and consistency, expects to use the same valuer used at the initial point of sale and the same valuation formula used at the initial point of sale. The valuation relevant to the scheme under which the property was originally purchased is then presented the owner as the buy-back figure. Owners requiring the University to buy-back, who may not be satisfied with the valuation figure, do not have the right to appoint a second valuer for the purposes of arbitration. From this point on solicitors acting for both the University and the property owner, process the buy-back through to completion and the final transaction completion can usually be arranged at a date to suit the property owner/outgoing staff member.

HIPS (Home Information Packs)

As staff housing properties on campus are not sold on the ‘open market’ a HIP is not required. Our legal advice on this matter at the current time is that because no public marketing of the property takes place that owners are not obliged to provide a HIP. Owners may wish to discuss the matter with their own legal advisers, but this is the view of the Keele solicitors.