What is Shared Ownership?
Shared ownership is a cross between buying and renting a home. You buy a percentage of a property (usually between 25% and 75%) and then you pay rent on the un-owned share to the Housing Association.
You have the opportunity to buy further shares in the property if you wish during your ownership – this is known as staircasing. You can also staircase downwards and sell part of your share back to the Housing Association if you need to.
All shared ownership properties are leasehold, even houses. If you staircase to 100% and you own a house, the Housing Association will usually transfer the freehold to you. Flats will always remain leasehold.
Who can Buy?
You can buy a home through the shared ownership scheme if:
- You are an existing shared ownership owner;
- If you used to own a home but can no longer afford to do so;
- If the total income of your household is less than £80,000.
- Disabled people can apply for a scheme called HOLD – home ownership for long term disability. If you apply through this scheme you can buy up to 25% of the property although disabled people are not restricted to this and can also apply through the general scheme and own up to 75%.
- If you are aged 55 or over, you can buy through the OPSO scheme – older people’s shared ownership. Once you own 75% of your home through this scheme, you don’t pay rent on the un-owned 25% share.
Selling your Home
You will need to give the Housing Association first refusal unless you have staircased to 100% where you can sell freely on the open market.
How to Apply
Please get in touch with your local Help to Buy Agent – here in Dorset/Hampshire/Wiltshire it’s Help to Buy South who can be contacted on 0800 456 1188 or via their website www.helptobuysouth.co.uk