Shared Ownership

An affordable home ownership scheme to get on the property ladder.

Shared ownership is an affordable home ownership scheme which makes it easier for first time buyers to get on the property ladder. The properties are leasehold and are generally offered by councils or housing associations.

With shared ownership, you buy shares in a property – usually at 25% intervals - and pay a reduced rent on the remaining share. You can purchase a greater share at any later point until you acquire 100%. This is called “staircasing”.

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The schemes are aimed at people who do not earn enough to buy a home outright.

Homes through shared ownership if both of the following apply:

  • your household earns £80,000 a year or less (£90,000 a year or less in London)
  • you cannot afford all of the deposit and mortgage payments for a home that meets your needs

One of the following must also be true:

  • you’re a first-time buyer
  • you used to own a home, but cannot afford to buy one now
  • you own a home and want to move but cannot afford a new home suitable for your needs
  • you’re forming a new household - for example, after a relationship breakdown
  • you’re an existing shared owner and want to move

Some shared ownership homes in a ‘designated protected area’ are only available to buy if you have a connection to the area. If you buy one of these homes, you:

  • may only be able to buy a share of up to 80%
  • must sell it back to the landlord or a buyer nominated by the landlord - you cannot sell your home on the open market

If you own a share of your home, the landlord has the right to find a buyer for your home. The landlord also has the right to buy it first (known as ‘first option to buy’ or ‘pre-emption’).

You can sell your share yourself if the landlord does not find a buyer and they do not want to buy it themselves.

If you own 100% of your home, you can sell it yourself.

To buy a shared ownership home, you need to register with the Help to Buy agent in the area where you want to live.

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Svetlana joined Mullis & Peake LLP in 2015 and works in the residential property team

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