Share to Buy Expert Sessions: Your questions about eligibility
Shared Ownership Eligibility
What is the eligibility criteria for Shared Ownership?arrow_downward
The general eligibility criteria for Shared Ownership is as follows:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- Outside of London your annual household income must be less than £80,000.
- In London, your annual household income must be less than £90,000.
- You cannot own another home. Shared Ownership purchasers are often first time buyers but if you do already own another property (either in the UK or abroad), you must be in the process of selling it.
- You should not be able to afford to buy a home suitable for your housing needs on the open market.
- You must show you are not in mortgage or rent arrears.
- You must be able to demonstrate that you have a good credit history and can afford the regular payments and costs involved in buying a home.
Is Shared Ownership only for first time buyers?arrow_downward
No! While Shared Ownership is aimed at helping first time buyers onto the property ladder, it’s actually available to any eligible purchasers including second steppers, upsizers and downsizers.
I'm a first time buyer but my partner isn't. Will this affect our eligibility for a Shared Ownership home?arrow_downward
Response from L&Q – If you’re buying a home together and have no other property in either of your names, there shouldn’t be any issue for applying for a Shared Ownership home as long as you meet the relevant eligibility criteria.
Will I be eligible for a Shared Ownership home if my income is just over the maximum threshold?arrow_downward
Response from L&Q – It will depend on a case by case assessment. If you speak to a member of staff, we’ll be able to assess the situation and confirm whether we can proceed with the Shared Ownership home application.
I used to own a Shared Ownership home but sold it. Am I still eligible to buy through the scheme?arrow_downward
Yes – while Shared Ownership is aimed at helping first time buyers, it’s also open to those who used to own a home. As long as you still fit all of the relevant eligibility criteria and can afford the home you want to buy, you can still apply for Shared Ownership homes. Find out more about Shared Ownership eligibility here.
I'm selling my current home but the process could take up to six months. Will I be able to apply for Shared Ownership before the sale has completed?arrow_downward
Yes, as long as your current property is on the market or sold by the time you come to purchase then you can buy a home through Shared Ownership.
Can I buy through Shared Ownership if I already own a property abroad?arrow_downward
Response from Southern Home Ownership – No. If you already own a property, abroad or in the UK, you’ll need to sell this before you exchange contracts on a Shared Ownership home.
Am I eligible for Shared Ownership if I own land elsewhere in the country, but there's no property on that land?arrow_downward
Response from L&Q – The Shared Ownership scheme is designed for those that cannot afford to own a property by any other means – it would therefore depend on the nature of the land and its use. We would refer the situation to Homes England for advice on eligibility.
Is there an age limit to buy?arrow_downward
You must be at least 18 years old to be eligible to get a mortgage and buy a home.
I'm over 55 - does that mean I am too old for Shared Ownership?arrow_downward
Eligible purchasers over the age of 55 can get help from another scheme called Older Persons Shared Ownership. It works in the same way as the general Shared Ownership scheme, but you can only buy up to 75% of your home. Once you own 75% you won’t have to pay rent on the remaining share.
Can I buy as a single person?arrow_downward
Yes – as long as you are eligible for the Shared Ownership scheme and can afford the property you’re looking to buy, you can purchase as a single buyer.
Can I buy a home with friends?arrow_downward
Yes! There is no requirement for joint purchasers of a property to be family members or in a relationship.
Can I buy a home with strangers?arrow_downward
There is no requirement that joint purchasers of a property are either family members or in a relationship.
However, apart from any personal considerations, it would be sensible to have a robust legal agreement drawn up by your solicitor, covering such points as what happens if one of you is unable to maintain the financial contributions or wishes to leave the arrangement. Your solicitor will no doubt be able to advise in more detail.
Remember that with a joint mortgage you are “jointly and severally liable” which means that if one cannot or will not pay, the other is legally liable for the whole amount.
Can I buy a home with Shared Ownership if I am self employed?arrow_downward
As long as you can show at least three years of self-employed accounts, and providing your income is sufficient, you should be able to obtain a mortgage. If your income varies from year to year, you should seek independent financial advice about suitable mortgages and about managing the ongoing costs of home ownership.
I'm on a fixed term contract - will this affect my financial check?arrow_downward
Response from Censeo Financial – It will not affect your financial check, but may reduce the number of lenders that you can access for your mortgage. It would depend on how many contracts you have had, whether they have been renewed and what industry you are in. We would recommend you speak with a financial advisor who will be able to provide guidance on this.
Are key workers prioritised for Shared Ownership homes?arrow_downward
Only members of the military will be given priority for Shared Ownership homes. However, housing associations may offer key worker prioritisation on specific homes/developments.
Would having a County Court Judgement (CCJ) affect a mortgage application?arrow_downward
Response from Censeo Financial – It would not mean you were necessarily declined by all lenders, but it is likely that you’ll be required to pay a higher rate of interest.
Do I need to be a UK citizen or indefinite leave holder to be able to buy a property?arrow_downward
If you are able to demonstrate that you can get a mortgage and maintain the payments, you may be able to buy through Shared Ownership. You will have to undergo a financial assessment with a financial advisor who is working with the housing association you’d like to buy through. Some lenders will allow EU/EEA residents to have a minimum two years UK address history, while non EU/EEA citizen will often require a full three year UK address history.
I've lived in the UK for 11 years but do not have indefinite leave to remain yet. I feel like this is a barrier when trying to buy a Shared Ownership property - is that the case?arrow_downward
Response from JLL – Whether or not an individual has indefinite leave shouldn’t prevent you from accessing Shared Ownership, provided that you fulfil the usual applicant requirements. If an applicant can demonstrate their ability to sustain their home ownership obligations then there is no reason they can not purchase using the scheme.
I’m on a limited time visa of five years, with four years remaining. I want to buy Shared Ownership but I’m not sure if I am going to be living in the UK in the future - does it make sense for me to buy in Shared Ownership?arrow_downward
Response from Clarion Housing – It depends on what your plans are, you may not wish to pay rent for the remaining four years so a Shared Ownership property may work out as a good short term investment if the property goes up in value over time. You’d need to weigh up the costs associated to see if it provides you with value/benefit.
Will there be any changes for European citizens with Brexit?arrow_downward
There are no changes for existing resident European citizens. The rules for those who settle in the future may change.
Would an existing medical condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure affect my application?arrow_downward
Response from L&Q – An applicant’s health and well-being is not taken into consideration when applying for a Shared Ownership home. We consider your financial status and we will find a home that is suitable for your needs.
If I live in in one area, can I buy in another? For example, if I'm currently in London but want to move to Northampton?arrow_downward
Shared Ownership allows you to move to a different area. However, you will need to check if the local authority you wish to move to has its own rules regarding prioritising local people before you proceed.
Can I buy a bigger home than what my family needs?arrow_downward
There is no longer a restriction on the number of bedrooms within the property you wish to buy. Previously Shared Ownership purchasers were eligible to apply for properties with up to one extra bedroom than the household size required. Now, as long as you can afford it, you can apply for properties with as many bedrooms as you wish. You can start your search for a home on Share to Buy’s property portal.
I've seen in eligibility criteria that I need to be unable to buy a suitable home on the open market. What exactly does that mean?arrow_downward
Response from Southern Home Ownership – If you can afford to buy a home outright that meets your needs in the area you wish to live, rather than just a share of a home, then you won’t be eligible for Shared Ownership.
If I buy a Shared Ownership home, will I lose my first time buyer status in the future? For example, if I wanted to go on and buy a Help to Buy property?arrow_downward
Response from L&Q – You would no longer be considered as a first time buyer as you have purchased your first home through Shared Ownership. You would however be able to purchase a home through the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme but only if you had a written offer confirming a sale agreed on your existing property.
It’s also worth remembering the new Help to Buy rules coming in from April 2021 around the Help to Buy Equity Loan. From this time, the scheme will only be available to first time buyers so if you were to go ahead with the equity loan, you would need to have moved into your new home by April 2021.