Am I Eligible For Shared Ownership?

Find out whether you're eligible for the Shared Ownership scheme

Firstly, are you looking to purchase a shared ownership / shared equity property?

Home Shared Ownership Am I Eligible For Shared Ownership?
Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: April 29, 2024

The Shared Ownership scheme is a useful way to get onto the property ladder if you’re struggling to buy a home. However, certain eligibility criteria need to be met for you to be considered for this scheme.

Understanding the eligibility criteria is important if you’re thinking of taking advantage of this scheme. It can be a good option if you have a small deposit and can be an excellent stepping stone between renting and owning a home outright.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or someone looking to re-enter the housing market, we’ll guide you through the requirements and what to expect when getting a Shared Ownership mortgage.

What is Shared Ownership?

Shared Ownership is a housing scheme primarily aimed at first-time buyers who may be unable to purchase a home outright. It allows you to buy a share of a property (usually between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remaining share, which a housing association owns.

Over time, you can buy more shares in your home in a process known as ‘staircasing,’ potentially owning it outright. The scheme makes homeownership more accessible as it requires a smaller deposit and lower upfront costs compared to buying a home outright.

You can get a Shared Ownership on new builds, existing properties and flats. It’s important to note that all Shared Ownership properties are leasehold, even houses.

Am I eligible?

Shared Ownership isn’t available to everyone with certain criteria applying. To be able to lodge an application, you need to meet both of the following criteria:

  • You have a household income of £80,000 or less (£90,000 in London)
  • You’re unable to meet all the deposit and mortgage payments for a home that meets your needs

If you meet these two points, you also need to meet one of the following criteria:

  • You’re a first-time buyer
  • You previously owned a home but can’t afford to now
  • You’re a shared owner who’s looking to move
  • You’re establishing a new household, after splitting up with a partner, for example
  • You own a home and are looking to move but can’t afford to buy a new home that meets your needs

Certain eligibility criteria will depend on the local housing association you’re applying to. For instance, you might need to show that you live or work in the area you’re looking to buy in. To see if you’re eligible for the scheme, take this quiz.

There are different rules if you live in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. So it’s worth looking at the specific rules and how they differ from those in England before you apply.

Who else can apply?

If you don’t meet the above criteria, there are other schemes you can apply to instead. Some of these are listed below:

If you own a home

If you currently own another property you will need to sell on or before the date you complete the purchase of your Shared Ownership home. To evidence this you must have:

  • Formally accepted an offer to sell your current property. This is known as ‘sold subject to contract’ or ‘STC.
  • Have written confirmation of the sale, known as a Memorandum of Sale, which includes your intention to sell and the price.

Older people

If you’re over 55, you can buy up to a 75% share of a house through the Older Persons Shared Ownership scheme. You won’t have to pay rent on the remaining 25% once you own 75% of the property.

Disabled people

If you have a long-term disability, you can apply for the Home Ownership for People With Long-Term Disabilities (HOLD). This is a good idea if other schemes don’t meet your needs, for example, if you need a ground-floor home.

Am I eligible for Shared Ownership if I’m self-employed?

Yes, you’re eligible for Shared Ownership if you’re self-employed. However, lenders will need to see a good track record of earnings in the region of 2 to 3 years. It will be difficult to find lenders who consider Shared Ownership and self-employment.

That’s why it’s a good idea to speak to a mortgage broker who specialises in this area, as they can guide you through the process.

Can you get a Shared Ownership mortgage with bad credit?

Yes, you can get a Shared Ownership mortgage with bad credit but it will depend on your circumstances. If you have late payments or no credit history, this is unlikely to result in your application being denied. However, if you have a bankruptcy or repossession on your credit history, this will most likely result in your application being denied.

The above will depend on your local housing association and its specific criteria. But you can contact a broker specialising in this field who will be able to find the best solutions for your specific case.

Is Shared Ownership a good idea?

Shared Ownership is a good option if you can’t afford to buy a home outright, as it requires a smaller deposit and reduces initial costs by allowing buyers to purchase a portion of the property and pay rent on the remainder.

Shared Ownership offers the flexibility to increase ownership over time through staircasing and lower monthly payments initially. However, there are limitations such as restricted choice of properties, responsibility for full maintenance despite partial ownership, potential complexities in selling, and possible rent increases linked to inflation.

It’s important to consider the pros and cons of shared ownership and whether it aligns with your financial situation and housing needs before you make a decision.

How a mortgage broker can help

Whatever your circumstances, if you think Shared Ownership is the right decision for you, your best bet is to speak to a broker to understand your borrowing options and how much a mortgage is likely to cost.

By using our free broker-matching service, you can find a mortgage advisor who is the right fit for you. We can quickly assess your needs, circumstances and match that information with a broker who has a strong track record securing Shared Ownership mortgages for people just like you.

With our broker matching service, we’ll assess your circumstances and match you with a broker who has a comprehensive understanding of this market and which lender is right for you. To get matched with your ideal broker, call 0808 189 2301 or enquire online.

Find out the best rates you can get for a Shared Ownership mortgage today

About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for Online Mortgage Advisor of course!

Read more about Pete

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

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