• Cheryl Spittle

What is the shared ownership scheme?

Shared ownership is a government-backed scheme that allows people to buy a share of a property. You will normally own between 25% and 75% of the property, however on some homes it could be as little as 10%.

The remaining share will be owned by a landlord, and you will pay rent on that share.

Over 55’s

If you’re aged 55 or over at the time of buying the home, you can buy up to a 75% share through the Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO) scheme. Once you own 75%, you will not pay rent on the rest.


To qualify to buy a home through shared ownership, both of the following must be true:

  • Your gross household income is £80,000 a year or less (£90,000 a year or less in London)
  • You cannot afford all 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; or
  • You used to own a home but cannot afford to buy one now; or
  • You’re forming a new household – for example, after a relationship breakdown; or
  • You’re an existing shared owner, and you want to move; or
  • You own a home and want to move but cannot afford a new home that meets your needs.

 Eligible properties

  • A new-build home.
  • An existing home through a shared ownership resale scheme.
  • A home that meets your specific needs, if you have a long-term disability – for example, a ground floor flat.

 Where to find a property

There are several places where you can search for shared ownership homes for sale, including:

  • Housing Associations
  • Local Councils
  • Home Builders
  • Property Listing websites  

Rental Payment – How it works

The amount of rent you pay will be based on the landlord’s share. If you buy more shares, you’ll pay less rent.

If you buy a new-build shared ownership home, the rent limit is 3% of the value of the share the landlord owns. Most landlords charge 2.75%.

If you buy a resale property, the rent will be set at the same level as what the previous shared owner was paying.

The landlord will periodically review your rent, usually annually, however this will be set out in your lease.

The lease will also detail how much your landlord can increase your rent by. It will be either:

  • the Retail Prices Index (RPI) plus up to 0.5%
  • the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) plus 1%


Check you are eligible to purchase a property through the shared ownership scheme

Find a suitable shared ownership property

Ensure you have sufficient funds to cover associated cost of purchase, these include;

  • Solicitor fees
  • Reservation fee
  • Stamp duty
  • Removals

Complete a budget plan to ensure affordability, taking in to account:

  • Mortgage repayments
  • Rent
  • Any Service charge, management fee, repair reserve funds, estate costs etc (this should all be detailed in your rental agreement)
  • All essential living expenses, such as utilities and council Tax

Request a copy of the “Key Information Document” from the Landlord as this will provide all information around rent, other costs, and terms.

Ensure your affordability budget is future proof by taking into account any potential increase in rent or other items detailed on rental agreement or a change in circumstances.

Obtain an Agreement in Principle from your mortgage provider to ensure you are able to obtain the required mortgage to purchase the property.

Reserve your home with relevant organisation.

Complete a full mortgage application and instruct your conveyancer to carry out relevant legal work.

Buying more shares

Once you own a share of the property you will be able to buy more shares in your home. This is known as ‘staircasing’. The bigger share of the property you own the less you’ll pay in rent.

You can usually buy shares of 10% or more at any time. Some older leases only allow you to buy shares of 25% or more. Some newer leases will allow you to buy shares of 5% or more.

If you bought your home on or after 1 April 2021, you may also be able to buy shares of 1% each year for the first 15 years.

Mortgages on a shared ownership property

A mortgage on a shared ownership property works much the same as a standard mortgage, you will still require a minimum of between 5% – 10% personal deposit of the share you are purchasing. Rental payments will also be taken into account for mortgage affordability.

Buying additional share with a mortgage

To help you purchase additional shares in your property you could either remortgage or request a further advance from your existing mortgage lender

Renting part of the property

You can normally rent out (sublet) a room in the home, but you must live there at the same time.


You can sell your shared ownership home at any time.

If you do not own 100% of your property at the time you wish to sell, you are only able to sell your share to someone wanting to purchase under the shared ownership scheme.

You must tell your landlord when you want to sell your home. Your landlord will then have a period to try and find a buyer before you are then able to sell your share yourself on the open market.

A valuation on the property will be required to establish the current market value of your share.

The valuation will need to be carried out by a surveyor who is registered with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

You are responsible for seeking legal advice when you sell your home. You’ll need to pay your legal fees.

Shared Ownership Scheme FAQ

1. What is a Shared Ownership Scheme?

Shared Ownership is a government-backed initiative designed to help people get onto the property ladder who may otherwise struggle to afford it. It allows individuals to part-buy and part-rent their home, typically purchasing a share (usually between 25% to 75%) of the property’s value and paying rent on the remaining share to a housing association or a private developer.

2. How does Shared Ownership work?

You purchase a share of a property (usually through a mortgage or savings) and pay a reduced rent on the remaining share owned by a housing association or developer. Over time, you have the option to increase your share through a process called ‘staircasing’, gradually owning more of the property until you own it outright.

3. Who is eligible for Shared Ownership?

Eligibility criteria can vary, but generally, Shared Ownership is available to first-time buyers, those who used to own a home but can’t afford one now, and households with a combined income of £80,000 or less outside London, or £90,000 or less in London.

4. What types of properties are available through Shared Ownership?

Shared Ownership properties can include new-build homes as well as existing properties being sold by housing associations or developers. They can range from apartments to houses, depending on what’s available in your area.

5. How do I apply for Shared Ownership?

You can usually find Shared Ownership properties through housing associations, developers, or property websites. You’ll need to register with the Help to Buy agent in your area and complete an application form. If you’re eligible, you’ll be placed on a waiting list and contacted when suitable properties become available.

6. What are the costs associated with Shared Ownership?

Costs include a mortgage for the share you’re buying, rent on the share you don’t own (which is usually below the market rate), and other expenses such as service charges, ground rent, and maintenance fees. You’ll also need to consider legal fees, valuation fees, and potentially stamp duty.

7. Can I sell my Shared Ownership property?

Yes, you can sell your share at any time. If you own 100% of the property, you can sell it on the open market. If you still own a share, the housing association or developer has the right to find a buyer for your share before it’s sold on the open market.

8. What is staircasing and how does it work?

Staircasing allows you to increase your share of the property over time, eventually owning it outright. You can usually buy additional shares in increments of 10% or more, with the price based on the current market value of the property.

9. What are the pros and cons of Shared Ownership?


* It can make homeownership more affordable, particularly for first-time buyers.
* You can increase your share over time as your financial situation improves.
* Shared Ownership properties are often new-build or refurbished, so they may initially require less maintenance*


* You’ll still need a deposit and mortgage for the share you’re buying.
* You may be limited in your choice of properties and locations.
* Ongoing costs such as rent and service charges can add up.
* You may find it harder to sell the property if you haven’t increased your share to 100%.

10. Where can I find more information about Shared Ownership?

You can visit the government’s Help to Buy website, contact your local Help to Buy agent, or speak to housing associations and developers in your area for more information. Or the selling process.

Approved by In Partnership FRN 192638 April 2024

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