What are the eligibility criteria for Shared Ownership?
In order to qualify for a Shared Ownership scheme, you must fulfil certain criteria:
- Be a first-time buyer. You may also qualify if you have owned a home in the past but have sold it and cannot afford to buy another one on the open market. If you own a home that is unsuitable for your needs, you will have to provide written evidence from your council of its unsuitability. If you own a property abroad, you will have to sell it I order to qualify.
- Be a UK or European citizen. You may also qualify if you have indefinite leave to remain, or can demonstrate an entitlement to access public funds.
- Have a limited household income. If you wish to buy outside London, your household income should not exceed £80,000. If you wish to buy within London, the maximum figure rises to £90,000.
- Have a good credit history. This is essential, as housing providers want proof that you can meet your financial obligations and pay both the mortgage and rental portions of Shared Ownership. You must not have any County Court Judgements (CCJs) or other defaults on loans. You will be deemed ineligible if you have been declared bankrupt during the last six years, or have had a property repossessed in the last five years.
- Be able to satisfy affordability criteria. Your lender and Help to Buy agent will look at your ability to meet payments.
- Self-employment. If you are self-employed, you must be able to provide fully audited accounts for two years, as well as an estimate for the current year or copies of your tax returns for the last three years.
- Priority groups. Certain groups will be prioritised for Shared Ownership. These categories are determined by local councils, but usually include members of the armed forces and tenants currently in social housing.
- Over 55s. If you are over 55, you can apply for the Older Person's Shared Ownership scheme. Under this scheme, you can purchase up to 75% of the property, and once you reach 75% you will not be required to pay rent on the remaining 25%.