As specialist family law solicitors, we often see people whose relationship or marriage has broken down.

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted on Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

As specialist family law solicitors, we often see people whose relationship or marriage has broken down. They jointly own a property with their spouse or partner and neither person can afford to stay in the house. There may be very little equity in the property too. Clients in this position are often not eligible to be housed by their local council and they may think that their only option is to go into privately rented accommodation.

However, there may be another option available to them.

The shared ownership scheme set up by the government via various Housing Associations is designed to assist people who cannot afford to buy a property on the open market.

The scheme enables you to buy a share in a property – for example you may buy 50% of the property. The remaining 50% would be rented from the Housing Association.

You would then have a combined monthly payment of a mortgage for the part of the property that you own and the rent for the part owned by the Housing Association.  The combined payments are usually lower than renting in the private housing sector or if you had bought 100% of the property.

To buy a share in a shared ownership property you only need to fit the following criteria

  • Your annual household income can be no more than £60,000.
  • You should be unable to purchase a home suitable for your needs without assistance.
  • You cannot be a current home owner (or be named on the deeds of another property).
  • You must not have any outstanding credit issues (i.e. unsatisfied defaults or county court judgments).

It is fine to have previously owned and sold a property. Your application is based on your currenthousing situation so if your relationship or marriage has broken down and your family home has been sold, you would still be eligible.

Under the rules of the scheme you are able to buy a share in a property which has one more bedroom that your needs – for example if you have one child then you could buy up to a three bedroom property.  You only need a 5 – 10 % deposit which is much less than you would need if you were buying a house on the open market.

Over time if your financial situation improves then you can purchase an additional share in the property up to 100%.  Sometimes it is also possible to sell some of your share back to the Housing Association.

There are more than 20 mortgage lenders who offer mortgages for shared ownership properties.  For more information, go to www.helptobuy.org.uk

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