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Shared Ownership: What to watch out for

Shared ownership is a great way to get a stake in a property when you can’t afford or can’t borrow enough to buy outright on the open market. There are however common complaints from people in shared ownership schemes. This guide points to the pitfalls you’ll want to avoid.

Shared Ownership and what to watch out for

What is shared ownership?

Shared ownership schemes allow buyers who meet the eligibility criteria to secure a mortgage to buy a stake (usually between 25% and 75%) in a property, while paying rent on the remaining share to the housing association or private developer that own the building. The rent you pay on the remaining share is charged at a discounted rate.

The properties are usually leasehold properties and you therefore have to pay a monthly service charge as well as contribute to major maintenance works.

With shared ownership, it is possible to buy more of the home by “staircasing” i.e. increasing your share. Shares can be bought in 10% increments, which will in turn reduce your rent.

Shared ownership schemes are provided by housing associations or private developers. The details, costs and restrictions involved vary by provider so research each one on its individual merits and read the small print of your lease.

The government is currently (2020) consulting on a standard approach to shared ownership and, we imagine, some changes to the way it is administered, so watch this space.

What are the downsides to shared ownership?

1. Maintenance charges

Hopefully the monthly mortgage repayments, plus rent will still make shared ownership far cheaper than buying a property outright. But don’t forget to add on maintenance charges and be prepared for possible increases in the future. As well as a general monthly service charge for caretaking and maintenance of communal areas, ask how you will be expected to pay for more significant works e.g. for roof maintenance.

Be aware that even though you own a share of the property, say 30%, you are responsible for paying the full maintenance and repair costs.

2. No renting allowed

There are also likely to be restrictions on whether you can rent the property out. In the great majority of cases, sub-letting is not allowed.

3. Buying up increased shares in your property can be expensive

When it comes to increasing the stake in your property  – or “staircasing” – it’s not just buying the share you need to worry about. There are other costs involved:

  • Valuation fee –  your housing provider will instruct a surveyor to confirm the current market value of the property.
  • Legal expenses – staircasing will involve changes to your existing lease which will require a solicitor
  • Stamp duty – if you’re not eligible for first-time buyers relief, there are two ways to pay. The first involves one-off payment in advance based on market value of the property and the second is by paying in stages. You will need to calculate the best option for you.
  • Mortgage fees – If you are applying to change lenders to buy your additional share or to access better interest rates you will need to pay the lenders valuation fee and a mortgage arrangement fee, plus any penalty your existing lender may charge for terminating your mortgage with them.

Check with your housing provider whether there are any restrictions when it comes to buying up a greater share in your property e.g. Will you be able to staircase to 100% outright ownership or is there an upper limit? Can you start staircasing immediately? What are the maximum number of times you can staircase? What’s the minimum share you can buy at any one time? You can find out more with our guide to staircasing your shared ownership home.

4. Restrictions on what you can do

Check for restrictions within your lease. You are likely to be required to ask the housing provider’s permission in writing before you make any structural alterations to your home. In some cases the lease will require you to ask permission for redecorating as well.

5. The risk of negative equity

Buying a new build property – whether through shared ownership or on the open market – is more likely to make sense if you expect to stay put for a number of years. This is because new-build properties include an extra premium on the sale price that, like a new car, depreciates as soon as you move in. If house prices fall, you may fall into negative equity and lose money if you try to move.

To avoid the risk of feeling trapped in the event of negative equity, be honest about the properties you are looking at. Is there enough storage? Are you expecting to start a family in the next few years? Does your furniture fit in the rooms?

6. Issues around selling your share when moving home

When you are ready to sell your shared ownership home, the process is not straightforward and can stall your progress on to the next rung of the property ladder. First of all, the housing provider is likely to have the right to buy back the property before it is marketed to anyone else (this is called “right of first refusal”), even in some cases if you have purchased 100% of the property through staircasing. This is so your property can be put to other people on the waiting list who are unable to buy on the open market.

After a period of time, if your housing provider fails to find a buyer you are free to market your share of the property yourself or using an estate agent. But you will need to find a buyer who fulfils the housing providers eligibility criteria for shared ownership. As not all banks provide shared ownership friendly mortgages, your pool of potential buyers may be reduced.

7. You don’t have greater protection under shared ownership

Just because this is a government backed scheme doesn’t mean you get any more protection.

  • Costs can spiral. Check you can afford increased maintenance charges
  • While rents start low, expect these to increase
  • It is your responsibility to keep up repayments on your mortgage loan
  • Be aware that as rent is paid on the part of the property not owned by you, the housing provider can take action to repossess the property for rent arrears in the County Court. We know of one case where after falling behind on her rent, one homeowner was evicted from her part-owned property and a court ruled she had no right to the £30,000 she had already paid for her share

Found a property you like? Research the housing provider on-line. See what customers say on forums. Are they satisfied? How well are they maintaining the property and at what cost?

What should I do before I apply?

  • Check the eligibility criteria of the housing provider for the property you like
  • Read and understand your lease and what restrictions it sets out
  • Price up the various costs, work out your monthly payments
  • Think about your long term plans and when you could afford to start staircasing
  • Check out our other unbiased guides on buying, selling and running your home, alongside money saving tips and join to access to our panel of housing experts ready to answer your questions, a legal advice line, fee-free mortgage advice and more

Leave a comment (107)* Required

  1. Edward CurtisEdward Curtis

    Shared “ownership” is a very misleading term because, as all properties are sold as Leasehold, you do not own anything, not even one brick, all you have actually bought is a Lease, which allows you, as a tenant, to occupy the property for the length of the Lease – you may only have a 20/25/30% share but, if you live in a flat, you will be responsible for paying 100% of the service charge, ground rent and buildings insurance – service charges are totally uncapped and unregulated and will increase every year by any amount – if you have ever afford to increase your share (very few tenants are ever able to), each time you do, you will have to pay a valuation fee and both sides legal costs.
    In my opinion, a more accurate, honest and truthful description for this would be – SHARED LEASEHOLD TENANCY -.
    Thank you for your time.

  2. David VasmerDavid Vasmer

    I am Councillor and one of my residents has shared ownership of a property whose garden has been badly affected by the roots of a nearby tree which is just within the boundary of a neighboring council-owned recreation area. The Council is refusing to take any action. Could my resident take legal action on the basis of lost value on his share of the property? He is particularly concerned about possible damage to the foundations of his property if the tree roots are not cut back. Thank you for any advice you can give.

  3. Charles Robert OxleyCharles Robert Oxley

    I am interested in shared ownership, but as a retired 70+ year old, it is unlikely that I will ever be able to staircase.
    I would probably purchase 75% of the property, and would appreciate any advice that you can give me in my situation.

  4. Denise SeudieuDenise Seudieu

    Such great information about shared ownership you have given me there. With low income I’m considering buying my 1st home on share ownership but the more I look into the variable charges that go along with it, I don’t know where to stand anymore. It appears affordable at 1st but in fact costly in the end. Which scheme to go for “Help to buy or Shared ownership”?
    Ta xx

  5. Michelle SeniorMichelle Senior

    I bought a house 50% shared ownership, definitely over valued and lied to by the seller, l thought Equity Housing new everything about the house, but now l realise they don’t. My Solicitor was useless and overall my advise is stay clear of shared ownership.
    This house is a money pit, l have had you fencing out up front and back , guttering replaced. New kitchen and floor installed, l have had to go back to brick work due to damp in 3 rooms, new boiler, cellar tanked, new floors, skirting, new doors in every room and even handrails at the moment l’ve spent another £5000 on a new bathroom.. l could go on but no one helps, listens and as far as paying extra for building insurance with Equity, waists of money.
    People stay away from Equity housing, I am trapped in a house l hate, in debt, in a area full of crime, rubbish being dumped on streets and £1000 spent due to damage to our cars .
    The thought of selling it is over whelming and knowing l have put value on this property and Equity will want all profit is pushing me over the edge.. Somedays overwhelmed with the area and knowing there is more work to be done like installation the floors are dropping m, gap between front door and floor and the stairs rotting lm completely pulling my hair out .

  6. BeaBea

    Affordable home ownership is a myth. The so called ‘owner’ may own 80% of the property but has the least say and has to live with many restrictions. No one would do this by choice. It’s the only way for people who cannot afford market prices to secure a roof over their head. It’s disgraceful that ‘owners’ who often own most of the property are subject to rigid restrictions by whoever owns the smaller share. It’s just a way to pass the cost of housing onto people who have no other choice but to ‘buy’ an affordable property. After years of looking after ‘their’ property the reward for the ‘owner’ is often negative equity. The councils/housing associations like to say they are providing a solution in a housing crisis. They are the winners.

  7. Frances-Mary PrattFrances-Mary Pratt

    Have people forgotten about the stake being slashed to 10 percent by the government? Housing Associations have a legal duty to conform to these rules (highlighted on the government website under shared ownership model overview). The system as it is puts the poorer people at an unfair disadvantage, the idea was to help people into the housing ladder, but that is not happening. As for leasehold, nobody would touch that with a bargepole, as it is so controversial. The housing associations and Homes England should not be allowed to get away with such underhand tactics to ‘sell’ properties with these restrictions and absurd rules. No one benefits accept the developers, the owners and the housing associations.

  8. Hannah ChoHannah Cho

    Could you please advise on buying a shared ownership flat?
    Recently, we found an ideal shared ownership flat and made an offer slightly higher than asking price, as the vendor said she is leaving the country and it’s effectively chain free. So we assumed that she will want to leave some of her stuff behind and we wanted to make a deal. Obviously we believed that the RICS valuation won’t be changed. But it turned out, the vendor managed to get another valuation report done just after we made an offer, reflecting the initial higher bid of ours(!) which resulted in higher RICS market value than the original.
    We were dumbfounded! Can this shared ownership flat RICS market value can be changed by a prospective buyer? We thought when it comes to selling & buying it, it’s fixed and you can only sell or buy the % you own the property. What is more, the housing association seems to be v easy about it, when we asked for a clarification. It’s very confusing , from all the information about Shared ownership policy we read clearly says the agreed price is no more than the RICS valuation. Isn’t it correct?

    Now the vendor has itemised all furniture with price for remaining , on top of the price we made an offer.

    I think the estate agent and the vendor are playing the scheme.

  9. AnnAnn

    40% Shared ownership appartment, first floor. We are in the process of selling and due to contamination found in the surrounding land(owned by the HA) we have been asked by our solicitors, selling our property, that we need to take out an indemnity … Is this the case?.. We don’t own the land, we are selling the first floor flat?.. Are we liable?, I was the first owner in the block when it was buildt who paid my indemnity?

  10. Amanda MittonAmanda Mitton

    We own part of our house through shared ownership and our Boundary wall in the Garden is falling over. We have been advised to go to our insurers but they will not cover the wall as they state the issue is due to poor workmanship. We have been advised to go to the NHBC as our home is less than 10 years old but they are stating the issue is not covered as its not building related. I am not able to determin if the housing association who still own part of the house are therefore also responsible for the costs of getting the wall to a point where it is safe. You would assume that all of the house is covered, including garden area and not just the building itself. If you are able to offer any guidance it would be very appreciated.

  11. David WebbDavid Webb

    I currently own a property to which is now on the market.
    I am having to move to London due to a change in work circumstances , am I eligible for the share to buy scheme ?

  12. KathyKathy

    I live in a SO property which is a block of 12 flats for leaseholders and is adjacent to social housing flats. Each year we receive a budget statement and it was only in last few years I have studied statement. There has been numerous mistakes made in Statements some which have been rectified (still numerous items that still require credits,). After numerous telephone calls and emails we finally lodged a Formal Complaint in September but have it received a resolution to problems. We have even emailed CEO and all the other Management but they have not even had the curtesy to acknowledge, so obviously no resolution.
    Please can you advise what we can do now.

  13. LinsLins

    In addition to my problem regarding shortlease on my SO property ‘managed’ by MVTH, I have to pay a service charge on top. They do not own the freehold of the building (it’s shared between 4 flats including mine and managed by our company). So what exactly am I paying for and can I challenge this? Please advise thx

  14. LinsLins

    I live in DIYSO property purchased in 2000. The HA owns the majority share and sold the property knowing that it had 80 years left on the lease. My conveyancing solicitor (recommended by One Stop Shared Ownership – now defunct) did not raise this as an issue at the time & now I am stuck in a short lease property which I will have to pay £££££ to request the HA to extend the headlease. There’s no one who can help me. Don’t do shared ownership. It is a CON! And the govt and HA’s know it. The

  15. brenda cabralbrenda cabral

    I would like to know more about your servies.thank you brenda

  16. Denis MacbethDenis Macbeth

    My wife and I live in a block consisting of 18 flats, ten of which are used for social housing with the remaining eight, one of which is ours, are for shared owners.
    W have been informed by our housing association that we will be liable for any necessary improvements due to new fire regulations on the entire block of eighteen flats. Is this correct or should they be only asking us to contribute to the shared only section of the property. When we first came here we were unaware that there were any social housing tenants in the building. The brochure only showed the shared ownership side of the building.

  17. EmmaEmma

    I am currently privately renting in Surbiton Surrey, and paying £750 pm (I have lived here for 18 years). However I am starting to slowly learn that it would be far cheaper to rent and save up for a bigger deposit then go shared ownership. Many are tailored towards couples with the huge monthly repayments of rent, and the cheaper Resales have a short lease.

    I am continuing to search – however why would I pay over a £1000 per month when I can pay a lot less in the time I can save for a deposit. Paying those high monthly fees mean I wouldn’t be able to save anything – and what I would get paid for my share when I sell is very questionable.

  18. liam hedleyliam hedley

    I’ve been looking at a house which states it is 100% ownership for 70% of the price. What would this mean for future selling? Would I be able to rent the property out?

  19. CecilyCecily

    Trying to purchase home contents insurance for my shared ownership flat. Can anyone advise on companies that provide this?

  20. Paul RobinsonPaul Robinson

    I purchased a 50% share in a 2 bed Mews Cottage 15yrs ago.
    We have had absolutely nothing from the Housing Assoc apart from annual rent increases.
    We now have discovered a problem with roof and have asked the Assoc to get involved and contribute financially, they have basically said ‘get stuffed, it’s your responsibility’
    Is there any recourse regarding this?

  21. AmeliahAmeliah

    Hello, we have moved into a new build with gym facilities etc, we have been told as shared ownership we cant access, what rights do we have? We cannot see anywhere in our agreement which says this, the whole reason we moved in was for these facilities and help with emotional well being and lifestyle

  22. LinLin

    Hi, my problem is a little different, my husband and I have bought a house with a third party so we each owna third share, we have paid for it outright. The third party has decided they don’t want to live here now. We cannot afford to buy them out.But we are committed to and have improved the property, I,e new drive, new bathroom etc, should the third party be contributing to these improvements to the property, we have not asked for any costs up to now for anything

  23. Liam CutbushLiam Cutbush

    Hi , my partner and I would like to either sell our 50% ownership of a shared home ( flat ) or buy the remaining 50% . However the Home group want around £3000 in fees to sell , will it be any cheaper to buy out the remaining 50% as we wouldn’t be subject to as many fees ?

  24. Nicola TomlinsonNicola Tomlinson

    Very informative article.

  25. Keil Martin HampshireKeil Martin Hampshire

    Can 25% of a shared ownership home be transferred by a limited company to a private individual?

  26. JamieJamie

    Hi, I wondered if you could help.

    I purchased a 75% share in a new build flat back in February and then in May/June time the developer signed off on a mechanical unit being attached to my outside wall.

    This unit was installed to supply refrigeration
    to the shop below me.

    While I was aware the shop was going to be a possibility I wasn’t aware that they would then stick this eyesore on my flat!

    Not only is ugly, it’s noises and keeps me awake until the early ours of the morning.

    The vibrations literally resonate through the living room and into my bedroom!

    Do you have any advice on what I could do?
    I.E would I be within my rights to sell the flat back to them at the same price or would I be able to demand they remove unit?

    Or is it just a case of put up, shut up and consume enough alcohol so that I can actually sleep?

    Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks


  27. ArtArt

    Thankyou for educating me on Shared Ownership of property.
    For something that was designed to help people achieve a foot hold in the property market, in actual fact traps and leaves them beholding to the company’s they are leasing from. As usual these schemes are not fair to the people it is meant to help. Unless the value of the house increases significantly then the reward for hard work and paying your Bill’s is next to nothing. In short it’s a fancy and very clever scam.
    The monthly payments to the leasing company should be used to pay down the portion of the home owned by the lease holding company with eventual ownership transferred to the occupier once full house costs have been made over 20 years plus or however long it takes.
    So until then Home Ownership is definitely one to avoid.

  28. Isabel houghtonIsabel houghton

    When we bought our shared ownership flat 2 years ago, no one told us that 1% of the value of the property per year would be claimed back by the company. Why is it such a big secret. Why can they just take extra fees from our bank account because they have overbugeted.
    Who can answer these questions for us.
    Thank you.

  29. MikeMike

    Thank you for great commentary on shared ownership. I was considering SO as an option for my sons. However now I won’t touch it with a barge pole. Clearly it shouldn’t have ownership in the title as it clearly is anything but!!!

  30. Richard BennsRichard Benns

    I have a 50% shared equity with a developer for a flat in London. It has transpired that the external cladding to the building constitutes a fire hazard thus rendering it unfit for purpose. Am In a position to cite a breach of contract on the part of the developer and recover my equity share of the property from them?

  31. SimonSimon

    I own a flat in a block of 5, each flat has one vote in relation the spending of maintenance pot and what to spend it on. One couple own two flats but have recently bought another one, giving them 3/5 of the votes. Is this right or can I do something to stop it?

  32. EmilieEmilie

    I am currently selling my 50 percent share of my shared ownership of 97500. I have received a cash offer of 90000, can i accept this? Or do they need to buy the full amount?

  33. ryan watsonryan watson

    I currently own 40% share on a house with my now ex partner and I am looking to buy her out of the contract. how is this worked out so i know exactly how much she is owed? many thanks

  34. Alice Louise TuckerAlice Louise Tucker

    Do you own an equity in the property? I read somewhere that you don’t unless you own the property 100%?

    The flat I am interested in has a 99 year lease hold, I want to use this as a way of getting onto the property market, would I have any problems selling the property as in 10 years time due to the leasehold?

    Any help would be good I want to know if im doing the right thing.

  35. Hans AamotHans Aamot

    Hi, I read that one has to pay rent on the part one doesnt own, usually around 2,75% per annum on the value. So basically this is the biggest rip off ever. The reason I am saying this is that one ends up paying very close to the same amount as if one could get a mortgage for the full amount, but they wont let that happen. So if one could have an interest only mortgage for the first five years, one would pay basically the same owning all of it. So the mortgage people are and developers are laughing all they way to the bank at the same time as they are pressing up house prices…. It is defenitely av very bad product – and double so on leaseholds.

  36. ZoeZoe

    Im just in the process of help to buy with Live West and Persimmon 5% deposit. Hope to complete 12th March. Started the process mid Jan 2020

  37. Joy RosarioJoy Rosario

    If one has already been approved by helptobuy approximately how long does an application to homes England take to be approved.

  38. a. cowdrya. cowdry

    hi. I am 70 years old pensioner can’t get a mortgage is it possible to pay my share e g. 50% in cash. thanks

    • If you are looking into shared ownership, the first step is always to check eligibility criteria with the housing provider. Very best of luck!

  39. FayeFaye

    My disabled brother is in a 35% shared ownership flat and needs to move to sheltered accommodation in 2 months – if the housing association cannot sell it in the next 8weeks as per the rules is there any recourse to ask the housing association to buy back his share as extenuating circumstances? He can’t afford both rent and the payment on his current home…any advice gratefully received please.

  40. Scott MychajlukScott Mychajluk

    I found a buyer for my 50 % share but longhurst group allow the sale dye to the purchaser being able to afford more % they will only accept him if he buys a higher share.

    I feel this basically stops me from selling after 13 years. I call this foul play

  41. BavBav

    I had a burglury at my Ground Floor Flat and we have informed the Housing association and they are decline to repair my front door as they saying its your responsibility to repair your front property door. how i can resolve the issue as i need to change my lock and strips which needed and they saying you need to arrange the repair as its your responsibility. so as a shared ownership can i have to buy building insuance with content. I have only content insurance. we pay rent and service charge too.

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Hi Bav, so sorry to hear your flat was burgled. It’s normally the freeholder that arranges for building insurance. Check through your lease document to see if it mentions who will arrange and pay for buildings insurance. Ask for a copy of the policy to see if it covers repair and/or replacing your front door after a burglary. Best of luck.

  42. SusannaSusanna

    Hello, I hope you can point me in the right direction. My problem is this: I own and have paid for 50% of my property. I first purchased my property in 1991 and have an old lease. In that lease is a clause stating that my house can only be sold onto anyone who resides in my borough council’s area, which naturally reduces the amount of buyers available. My housing association marketed the property and found a buyer who lives outside the area, but sought permission from the council to allow the buyer to purchase my share. Permission was granted, but the clause was not removed from the lease. My buyer applied to Barclays for a mortgage, initially they agreed to loan on principle until they read the clause and withdrew their offer. My buyers solicitor has advised my buyer to pull out of the sale unless the clause can be removed. I have approached my housing association to request removal, but they say it is unlikely the borough council will remove it. could you please advise me who I can seek advice from? As I see it, unless the clause is removed, I will not be able to sell my share as it is unlikely any mortgage lender will lend if the clause is left in.

  43. Lynn CluerLynn Cluer

    I was conned into shared ownership of a flat. It was a second buyer situation, I bought 75% of what I thought was a property but didn’t find out until after completion I owned nothing. Now I can’t sell the place and I am desperate to get rid of it. I can’t live in it due to health reasons, can’t do stairs anymore and its first floor. I would sell it at a considerable loss to anybody who would buy it but nobody want is. The housing association won’t buy it back, they prefer to leave it empty as long as they are getting their rent and charges every month. Then if I don’t pay they can just help themselves and even charge me for the privilege of them taking what should have been a small asset off me. After they make me pay for all that I end up bankrupt, where is the justice in that? I always thought Housing Associations were there to help people not to render them homeless and bankrupt when they are pensioners. The HA’s are just money grabbing scamming bullies who need to be reigned in somehow but no idea how. They just seem to get away with everything ans we can do absolutely nothing about it

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Dear Lynn – Really sorry to read about your issue. Please have a look at the Housing Ombudsman website and consider contacting them I would suggest though you put in a formal complaint to the Housing Association first

  44. LorraineLorraine

    I’ve been selling my half ownership property, due to complete tomorrow.
    When I started selling my property I endured 4 weeks resale with the housing association then we was free to sell ourselves. And if the selling price was more than the independent valuation we was to pay the independent valuation for their half and keep the rest.
    However, my housing association has now stated that they changed their policy (not informing me) and I have to split the final sale price with them.
    My argument is that I signed on the previous policy they had in place not the one they have now, which Only changed as they merged with another housing association.
    Any advise?


  45. JoJo

    Shared ownership has been fine for myself until u ask to clarify charges that are being charged with regards maintaining areas.
    On new estates shared ownership pays more for maintenance than those who own the house out right not allowed input into estate areas and meetings as u don’t own your own house
    Then when it comes to selling the housing association not doing what is being asked of them delays due to the housing association. No one keeping them to word a sale taking over 6 months due to housing association not responding to solicitors apparently people always on holiday.
    Having high standards and now allowed things such as burners in garden in first few years of new builds but then not interested when another house been sub let.

  46. BellisBellis

    First and foremost, shared ownership is NOT ownership. Under the terms of the Housing Act 1988, all you are buying is an assured tenancy for the duration of the lease. If you get into arrears on either rent or service charge, the housing association will repossess the property without giving you back the money you paid for it, and certainly not the value of your share at the time it is repossessed. Buyer beware.

  47. MandyMandy

    Hi, my housing association have been in contact with all 8 properties in the complex to advise we will likely need to contribute to major fire protection works as this year it has been determined that there are exposed electrical cables in the loft, I specifically have a leak with a bucket in the corner of the loft collecting water (which I had no idea about until this year and I have lived here 3 years) and there is no loft separation between the adjoining flats meaning rapid spread of any fire. I am sure there must be legislation regarding this and the clear compromise of each tenants safety and security. Should this have been realised sooner? Is there a legal breach on behalf of the management company/housing association? The flats are only 13 years old. Any guidance you can give or legislation I should be looking at would be helpful. In addition, if works are required, why don’t the housing association have to contribute towards them when they also own half the property? I don’t think we should be paying for this as this is something in my view which should have been discovered many years ago! Many thanks.

  48. Edward RobinsonEdward Robinson


    I bought a shared ownership flat as it was all I could afford. Having discovered the pitfalls in the scheme, is there an easy way of exiting the scheme? I know the housing association would not buy my half back as they have told me so.

    Am I able to sell my half to another housing association / council or, one of these, “Buy your house”, companies?

    Any suggestions you can make would be greatly appreciated, and thank you in advance for your assistance.

  49. AnnaAnna

    Regarding stamp duty payment date- is it the date of the completion or the date when solicitors transferred money to HRMC or the date of the lease signing and where do I take UTRN from?

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Hello Anna, you can use whichever is the later date. The solicitors who filed the stamp duty return should be able to give you the UTRN reference.

  50. Simon BurnageSimon Burnage

    One question that doesn’t seem to be addressed here is what happens if the property loses value, does the rent value decrease with it if there was a valuation done on it?

  51. Michelle SeniorMichelle Senior

    I bought 50% of shared ownership 5 years ago and was vulnerable and naive at the time and trusted my solicitors advise and Equity housing and the sellers words and legal position. Over the last 5 years l have been through hell, the area is high in crime, my car has been keyed, tyres slashed and the property, Damp, had to have the basement tanked, rising damp, replace kitchen and floor, replace boiler and guttering back and front, have 3 rooms re-plastered , new skirting and flooring and new internal doors and fencing around the back as well as house alarm. Oh and new bathroom suit.. This has but no value on the property at all and l will have to sell for less just to sell it. Equity Housing have been terrible with me and all the reply back with is it is a lease and maintenance is my responsibility.. l would not ever wish Shared Ownership on anyone .. My advise stay clear as you have no rights what’s so ever.. Trapped financially, mentally drained and emotionally exhausted..

  52. Elliot BarlingElliot Barling

    This article is very useful but as mentioned in one of the other comments there is a huge sticking point around the interaction between the Housing Association and the Tenant when it comes to repairs and selling.
    I have had a call open with my House Association for nearly 6 months about a leak which developed in one of the bedrooms in my flat, It took them 4 months to get back to me after I raised 3 complaints and tried to speak to them every week for an update. I was told the Head Office did not deal with Shared Ownership tenants. In short, I had no easy contact for issues with my flat.Every repair I have raised has taken at least 4 months to get resolved.

    The second point for me is around selling a shared ownership sale, the housing associations do not make it easy!
    The costs quickly mount up as I have found with a surveyor needed (£250 – 350) for a valuation and report. This report only lasts 3 months from the date they come round to the property and if the Housing Association do not sell the property within this time frame another surveyor will have to come round and generate a report, this will cost you again…

    Besides that there is the cost to the Housing Association which for a 40% resale in my flat will cost me about £2000 in what appear to be ‘admin fees’.
    I have been massively hit by costs but the need to sell the property having found out all of the cons of Shared Ownership is now greater than ever.

    I hope this is looked at in the future to give Housing Associations less power over tenants to avoid these spiralling costs.

    • Marianne ColeMarianne Cole

      Thanks Elliot for the information and for sharing your experience so that it may help others.

  53. Michelle SeniorMichelle Senior

    I invested in shared ownership in 2012 of 50%, looking back l was more focussed on providing a home for my daughter after a difficult divorce. Money was a lot less after hitting the recession ..The house was over priced when l invested something l now know l should of checked before buying and also surveyor how this was sold to me was, investment buy full property over years. , l thought Equity housing new there properties, l relies now they do not and also do not care. Trapped, physically and emotionally drained, l can only describe the last 7 years as hell.. I now know l live in the worst part of Barnsley for drugs, addiction and crime. Damages to my daughters car and tyres slashed and nearly being killed on motor way, l could go on ( no help from police) the house is extremely damp and l have spent thousands trying to fix it, l am now fixing the front guttering of the house £600 ( finished back last year) , l have been paying out every year to fix the boiler and me and my daughter were ill December after boiler went again in winter but could not afford to have it fixed, eventually 2 call outs £500.. hut had boiler replaced on credit £2600.. replaced kitchen due to damp , just paid off kitchen, new floor total for kitchen fitting around £10,000. I have had house replastered due to damp and decorated, new fencing costing £1500 and on going costs to stop damp in celier (l have been to hell and back with celier) l have replaced all internal doors replaced fire alarms and lighting fitted house Alarm and still finishing bathroom. I have no life l do not see my friends anymore and l cry a lot. Biggest regret buying this house , me and my daughter didn’t deserve this and shame on Equity housing cheadle and the last tenant for lying to me.. The properties in this area sell for £35.000 full price. I paid £30.000 shared ownership, so this is why l am trapped, l would have to sell my share for £15.00 and pay all added fees. And finish house to correct standards ( l would not sell this house with the problems , l could not lie to buyers like l was. Stay away from shared ownership from hell .

  54. D MarshallD Marshall

    Your article does not mention the extent of the difficulty in selling a shared ownership leasehold. You do not mention a very important point regarding length of lease and not being able to sell if below 80 years. Here are my problems concerning SO. I am a shared ownership leaseholder with Orbit housing association. I have this to say about a shared ownership lease.

    Shared ownership are difficult to sell, you can’t sublet and rents, service, maintenance and management fees keep rising.

    Permission fees are required for any alterations.

    You are responsible for all building repairs and maintenance. Boiler, plumbing, electrics, brickwork, roof, everything.

    When you come to sell you have to commission a chartered surveyor to value (£300) and then give the HA up to 3 months to sell it through their channels which they charge you for whether they sell it or not. After this, you can sell through an estate agent but only to someone that falls into the desired wage bracket.

    If you can’t sell because the valuation is too high, you can reduce the price but the HA still requires their percentage of the full valuation fees so you will have to pay the discounted remainder.

    Management companies are notoriously very difficult to deal with and more often than not will delay everything in which case the sale could fall through and your back to square one.

    There are many fees that have a time scale on them so if you cannot sell withing 6 months you have to pay for a surveyors valuation and management pack again.

    Once the lease gets to 80 years remaining you are unable to sell as no mortgage company will loan on less than 80 year leases. To be able to sell the property you need to extend the lease which will cost you anything from £10,000 to extend a 80-year lease.

  55. SamSam

    Hello, we are first time buyers looking to purchase a 70% share of a property. We have negotiated the price of the share down by 6k, however the mortgage lenders won’t accept the vendor’s discount on the share price. The only way the application can be submitted is with the % share matching the purchase price (in our case this comes to 68% rather than 70%). Is there any way around this? Any help would be appreciated, thanks!

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hello Sam, have a chat with our partners at London and Country mortgage brokers on 0800 073 2326. They may be able to help or may be able to find you an alternative lender. Best wishes, The HOA Team.

  56. GeraldineGeraldine

    As a shared owner unable to sell with my housing association and now with an estate agent, can I accept an offer on property or does it have to be the full value from the RICS surveyor valuation?

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hello Geraldine, do speak with your housing association about this in case they have specific rules. In general, you can accept a lower offer, but you would have to pay the difference to the housing association so that the housing association receives the full value of their share. Best wishes, The HOA Team.

  57. SheenaMSheenaM

    I’m experiencing a bizarre situation with a shared ownership property I have expressed an interest in. About 1.5 years ago I went to a show home for a town house in east london and shortly after put down a holding fee and the agent (L&Q) sent us a draft MOU document. Shortly after they told us they could not issue the MOU because the property would not be built until the following year. We agreed to put down a reservation fee and and wait the year. When the year was up they told us wait another 3 months, when that passed wait another 3 months. We have now queried why its taking so long and there has been no reason given only that if we think its taking too long we should look elsewhere. The property is near my workplace so I have walked passed it and the 4 town houses are fully built with one of the homes being done up as mini office for L&Q. Why won’t they hand the property over if its its already built? I have spoke to other housing providers and they said it was odd L&Q was holding onto the stock as in the sector they try to sell stock asap. We are now looking elsewhere and its a shame we had to give up the place after waiting so long. I will always wonder what the reason was for the hold up. Has anyone else experienced this or suggest why they gave us the run around?

  58. peter durrantpeter durrant

    I would willingly join if any-one could help me, at eighty one overcome the problems of my shared ownership flat being unsaleable. I am currently in touch with the Ombudsman but it seems to me a major problem that no-one is really with. My neighbour, for example died a year ago, the three-quarter ownership is still unsold on the open market and reduced from£362,000 to £265,000. I am worried about finding myself in the same position since, as I understand it, the children will have to continue to pay the community charge along with half-empty conditions. I could send you the correspondence if you wished. I cannot get the CAB to help or advise and cannot afford up to £500 per hour for a solicitor. Even if they knew anything about over fifty-five problems. Which they seem not to.

  59. Julie hJulie h

    I have a 50% ownership home. We are struggling finically due to my work cutting on call payments amongst other things.
    If the worst came to the worst, how would we stand with bankruptcy with a shared ownership house?
    Many thanks

  60. FloraFlora

    I have a 30% share of the property which has gone up in value. Service charges go up each year and at the end of each year there is an underpayment of £300 on average over 6 years added to my bill.

    The mortgage lender has charged in excess of 3% over the Bank of England base rate over the nearly 7 year period without ever giving me an opportunity to choose a suitable option. I cannot benefit from any of the increase in equity in my share until i sell all my share.

    At present i am wondering if there is any association safeguarding the interest of the shhared owner? and is there any way to get the government to legislate for the Housng Association to revalue properties annually and pass on the increase in equity through reduced rent and to clamp ddown on the exhorbitant mortgage rates being charged by the Shared ownership lenders so they issue refunds via the mortgage account not in cash payments.

    I feel that i have been defrauded by my mortgage lender.

    Any guidance on this?

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hello Flora, thanks for getting in touch. It sounds as though you would benefit from having a chat with our partners at London and Country to see if there are any other lenders that might offer you a better borrowing rate.
      The only way currently to reduce the amount of rent you pay is to “staricase” – in other words, buy a further share of the property so that you are renting a smaller share of the property.

  61. A FlemingA Fleming


    I am hoping to purchase a larger property
    through the shared ownership scheme.

    I currently own a shared ownership property,
    I am supposed to have sold or have an offer
    for my current property before I start looking at other properties?

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hello Alex and thanks for your question. It helps if you’ve got an offer on your current property because then you know how much you can spend on your next one. There’s no harm in looking at other properties now, but you won’t be in a position to proceed with purchasing your next property until you have an offer on your current home.

  62. HelenaHelena


    We are looking to sell our Shared Ownership home. Our share is 30%. When we sell, will we owe l&q 70% of the current market value, or do we need to pay back 70% of the property at the time of purchase? Can’t seem to find this answer anywhere. Thanks

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hello Helena, we’d recommend that you contact your Housing Provider to ask them for information on this. Different providers offer different ways of selling your shared ownership property – for example, some offer a Share Sale option only whilst others will offer this and a Back to Back Staircasing and Sale option. The most common option is the Share Sale where you’re offering only your owned percentage for sale and the buyer enters into the same arrangement as you buy renting the remaining share of the property.

    • PaulaPaula

      Hi Helena, Hope it’s not to late, but it is usually the current market value.

  63. AlexAlex

    Why do I still have to pay service charge if I own 100% after shared ownership?

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hello Alex, is your property leasehold? If so, you’ll still need to pay ground rent and service charges to the freeholder. Check the details of your lease.

  64. Jo skinnerJo skinner

    I own 50% share of my flat. Since owning for 5 years the value of my property has significantly increased. When I eventually sell my property, will I gain 50% of the increase of the property(as long as it sells for that price), or am I only eligible for the original 50% share that I purchased 5 yrs ago?

    thanks for your help


    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hi Jo, you’ll benefit from the increased value on the share of the property that you purchased. Contact your Housing Provider for information on how it will work in detail on your particular property before you make any decision.

  65. ann-marie abdullieann-marie abdullie

    I’m currently in the process staircasing to 100 % the Housing Association is willing to transfer all the remaining estate and they will no longer have any interest in the property, however, on The Transfer drafted they suggest that they are to retain an interest in the property, and references to “Common Parts & Re-Entry.
    Two of the neighbours already staircase to 100% already and both “Common Parts & Re-Entry clause was REMOVED they are refusing to do the same for me.
    No one in The Housing Association will explain to me the reason why the clause is to remain, all I’m getting is we will not change it.
    If I lived in a flat I can fully understand the clause, but I lived a house.

    1….There are no comments part- as all the roads accessways have already been adopted and used
    by pedestrians & Vehicles
    2 Reason for Re-Entry.

    Thanks, regards.


  66. Dean BothamDean Botham

    I own part of a house with my mother but done to ensure her safety (she’s a vunerable adult). It was done a few years ago but now I’m ready to buy a house with my partner using shared ownership there are complications, do you have any advise on how we can still do what we want to without impacting my mother’s situation

    • Chandni SahniChandni Sahni

      Hello Dean, thanks for your question. If you were to become a member, we’d be happy to look into this for you as we can provide you with access to our Home Helpline where you can speak to someone in more detail

  67. RogerRoger

    My daughter is looking to purchase a shared ownership property. Please can you explain what happens if the value of the property goes down, does it make stair casing cheaper?

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hello Roger, do ask your daughter to check with the Housing Provider what the process is for staircasing to be sure as different Housing Providers may well have different procedures. But in general terms, Housing Providers ask that the shared owner pays for a RICS valuation to independently determine the value of the property at the time of staircasing. It is possible that the value of the property has fallen and the valuation should reflect this.

  68. Andrew RidleyAndrew Ridley


    I purchased 50% 24 years ago. I have saved the money to purchase the remaining 50%.

    However, the landlord. Not the original landlord. The house transferred twice whilst I’ve lived here. They are dragging their heals. I have had to pay for a 2nd valuation because the 1st expired. The 2nd will expire in less than a month. It’s not as if we are negotiating, they just take on average 2 weeks to respond to requests. I am still be charged rent and my conveyancing firm just seem to toddle along with it. It can’t be right that they can drag their heels and i have to keep forking out for it? I have only just received the TP1 as i am requesting the freehold. However, i have asked if they will still expect service charges after the purchase? To be fair, my conveyancing firm aren’t too sharp but its the delays in getting answers. Sorry to bore you….

  69. QuincyQuincy

    Hi, I’m considering buying a shared ownership flat, but I’m a bit concerned f I’ll be able to sell my shares in a few years’ time as my situation might change. If I want to move to a bigger flat, can I purchase the flat earlier than managing to sell the shared ownership? I know if I had a regular residential home, then I’d pay 3% extra stamp duty to own the second home, and will get a stamp duty refund if I sell within 3 years. Is it the same with shared ownership?

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hello Quincy and thanks for your question. If you were to become a member, we’d be happy to look into this for you. Alternatively, you might want to contact the Govt’s Stamp Duty Land Tax helpline on 0300 200 3510.

  70. marie mulcahymarie mulcahy

    My question is my housing association says that i can only sell with a RICS valuation. The valuer that was on their panel as valued my property at £110,000 more than three estate agents say its worth and the valuer wont reduce their valuation. Is there any way that I can resolve such a situation.I dont want to pay another valuer and find the same thing again. The valuer says they are protecting the housing association. It was bought as a private property under a DIYSO scheme so was never a housing association property. So stuck this has been going on for months

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hi Marie, sorry to hear that you’re in this situation which isn’t unusual I’m afraid. To be able to help you further we’d need to see the paperwork that your housing association has sent you. This would be a service we provide to members so please do consider taking out a membership with us and we’ll do our best to help you.

  71. Miss R MartinezMiss R Martinez

    Potential Shared-Ownership buyers DO NOT have access to read or view leases prior to purchasing, therefore regardless of how much background research you do, unless you already know a friend or resident already living at the development, willing to share impartial advice/information, you will never be aware of the full T’s & C’s of Lease until post-purchase.Similarly with the Service Charges costs. housing Associations often generally give prospect buyers unrealistic estimates (exactly my case)to attract and encourage them to purchase. They strongly recommend solicitors which also work jointly with them and are favoured by the Developer, as it reduces the turnaround and they know exactly which critical information NOT to disclose to secure a deal. What’s even worse is they ALL take advantage of the unprivileged socio-economic status of the buyer (who has no other possibilities of getting on the property ladder). In addition to being unrealistic “charges”, owners are quickly placed under huge financial burdens when they discover these developments are run by scrupulous Estate Management Companies who abuse not only Shared Owners positions, but also that of traditional Leaseholders as they know the whole Leasehold system is severely flawed, there is no monitoring by a Regulator, Government or even the Housing Associations involved, of the fees they impose on Residents (I.e: they include huge deficits ranging from £350K due to mismanagement of Estate Budget, discovering flaws in building designs such as the “infamous” Flammable Cladding & consequently adding “Waking Watch” costs, unjustified yearly increases in Service Charges to the point of being triple or cuadruple in amount, just to name a few). Despite Residents reporting this ongoing abuse and initially engaging in dialogue with all parties involved to: Firstly find out the why? Secondly request to see receipts justifying provision of services and provider/maintenance contracts to ascertain if we are really getting “good value for money”, NOBODY wants to listen, NOBODY wants to assume one iota of responsibility, Government DOESN’T intervene or even attempt to change/penalise the abusive behaviours and practices from “Offshore tax-avoiding Freeholders”, Estate Management Companies, Developers, Housing Associations. Families and single individuals are at their financial and emotional wits end because there is NO SOLUTION for them. They are being held hostages in their properties, which are now an unsellable and unsafe product, additionally in danger of negative equity, while still having to survive on unsavoury salaries and feed themselves (basically survive). This NEEDS to stop!!!

    • AKerrAKerr

      Thanks Miss Martinez. Being pressured to use the in-house solicitor is a big problem and we agree doesn’t get buyers the independent advice they need from the start. We do have very varied experience of shared ownership from members but a lot of your points are common, particularly around opaque service charges. Please get in touch with us at and we can see if we can help.

  72. TaniaTania

    after purchasing the whole 100% of the shared ownership property, does this make the house freehold?

    • AKerrAKerr

      No Tania, it will remain a leasehold property. You will own 100% of the leasehold.

  73. Mary SullivanMary Sullivan

    Shared ownership now is much better I bought an older house own half and sadly retired and all repairs are down to me. They sell their older houses or did then to sit on money while the leaseholder keeps the house up to date rather unfair

  74. zalie olmoszalie olmos

    We are currently trying to get out if this scheme but our housing assosiation have wanted 3months before we are able to go to estate agent.
    Also we didnt hear anything from our housing assosiation which were clarion.
    I wouldnt recommend this to any of my friends its very expensive to get out and weve had to do all the work

  75. GlennGlenn

    I am currently in the process of buying a 50% share in a property. I was concerned with the rent on the other half of the property. Does the housing association have the right to sell their share of the property to a third party, then increasing the rent?

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hi Glenn, it’s not possible for us to answer this question. It’s best posed to the Housing Association, and if you have a conveyancer, ask them to check this out for you.

  76. AnnetteAnnette

    I have a concern.
    We are in a shared ownership which we own 10% of.
    We are worried that if my husband comes out of work, will the government pay our rent as we have no savings. This has become a bit scary because of rumours at work.

    Thank you

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hi Annette, we’d suggest you contact your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau for advice on housing benefit.

  77. aliali

    hi …currently buying a 50|% shared ownership with a private housing company – currently selling a flat – sold subject to contract – heaven forbid anything goes wrong…but if the flat fell through would we if able to raise the money of the share out of able to continue with the purchase???…house is new build and we have completed reservation etc..

  78. JaneJane

    I’m thinking of buying a share of the HA house I’ve lived in for the last 35 years, under the Social Homebuy scheme. I would really like to talk to a solicitor about the pros and cons of this, particularly one who is familiar with the downside of SO/SH. Knowledge of inheritance tax would be also very useful. Can you recommend anyone?

  79. m wilksm wilks

    valuable brief on shared ownership. i wish to feedback on shared ownership with no rental for 55+ groups where for economic reasons have had to sell their properties resulting in falling between the cracks as they do not fall in the poverty bracket but unable to obtain a mortgage but may be able to use the balance from the sale of the property. however some of which has been used towards rental in the meantime resulting in being forced into shared housng and in depletion of this money after a number of years. What happens at this point especially as around this vulnerable age to end of life it is difficult to manage maintenance costs and council tax which are excluded from service charges. Pensions have depreciated. can one get support as is from a rental perspective?

  80. Tim JonesTim Jones

    My daughter is about to purchase a 30% share and I am interested in the difference between going through a broker for the load and and using a lender direct. Arrangement fee is £1000.00 Is this normal ?

    • AKerrAKerr

      Hi Tim, mortgage arrangement fees can vary from zero to as much as £2,000 but a typical arrangement fee now is perhaps £999.
      That would also usually include any booking fee if applicable. Eg you might have £99 or £199 upfront with the remainder on completion. Again there are lots of lenders that don’t charge a booking fee and it could even vary between products. So it’s worth speaking to the lender direct and a broker. It is sometimes the case that you can get a better deal from a lender going through a broker then going to the lender direct. Our mortgage broker partner are L&C and are fee-free, so worth giving them a ring on 0800 073 2326 – or request a call back here

  81. Rory TiernanRory Tiernan

    I have just been to view a share to buy resale with Notting hill housing association in London. The sellers of their 50% are obliged to sell their share through the housing association- to which they take 1% of the sale value for doing so. This particular seller was due payout 25000 for the commission!

  82. Mark CaseyMark Casey

    Interesting. I purchased my house (50%) via Shared Ownership. I have maintained the property the best I can. The crux being is that the house was not on a HA street. What exactly am I paying a service charge for? Apart from a yearly statement and correspondence informing me of increase in rental and service charge I have heard NOTHING from the HA. They obviously don’t maintain the street, nor the lighting, nor anything else for that matter. Quite apart from the service charge I am also charged a small monthly sum for buildings insurance!

  83. Johann SwanepoelJohann Swanepoel


    My shared ownership property was destroyed inva fire on the 30th April 2016. Currently still not fixed.

    My Housing association expects me to pay rent in this.

    Can I be expected to pay rent for a flat that I have not been able to inhabit?

    Please please advice me?

    Kind regards,

    Mr Johann Swanepoel

  84. jamesjames

    Great insightful article thank you. Has given me some questions to ask the developer

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