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Other shared/low-cost ownership schemes

This content applies to England

In addition to the main shared and low-cost ownership options, there are a number of smaller schemes that may be available.

Improvement for sale

Sometimes known as 'rehabilitation for outright sale', under this scheme registered social landlords buy and improve older properties, either for outright sale or through shared ownership. If the cost of providing the home is higher than the sale price, a government subsidy covers the shortfall. Anyone interested in this type of scheme should contact the registered social landlords in their area to find out if they offer this option.

Older People's Shared Ownership (OPSO)

The Help to Buy Older People's Shared Ownership scheme allows people aged 55 years and over to purchase a Housing Association property on a shared ownership basis, with a restriction on staircasing to a maximum 75 per cent of the property's value. See the page on Staircasing for more information.

Availability of properties to purchase is limited to certain developments, which can be found via the local Help to Buy agent. Purchasers that meet the Help to Buy criteria can buy a share of between 25 and 75 per cent in a property. See the page Help to Buy shared ownership for more information.

Older people who have purchased a 75 per cent share of a property will not have to pay rent on the remainder, but will usually have to pay a service charge. Rigorous affordability checks are put in place before a person is accepted onto the OPSO scheme. Former similar schemes for older people were the Leasehold Housing for Older People scheme, and Leasehold Schemes for the Elderly.

Forces Help to Buy (FHTB)

The Forces Help to Buy (FHTB) scheme assists armed forces personnel to make the transition from Ministry of Defence accommodation by buying their own home. The scheme launched on April 1 2014 and will run to 2018.

Qualifiying personnel can borrow up to 50% of their salary to a maximum of £25,000, interest free, to use as a deposit on their first home or towards a move to another property on assignment or as their family needs change. Qualifying personnel are those who:

  • have completed the pre-requisite length of service
  • have more than six months left to serve at the time of application
  • meet certain medical categories.

Applications for the loan are made online through the Joint Personnel Administration system.

Note that the Armed Forces Home Ownership Scheme (AFHOS) has closed.

Information about home ownership and other housing options for armed forces personnel can be found in a House of Commons briefing paper available on the parliament website.

Self-build schemes

An individual, or group of individuals who have formed a self-build association, may plan, design and build their own homes (ie homes in which they will live). The local authority may be able to provide funding for self-build schemes, and must keep a register of individuals and groups who are looking for land to build on in its area.[1] A local authority must have regard to its register when making decisions such as planning and regeneration that might have an impact on self-build.

A person is eligible to go on the local authority's register if they apply in writing and are:[2]

  • aged 18 or over
  • a British or EEA national (except Swiss)
  • looking for a plot of land on which to build a property to occupy as their only or main home.

The local authority must make a decision about an application to go on the register within 28 days of its receipt. The applicant must be informed of the decision in writing within 28 days of it being made. The authority may charge a fee to be entered onto the register, and, on an annual basis, to remain on it.[3]

With effect from 31 October 2016,[4] a local authority (unless exempt),[5] must grant planning permission for self-build in respect of enough appropriate plots of land - meaning plots of land that are accessible by road and are connected to essential utilities - to meet the demand for self-build. Demand must be assessed on an annual basis (known as the 'base period'), and sufficient planning permission must be granted within a three year period that follows on from each 'base period'.[6]

Self-build properties can also be produced for shared ownership with a participating registered social landlord.

More information on self-build schemes can be obtained from the Homes and Communities Agency.

Eleven areas across the UK have been chosen to test the Government's Right to build scheme. Each will set up a register of prospective self-builders and identify suitable plots of land to offer them at market value. Self-builders will still need to apply for planning permission in the usual way. See Gov UK for more information.

Cash incentive schemes

Some local authorities give grants to their tenants to give up their home and buy or lease a home in the private sector, and/or to carry out works to a property to provide additional accommodation.[7] These are discretionary schemes that are often referred to as 'portable discount' or 'cash incentive' schemes. Tenants do not have a right to be given a grant under a cash incentive scheme.

See the page Cash incentive schemes for more information.

Wales

The information on this page applies only to England. Go to Shelter Cymru for information relating to Wales.

[1] s.1 Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015.

[2] ss.4 and 5 Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015.

[3] reg 3 The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding (Time for Compliance and Fees) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/1027.

[4] s.2A Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 inserted with effect from 31 October 2016 by s.10 Housing and Planning Act 2016; reg 5 Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Commencement No.2, Transitional Provisions and Savings) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/733.

[5] s.2B Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 inserted with effect from 31 October 2016 by s.11 Housing and Planning Act 2016; reg 5 Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Commencement No.2, Transitional Provisions and Savings) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/733.

[6] reg 2 The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding (Time for Compliance and Fees) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/1027.

[7] s.129 Housing Act 1988.

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