Shared ownership schemes

Shared owners buy a share in their homes and pay rent for the rest.

You usually start by buying 10% to 25% of the property. You may be able to buy more shares over time. This is called staircasing.

Shared ownership schemes are usually run by housing associations. There are some private schemes.

Shared ownership properties are sold as leasehold. Find out more from LEASE.

How to get shared ownership

You may get shared ownership if you:

  • have never owned a home

  • earn under a certain amount

  • used to own a home but cannot afford one now

  • own a shared ownership home and want to move

Different schemes have their own rules for who can apply.

Some schemes give priority to:

  • people in key jobs, such as firefighters, teachers, nurses, and people in the armed forces

  • existing social housing tenants

  • people with disabilities

Find out about local schemes and how to apply on GOV.UK.

How much does shared ownership cost?

Costs include:

  • mortgage repayments for your share

  • rent to the housing association

  • service charges

  • ground rent

  • insurance

You have to pay valuation and legal fees when you buy a share.

Repairs and improvements

You are usually responsible for repairs and improvements in your home.

If you live in a house, repairs include the structure, for example a roof.

If you live in a flat, you are responsible for all repairs inside your home.

The housing association must carry out repairs and maintenance of the building and communal areas. Your service charges cover the cost.

Sometimes the landlord may support you with repairs in your home for some time after you buy it.

Check your agreement for details about repairs.

Damage to a neighbour's home

Your agreement should say who must do repairs if you damage another flat, for example with a water leak. The buildings insurance could cover this.


Ask the housing association if you want to do major improvements, such as a new kitchen or knocking down a wall.

Problems paying rent and mortgage

Speak to someone as soon as you have problems.

There are ways of dealing with rent arrears to avoid losing your home.

As a last resort, the housing association may buy back some or all of your shares in your home. This is called downward staircasing.

Sometimes the housing association will tell your mortgage lender that you are in rent arrears.

Get advice as soon as possible. Find out how to deal with missed mortgage payments.

Breathing Space could stop repossession while you get debt advice.

Help to pay rent and mortgage

You could claim universal credit or housing benefit if you’re struggling.

You could apply for a support for mortgage interest loan to help with your mortgage payments.

Eviction for arrears

The housing association can evict you for rent arrears if you stop paying your rent.

Your mortgage lender can evict you for mortgage arrears if you don’t pay your mortgage.

Contact a Shelter adviser if you are at risk of eviction

Lodgers and subletting

You usually can rent out a room to a lodger.

Check if you need to:

  • get your housing association’s permission

  • inform your home insurance provider

You cannot usually rent out your whole home. You could be in breach of your mortgage contract and your landlord could try and evict you.

You may be allowed to rent out your home in exceptional circumstances. You must get permission in writing first.

How to sell your shared ownership home

You can sell your property at any time. You may need the housing association’s permission.

The housing association could:

  • find a buyer for your home

  • buy it back from you

You may have to pay back some or all of the discount you got.

Check your contract for details.

You also have to pay for valuation and legal fees.

Last updated: 27 November 2023

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