What is shared ownership housing?
Shared ownership housing is a form of low cost home ownership which allows you to own part of your home and pay an occupancy payment, like a rent, on the other part, which is owned by the Association.
With shared ownership you can choose a level of investment that suits your budget and you can increase your share of ownership when your personal or financial circumstances allow.
Who can apply for shared ownership housing with Lochaber Housing Association?
Anyone, provided that they are aged 16 or over, and either live in Lochaber, or have a reason to move to Lochaber and they have sufficient income to afford a shared ownership property.
Priority for shared ownership properties is given to first-time buyers who cannot afford to buy outright and existing tenants of Lochaber Housing Association or The Highland Council.
How do I apply to the Association for a shared ownership property?
You should contact us by writing, telephoning, emailing, or calling in to the office, and ask for an application form for shared ownership. Please be clear that it is shared ownership you are applying for, as we do not hold a waiting list for our rented properties. For further information about how to apply for our rented properties, please contact us.
You should complete the application form and return it to us. Because we need to assess your income to ensure affordability, we ask for details of your income on the application form. If you do not have enough capital to buy a share outright, we will need to see evidence of an offer of 'mortgage in principle' from a lender. We will also need to know that you can pay for the conveyancing fees associated with the purchase of a property.
What happens when you have received my application form?
We will check your application to make sure that we have all the information we need, and we will then allocate you points according to your housing need. Points are awarded for different circumstances, and the more need you have of housing, the more points you will be awarded. The way that we allocate points is set out in our allocations policy, and a copy of this is available at our offices.
We will write to you within 2 weeks of receiving your application to tell you that we have received your application, and how many points you have been awarded.
What is the difference between new sales and re-sales?
There are two ways shared ownership properties become available: new sales and re-sales.
New sales are where the Association has built new shared ownership properties, and is allocating them for the first time. Re-sales are where a current shared ownership property is going to become available for sale.
The allocations policy applies in the same way to both new sales and re-sales. When a new sale is available, the Association offers the property directly to the applicant in most housing need for that type of property. When a sharing owner contacts the Association to let us know that they want to sell their share of the property, we advise them of who the property is to be offered to, and the sale takes place directly between these two parties.
How do you decide who to offer your shared ownership properties to?
Points are awarded to each applicant according to our allocations policy. Applicants are also grouped according to the size and type of property they need. When a property becomes available for sale, we check our list to find the applicant with the most points for that type of house in that location, and the property is offered to them. If they do not wish to take up the offer of that property, it will then be offered to the person with the second highest award of points, and so on until the offer of property is accepted.
What size of share do I have to purchase?
You can choose whatever size of share or "tranche" you can afford. Initially you can purchase a 25, 50 or 75% share in the property, and you will be able to purchase a bigger share (known as "tranching up" or "staircasing") up to 100% once you have lived in the property for over a year.
We will not give preference to applicants on the basis of ability to purchase a greater share than the minimum 25%.
What costs are involved with purchasing a shared ownership property?
The costs are the same as they would be with a house purchase on the open market. Firstly you will have to pay the initial purchase costs - legal fees etc. Once you have purchased your share, you will be liable for all the costs associated with home ownership, and you should think carefully and seek independent advice before committing to the purchase.
What does it mean to be a sharing owner?
Being a sharing owner means exactly that - you are an owner, and that means you will have a lot of responsibility.
If you have a mortgage on the share that you have purchased, you will have to pay for that, as well as rent for whatever share is owned by the Association. If you fall into arrears with either your rent or your mortgage, legal action may be taken against you and your home could be repossessed.
You will be required to sign an 'Occupancy Agreement' with the Association. This is a legal document that sets out all your rights and responsibilities as a sharing owner, and also the rights and responsibilities of the Association.
You will be responsible for the costs of all repairs, no matter what the size of your share in the property. The Association will organise repair work to the structure of your property, but you will be recharged for the work. You will be responsible for the organisation and cost of all reactive repairs.
Buying a share in a property is a major investment, and we would encourage you to seek independent advice from a solicitor or the CAB. Please see the 'Useful Contacts' section at the back of this leaflet.
If you require further information about shared ownership properties, please contact our office.
The Highland Council
Lochaber Citizens Advice Bureau
Shelterline: 0808 800 4444