Shared Ownership Frequently Asked Questions
We hope this Q&A section will help you to decide if Home Ownership for people with Long-Term Disabilities (HOLD) is the right option for you. It gives you more information on the process but if you have any additional questions please get in touch by email or call our friendly team on 0333 012 4307.
What is Home Ownership for People with Long-term Disabilities?
What is HOLD?
HOLD is a government-backed shared ownership scheme specifically for people with a long-term disability as classified under the Equality Act. It is a route into home ownership for people with a disability who might otherwise not be able to secure a mortgage or suitable property to meet their needs. The shared ownership model encourages a more level playing field as far as buying properties go and helps to create more diverse communities.
Who is HOLD for?
HOLD is available to people aged 18 or over with long-term disabilities as classified under the Equality Act. This covers physical and learning disabilities, cognitive and sensory impairments and enduring mental health issues. An individual, couple or friends can buy a share of the property and rent the remaining share from Advance. An individual buys a share of the property and rents the remaining share from Advance. It is possible for couples and friends to access HOLD together - but this is slightly more complicated.
What are the Advance criteria for using the HOLD scheme?
There are certain criteria you need to meet in order to be considered for the HOLD scheme with Advance. You need to:
- Have a long-term disability as classified under the Equality Act
- Be 18 yrs old or older (or within 6 months of turning 18) there is no upper age limit
- Have access to funds to cover legal costs and a deposit of between £15,000-£20,000
- Want to live in an area where we provide HOLD
Funding your purchase is important. If your household income is from benefits only (no employed income in the whole household) you might be eligible - but would need to get a mortgage through MySafeHome. You can contact MySafeHome on 02476 402211. If your income is from working – you must be able to arrange your own mortgage for enough funds to buy your share and pay for the associated costs of buying a property. Please note you will also need to meet criteria from lenders to be eligible for a mortgage.
You also need to have mental capacity to purchase and sell a property i.e. the ability to understand the meaning of a contract and broadly what is involved in buying a property. If not then you will need someone appointed by the Office of Public Guardian, who can act on your behalf on property and finance affairs. This might mean you need to apply for Court of protection (Deputyship which can take at least 6 months)
If you don’t meet these criteria we are unlikely to be able to help you.
How does it work?
Is HOLD different to other Shared Ownership schemes?
The main difference between HOLD and other shared ownership schemes is that you can choose to buy a property on the open market – provided it is in a good state of repair. This gives you the opportunity to choose where you live and the kind of property you live in, coupled with the security that home ownership provides.
In addition Advance retains responsibility for many of the repairs and maintenance that you may need help and support with. The cost of this is included in a service charge. The rent and service charges might be covered by Housing Benefit or under Universal Credit’s housing costs.
Advance provides support services to help people with disabilities and mental health conditions to live independently in the community. If you need support to live independently we would be happy to help provide that service if we have teams working in the area you want to buy in.
In many other ways it is the same – you get to part-buy and part-rent your home (house or flat) with Advance retaining a % ownership in the property which is rented back to you as the Shared Owner. Like other Shared Ownership schemes owners can increase their % ownership of the property over time. This is called stair casing.
Is there a minimum % share you need to buy in the property?
New owners can start with as little as 25% of the property. This will depend on your budget and Advance’s financial viability assessment. The % share you buy will depend on the funds you have available from your side to buy it, the property price, funding from Advance. And the grant availability from Homes England. It differs form region to region and is very much depended on budget of each party. We can discuss this with you.
How can I fund my share of the property purchase?
There are several ways you can fund your share of the purchase.
- If you have no employed income in the household you might be eligible for the HOLD mortgage which can be arranged through a specialist broker MySafeHome. The mortgage is an interest only mortgage up to a maximum of £100,000 providing you fit the criteria:
- Have no bad debt or outstanding debt
- Have a clean credit record and can provide proof from a Credit bureau e.g. Equifax, Experian
- Have mental capacity or a court appointed person to act on your behalf for property and finance affairs
- Have funding for fees and deposit between £15- £20,000. A breakdown of this will be provided to you by MySafeHome when you contact them.
- If you have sufficient employed income from you and/or someone in your household that are going to live with you – it might be possible to source your own mortgage and or funding through a private broker or high street lender
- Additional funding from inheritance, other family members or trust funds that can be sufficient to buy your share and pay for associated costs. This amount will depend on the property price and your own personal circumstances.
- Funding from a Health Provider e.g. NHS, Department of Health or local authority
- A combination of 1 and 3 and 4
How does Advance fund their share the property purchase?
Advance’s share is purchased using a grant from Homes England. This dictates which counties across England where we can offer HOLD. If a grant from Homes England is not available, then it can be replaced by funding from your family or friends or a Trust (in the form of a loan). Advance also adds of our own funding.
What are the mortgage options?
You can either secure your own mortgage, if you have earned income, or we can refer you to the specialist mortgage broker MySafeHome who can arrange bespoke mortgages for people with a long term disability, and have no employment income and claim benefits. We have worked with them for many years and they have an in depth knowledge of the market www.mysafehome.info/
Mortgages organised through MySafeHome are interest only, which can be paid for by a Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) Loan https://www.gov.uk/support-for-mortgage-interest. We strongly recommend you contact MySafeHome for further information and speak to an expert benefit advisor prior to arranging your mortgage.
If you source your own mortgage, it will be subject to that lender’s criteria and costs.
What do I have to pay for – it sounds expensive?
Shared ownership won’t be right for everyone. It does require having access to funds to make it possible – including costs for finding and securing a mortgage (e.g. fees to a mortgage advisor or broker, and fees to a solicitor to deal with the legal side of a property purchase). You will need to pay rent on the property and service charges to cover essential repairs and maintenance of the property. However, the interest payments on the mortgage, the rent and service charges may be met by additional eligible payments in addition to your current benefits through the Department of Work & Pensions – making it more accessible. The details of this would all be discussed with you by our friendly team so you know the budget you can afford, before you start searching for a property.
I don’t have £15-20,000 to cover the deposit and fees – what can I do?
We know that having up to £20,000 available to fund deposits and fees is probably out of reach for many people. However there are a few routes you might want to consider to access or raise the funds:
- Contribution or loan from a family member, relative or friend – some families have been able to contribute to the fees either through a loan from their savings or exploring things like equity release in their own property. For investment into the shared ownership property, a legal charge can be arranged to ensure the investment is recouped eventually at the point of sale
- Charity/Grant Making organisations – there are lots of grant giving or charitable organisations who might be able to part fund the or contribute to the fees – have a look at a site like www.turn2us.org.uk/
- Approach your local authority – we know some who have been successful in encouraging their local authority to part fund deposits and fees – in many cases help with a deposit compares favourably with the costs of other housing options if the local authority is funding them
- Crowd-funding: there are sites you could use to appeal to others for funding: https://bit.ly/38hRGGH, https://bit.ly/3jY1cRy or Facebook
- As a final option you might be able to draw the funds together from a mixture of the above approaches – perhaps merging personal savings with a family loan or contribution with a grant or other funds raised
How long does the process normally take to complete?
Providing all is in order from the initial enquiry to completion of a purchase of a property it can take anything between 6-9 months. Each purchase and each property search is different so there is no specific time. Our aim is to support people through the process and help them to find the right home and make the right decision for them.
Can I share with someone else?
HOLD shared ownership is usually for people who cannot share with others, but that does not mean you cannot do it. If you have a friend who wants to buy a property with you, they will have to fulfil the same criteria as you for the HOLD scheme. It is however important to remember that the funding is per property and not per person. If one of you wants or needs to move out, the property will either need to be sold or you can buy the other person share out or find someone else to buy the share.
How can I help other people to access the HOLD shared ownership scheme?
Some shared owners having chosen to make a donation to Advance in their Will. By remembering Advance Housing and Support Ltd in your Will you can make a huge difference to the lives of other customers. Big or small, your donation will make a difference. If you would like to make it available specifically to help others access shared ownership please let us know. To find out more about leaving a gift or legacy to Advance Housing and Support Ltd in your Will please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or go to: https://www.advanceuk.org/donate.
What happens if I want to sell my shared ownership home in the future or move to another property?
Advance’s aim is to help you to live in your property as long as it is suitable for you. We understand that people’s needs and circumstances change. If you need to sell your property, you cannot just give Advance notice as you would with rental a property.
Some people have sold and bought another property that better suits their needs. If you did want to sell you would need to contact us to let us know why. Solicitors would need to be consulted to manage the legal process and the fees agreed. We would look to secure an offer on your current property before putting in an offer and buying a share of another one.
Our aim would be to recoup the initial financial investment we made in the property and try to ensure you have a home which meets your needs.
Why does Advance offer HOLD?
Advance Housing and Support is a not-for-profit housing organisation. We exist to transform the lives of people with a disability or mental health condition by providing the best quality housing and support services. We believe everyone should be able to own their own home and that disability shouldn’t be a barrier to home ownership.
We started our shared ownership programme in 1998 and have supported nearly 700 people so far. We are acknowledged experts in the field and have worked alongside MySafeHome, a specialist mortgage broker, to develop and improve the process over the last 20 years.
We are proud of our involvement with HOLD. In 2018 we won the 'Most Innovative Home Ownership Solution' Award at the National Housing Awards as well as being awarded the 'Overall Winner.' The judges said: "A phenomenal programme and fully inclusive offer that is not delivered anywhere else at this scale or with this commitment to a wide range of customers who have a series of different living and financial vulnerabilities. There are a lot of stakeholders involved, with whom Advance has created excellent partnership arrangements. This is a truly wonderful programme and a very valuable service that empowers people with disabilities into home ownership."
How can I find more information?
Our leaflet on the website explains the scheme in more detail. There is a wealth of information available on charity websites and other sites. We know people do a lot of research into housing options before they come to us – and we strongly recommend you do so.
Some useful reading is the Local Government Association overview `Home ownership for people with long-term disabilities (HOLD)'. You can learn more about Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) here: https://www.gov.uk/support-for-mortgage-interest
We also recommend looking at the MySafeHome website and Government Help to Buy website in the first instance. You will need to register with your regional Help to Buy agent if you proceed with the scheme – and most likely need to use MySafeHome to access a mortgage.
We also recommend you register with your Local Authority or the Local Authority in the area you wish to live so that they can advise you on housing options in your area.
I want to apply what do I do next?
If you think that our shared ownership scheme could be right for you please complete our online enquiry form. It covers the three qualifying criteria and gathers other information which will help us review your enquiry.
If you are thinking of future options for you, your son or daughter but are not ready to make an enquiry or don’t meet all our criteria at this time please do still get in touch by email or call us on 0333 012 4307.