How Shared Ownership works

How Shared Ownership works

Understand how Shared Ownership works with this comprehensive guide. Learn the basics, pros and cons, and steps to buying a Shared Ownership home.


Shared Ownership is simply another way to buy your home. You might have heard of it before or heard misconceptions about what it really is, but Shared Ownership can be explained quite easily.

You buy a share, pay rent on the rest and, most often, pay a service charge. Guinness owns part of it – but you’re living there, you decorate it and you decide when the time is right to sell. The share you buy is funded by a mortgage in the usual way.

Buying a share percentage typically means a smaller deposit and lower mortgage payments. A smaller mortgage means smaller repayments, but it’s important to note that besides a mortgage, with Shared Ownership you’ll also need to pay each month:

Low-cost rent on the on the share of the property you don’t own
Monthly service charge
Ground rent (in select cases)

New build and existing Shared Ownership homes

Shared Ownership properties don’t have to just be new builds, they can be for existing properties, houses or flats. All properties are leasehold, even houses.

Check our jargon buster to understand some of the common terms you will come across in your journey. If you are currently renting a property, then check our guide on Shared Ownership pros and cons.

At Guinness Homes, we sell both new-build and resale properties. Resale properties are from existing Guinness Homes customers. Search for a property today.

Am I eligible for Shared Ownership?

To be eligible for Shared Ownership, you need to be: over the age of 18, a resident in the UK, don’t currently own a property (unless selling), and unable to purchase on the open-market.

Your maximum household annual income should be less than £80,000 (this is increased to £90,000 if you are buying a home in London).

If you are not sure if you are eligible, please contact us to discuss your situation.

Buying more shares with staircasing

As your finances allow, you can choose to buy a greater share in the property – this is known as ‘staircasing’. Eventually you may be able to buy 100% of the home (by incrementally buying additional shares, sometimes up to 100%), your rent is re-calculated and reduced proportionately.

Usually, you will buy further shares as and when you can afford to. That could either be at the beginning or after you’ve moved in. This is called Staircasing. It’s important to understand that there are other charges involved in staircasing.

How much deposit do I need?

Buying a share means you need a smaller mortgage and therefore the deposit required will most likely be significantly lower than if you were purchasing the property outright because you only need a deposit on the share you are buying. This makes it a much more cost effective way to own your own home – ideal for first-time buyers.

The exact deposit figure depends on several factors: 

    • The full market value of the property

    • The size of the share you are purchasing

    • Your mortgage lender

    • Your credit rating

You should expect to have at least 5% deposit saved.

For example: A 25% share of a property with a full market value of £400,000 is £100,000. A 5% deposit of the share price (£100,000) is £5,000. ​​

Your mortgage advisor will be able to tell you the exact amount of deposit you need. You can contact one of our panel of mortgage brokers to obtain a Mortgage in Principle.

Deposit for Shared Ownership

Do I have to get a mortgage?

You’ll need to be able to get a mortgage, or have savings to cover the price of the share. If you can obtain a mortgage, you will be encouraged to do so as this will enable you to buy a larger share at the outset. 

You should remember that you need to pay your mortgage and rent payments each month as well as the usual household outgoings. To help you, we’ll carry out an affordability to make sure you won’t be stretching yourself too much financially.

You can contact one of our panel of mortgage brokers to obtain a Mortgage in Principle.

Keys for a house

What is the service charge for?

The service charge you pay covers your Buildings Insurance premium and those areas not owned by you or the council, such as communal hallways or communal gardens. 

If you own a house (including even when you just own a Share Percentage), you are responsible for all repairs and maintenance to the inside and outside of your home.

Service charge for Shared Ownership

If you own an apartment, you maintain the inside. We’ll take care of day-to-day repairs, maintenance and decoration to the outside of the apartments and any shared areas. Your service charge covers the payment for this, which may include:

  • Cost of repairing and replacing communal lighting.
  • Cost of general repairs to communal areas.
  • Cleaning communal areas.
  • Maintenance and repair of communal door entry systems.
  • Gardening and grounds maintenance of communal areas.
  • Lift maintenances, servicing, and repair, including the emergency telephone.
  • Management charge and audit fees.
  • Buildings insurance.
  • Reserve fund for decorations and/or major works.

If you’re an apartment homeowner with Guinness Homes and have spotted something that needs fixing, please contact the Homeowners team.

If you’re unhappy or have questions about service charges, please contact The Guinness Partnership.

The Leasehold Advisory Service offers independent, free advice to leaseholders and shared owners. You can call them on 020 7832 2500 or visit their website.

FAQ’s

How to apply for Shared Ownership?

Just register your details with us at guinnesshomes.co.uk/apply to apply online today. We recommend speaking to a member of the sales team associated with the development you’re interested in before applying for a new home. The sales team can explain the specifics on a case-by-case basis and assist you with your application. You can contact a sales team member by making an enquiry or requesting a viewing (if this option is available at your chosen development) prior to submitting an application.

Do I have to share my property?

No, you do not share the property or have to live with another person. It means you own a portion of the property and pay rent on the part you don’t hold to us.

Buying a house with friends, a spouse, or a partner is known as joint ownership.

Is there an age limit for Shared Ownership?

There is no age limit for buying a home using Shared Ownership as long as you are over 18 years of age. There is no upper age limit that applies.

Do you pay stamp duty?

First-time buyers under Shared Ownership schemes can now claim First-Time Buyers Stamp Duty relief on homes worth up to £500,000. This means that you will not have to pay any Stamp Duty if you are a first-time buyer and you could save up to £15,000.

If the property you are buying is worth over £500,000, or if you have previously owned a home, you will pay the standard rates of Stamp Duty and will not qualify for first-time buyer’s relief. Your solicitor will be able to give you more advice on the best way to pay it depending on your circumstances.

Further guidance on Stamp Duty can be found on the Government website: www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax/shared-ownership-property

If you will be liable to pay Stamp Duty, then you can calculate how much it will be here: www.tax.service.gov.uk/calculate-stamp-duty-land-tax/#/intro 

I’m an existing home owner, can I use Shared Ownership?

Yes, you can.

Shared Ownership is often overlooked by existing homeowners or a misconception that because you’re a homeowner, you cannot own a Shared Ownership property.

We ask that you have a buyer waiting to purchase your existing home as you must have completed the sale of your home on or before the date you complete buying your Shared Ownership home.

To demonstrate you have a buyer waiting to purchase your existing home you will need: 

  • Formally accepted an offer for the sale of your current home (called ‘sold subject to contract’ or ‘STC’)
  • Written confirmation of the sale agreed (called a ‘memorandum of sale’) including the price and your intention to sell
Do I have to send you financial information?

We ask you to send us some financial information when you apply for Shared Ownership. Our team will assess whether you can afford to buy and sustain a home.

How long does Shared Ownership take to complete?

We aim to let you know you have been approved to apply to reserve a property within 5 working days of you notifying us of your interest by completing an application form.

Once you have applied and been approved, you will send us your reservation form, deposit and documentation.

The process usually takes an average of 6-8 weeks from this point. This depends on whether the home is ready and whether the legal formalities have been completed.

The volume of applications, the rate at which the development is built, the weather can also affect the pace at which the development is built.

Sometimes, the legal process can take additional time to ensure the formalities are all complete.

Is it first come, first reserved?

If there are more applications than there are properties, a priority order comes into play to ensure that best use is made of the available homes.

Does it matter if the deposit is gifted?

No, it does not matter if the deposit is gifted.

Money can be gifted by family or friends towards your purchase.

Your mortgage lender will require this to be a gift rather than a loan.

Do I have to get a mortgage?

If you can obtain a mortgage, you will be encouraged to do so as this will enable you to buy a larger share at the outset.

You can contact one of our panel of mortgage brokers to obtain a Mortgage in Principle.

How much mortgage do I need?

You need to be able to buy at least the minimum share at the outset.  We’ll let you know what the minimum share is that you can purchase.

You can contact one of our panel of mortgage brokers to obtain a Mortgage in Principle.

How much deposit for Shared Ownership?

This depends on the full market value of the property and the size of the share you are purchasing, your mortgage lender and your credit rating.

The benefit of Shared Ownership is that the deposit required will be significantly lower than if you were purchasing the property outright because you only need a deposit on the share you are buying.

You should expect to have at least 5% deposit saved.

Your mortgage advisor will tell you the exact amount of deposit you need.

You can contact one of our panel of mortgage brokers to get a Mortgage in Principle.

Can I buy Shared Ownership without a mortgage?

If you cannot obtain a mortgage, you can speak to us about purchasing your share with your savings.

What size of property can I buy?

You are free to purchase a home with no restrictions on the number of bedrooms determined by the household size.

Can you have pets in Shared Ownership?

You may be able to keep a pet in your home, but you must ask us first.

In most circumstances, you are not able to keep a cat or a dog if you share an entrance door/ hallway with other people.

Your lease often restricts the ownership of livestock (including chickens), and you should consider the impact having pets may have on neighbouring properties.

What properties are available through Guinness Homes?

We will keep this website updated with all the properties as they become available. You can also save your property search to be notified by email of new properties that are added to the website.

Take a look at our new build homes or resales.

What is the service charge in Shared Ownership?

The charge covers your Buildings Insurance premium and those areas not owned by you or the council. The service charged is by Guinness Homes or the housing association.

Can I buy less than the minimum share?

We cannot consider applications from customers who cannot purchase the minimum share.

Can I buy more than the minimum share?

Yes, as long as you can afford the monthly repayments required as assessed by us.

If I buy a bigger share does the rent payment change?

Yes, if you buy more than the minimum share, the monthly rental payment falls accordingly.

Does rent increase for Shared Ownership?

Yes, the rent paid to us on the share not owned by you will be reviewed periodically, usually every year, and will be increased in line with any proportionate increase in the Retail Prices Index plus an amount, typically between 0.5% and 2%.

These rent rises will be explained to you by your solicitor.

Do you arrange my mortgage for me?

No, however, we recommend you contact one of our panel of brokers for help to make an application to a lender.

What is a Mortgage in Principle?

A Mortgage in Principle (sometimes called an Agreement in Principle) is confirmation from a lender that they would be willing to consider you for a certain amount.

You can contact one of our panel of mortgage brokers to obtain a Mortgage in Principle.

I’m an existing owner. Can I use Shared Ownership?

Yes. We ask that you have a buyer waiting to purchase your existing home as this will need to be sold at the same time as you using Shared Ownership.

Do you offer rent to buy schemes?

We do not currently have any plans to offer a rent to buy scheme.

Can I get Shared Ownership with CCJ?

If you have an unsatisfied County Court Judgement (CCJ) in your name, we cannot offer you a Shared Ownership home. 

If your judgement has been satisfied (paid back) and you can provide a certificate of satisfaction from the court. We can consider your application for Shared Ownership.

You can search online to see if there is a County Court Judgement in your name.

When can I view my new home?

If you are purchasing a brand new property from us, then we’ll arrange a viewing when the property is complete, and it is safe to enter.

We sell some of our new homes “off-plan” as the homes are not ready to view at the time a reservation is being made. Ask your Sales Consultant if there is a show home or a view home available.

How do you buy more shares in Shared Ownership?

Yes, you can buy additional shares either at the outset of your initial purchase or at a later date. The cost of the additional shares is based on the market value of the property at the time that you purchase the shares.

If you increase your share in the property, your rent is re-calculated and reduced proportionately. Usually, you will be able to buy further shares as and when you can afford to. That could either be at the beginning or after you’ve moved in.

How do I rent from you?

Visit our main website to find out more information.

Do you offer help to buy?

Help to Buy is no longer available.

Help to Buy was a scheme in the UK to help people get on the property ladder by making it easier to secure a mortgage.

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