FAQs - Shared Ownership

What’s the difference between “shared ownership” and “part rent/ part buy”?

There’s no difference between the two: ‘part rent/ part buy’ is just an older term for shared ownership. 

How long does it take for you to assess my application form?

If you apply using our on-line application form we will give you a response within 4 working days although in more than 90% of cases we actually send a response within 1 working day.  


I’ve had a letter from you saying I am headline approved for Help to Buy but nothing has happened since. What do I need to do next?

All headline approved applicants are added to our database and if you have named a provider (usually a housing association) on your form they will be notified that you have been approved for the scheme.

You should contact the Housing Association you are interested in buying with to ask about the next steps.

If you have not named a provider on your form and have not found a home you would like to buy yet, your next step is to start looking for a home.

 You can also use our Property Search to look for properties available or coming soon in the areas where you want to buy. You can also contact Housing Associations direct to find out what homes they have available. You can find a list of providers here.


Why do I apply to Help to Buy Midlands when I want to buy a shared ownership property from a different organisation?

Help to Buy Midlands is the government agency for homeownership schemes in the region.  You apply to us so that we can check you meet the main eligibility criteria. 

The advantage of this is that, once we’ve give you headline approval, you shouldn’t have to fill in any other application forms, even if you’re potentially looking at several properties being sold by different Housing Associations.

All registered Housing Associations in the area have electronic access to our database and will download your form directly from us. 

I’m thinking of buying a property under the Shared Ownership scheme. If I buy a share in one of these properties, who is responsible for the repairs and upkeep?

As the homeowner, you are responsible.  This will be detailed in the terms of your lease. Please speak to the housing association you are buying from for more information. 

I’ve seen a property on your website that I’m interested in but it says it is a Re-Sale property – what does this mean?

Re-sale properties are ones which were bought under shared ownership when new and the current owner is now selling.  You can also purchase the property under shared ownership if you are eligible.

I’m a homeowner but our flat is now too small for our growing family. We’d like to move to a larger property but we’re struggling to afford it. Can I apply for shared ownership?

Although shared ownership is primarily aimed at first time buyers, existing homeowners are also sometimes eligible.  Tell us on your application form why you need to move and if our assessment shows that you may have a housing need, we will ask you to talk to your local authority.  You will need to ask them for a Local Authority Nomination – this means that they’re prepared to support your application for shared ownership.  Once we have a copy of this nomination, we will be able to give you headline approval to proceed, providing you meet all the other eligibility criteria.  Please note that you will need to sell your existing home before or on the same day as you buy your new property.

I bought a 50% share in a Shared Ownership property a while ago and I now would like to buy more shares in my home – can I do this?

You should be able to buy further shares although you will need to check the terms of your lease.  This is called Staircasing and you can find out more on our Shared Ownership page.  Some schemes, particularly in rural areas, may have restrictions on how big a share of the property you can own.

Do I have to buy the remaining shares in my shared ownership property within a certain period?

There’s no requirement with shared ownership for you to buy the remaining shares in your home if you don’t want, or can’t afford to.  So if you originally bought a 50% share, you’re not under any obligation to buy the other 50% at any point in the future.

If I buy under shared ownership, I will be a leaseholder, not a freeholder. Why is that?

With shared ownership, you own a share in the property but not the entire property.  The rest of your home will be owned by the Housing Association you bought it from and you’ll be paying them a subsidised rent on their share.  The Housing Association retains the freehold.   

What are service charges?

Service charges can cover a range or services, such as grounds maintenance or major repairs, but it will all depend on the terms of your lease.    It’s a good idea to talk to the Housing Association you’re buying from about service charges before you commit to buying the property.  This will help you to clarify what, if any, service charges apply, what they cover and how much they will be.

I want to buy a 25% share in my property but I’m being told I’ve got to buy a 50% share – why is that?

Firstly, the particular scheme you’re interested in may only be offering 50% shares and nothing lower.  Equally, in order to make the funding for shared ownership help as many people as possible, buyers are asked to maximise the share they buy.   The housing association will look at your income and outgoings and work out what you can sustainably afford, which may be a higher share than you had anticipated.