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.  If you have any other 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 which offers a route into home ownership for people with a disability who might not be able to afford to buy a property through traditional routes.  If you enter into shared ownership with Advance, you would own a share of the property and pay rent to Advance on the remaining share.

Who is HOLD for?

HOLD is for 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, enduring mental health issues and long term illnesses which impact day-to-day living. An individual, couple, group of friends, or a small family can access the scheme.

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 funds available to buy between 25% and 75% of the property price. Please read: How is Shared Ownership is funded
  • If you or someone in your household are in paid employment, have a total household income of less than £80,000 per year
  • Want to live in an area where we provide HOLD

Funding your purchase is important. You'll find information about this below.

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)

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 or through a developer on a new estate but as standard property, not shared ownership – 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.

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 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 your home 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 staircasing.

Is there a minimum % share you need to buy in the property?

New owners may be able to 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 available from Homes England. It differs form region to region and is very much depended on the budget of each party. We can discuss this with you.

Funding 

How can I fund my share of the property purchase?

There are several ways you can fund your share of the purchase.

  1. If you have no employed income in the household or limited income plus certain benefits 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 following 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 funds available to buy at least a 25% share of the property price. A breakdown of this will be provided to you by MySafeHome when you contact them.
  2. 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
  3. Additional funding from inheritance, other family members or trust funds that is sufficient to buy your share and pay for associated costs. This amount will depend on the property price and your own personal circumstances.
  4. Funding from a Health Provider e.g. NHS, Department of Health or local authority
  5. A combination of 1 and 3 and 4

How does Advance fund their share of the property purchase?

Advance’s share is purchased using a grant from Homes England. This dictates the 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 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 or limited income plus 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 before arranging your mortgage. The HOLD mortgage is not subject to changes in interest to the same extent as a normal 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. You will need 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 also need to cover moving costs, furniture and adaptations if required or you can apply for a Disabled Facility Grant. You will also need to pay stamp duty if you are not a first time buyer.

You will need to pay rent on the property and service charges to cover essential repairs and maintenance. 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. We will discuss all of this with you so you know what you can afford, before you start searching for a property.

I don’t have enough of my own money to cover the deposit and fees – what can I do?

We know that having money 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. Families, friends' and other sources’ contribution can be protected by registering it as a Legal charge against the property. Please get advice from a qualified solicitor on this.
  • 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

The process

How long does the process normally take to complete?

Each purchase and each property search is different so there is no set time, but the process will take at least 6 months. Our aim is to support people through the process and help them to find the right home and make the right decision for them. If you are in urgent housing need then the HOLD shared ownership might not be the right solution for you. In this case, please contact your local authority’s housing needs team.

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 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 could buy the other person's 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 have 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: customerengagement@advanceuk.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 that disability shouldn’t be a barrier to home ownership.

We started our shared ownership programme in 1998 and have supported around 1000 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."

More information

How can I find more information?

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 this.

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.

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 your housing options.

I want to apply what do I do next?

If you think that the HOLD 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 or a family member 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.