Social Housing Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions about Social Housing
Below are key questions we've been asked about social housing - so we thought it would be helpful to publish them! There are many expert organisations set up to answer and help those with social housing.

If you are thinking about buying into shared ownership, then it's worth contacting us via email: enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk or call on 0845 838 1763.

However if you have any other queries, it's better to contact the expert organisations that can help you - better than us! If you don't get an answer though, do email/call and we'll see if we can't find out who can help you.

What is social housing?
Social housing is typically property that is available for people or families who cannot afford to buy or rent in the private sector. However now that social housing is run, owned and managed by housing associations, social housing can be supplied by housing associations renting from private sector tenants. Housing associations can also sell properties in whole or part to private individuals who qualify to own.

Need more help? There are two key agencies which have replaced the Housing Corporation that should be able to help you. Visit Homes and Communities and the Tenant Services Authority.

Who is eligible for social housing?
Social housing is supplied to people that are in desperate need in the short term (just been repossessed, had an accident) and for long term occupation for those that can't work for example. Others eligible to part own/rent social housing vary from area to area but typically include 'key workers' such as teachers, firemen, nurses or the police.

Need more help? There are two key agencies which have replaced the Housing Corporation that should be able to help you. Visit Homes and Communities and the Tenant Services Authority. Or you can also contact Shelter and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Who are 'key workers'?
Key workers are people who work for the government, typically in poorly paid work, such as those in the NHS whether they are a nurse or a cleaner.

Need more help? There are two key agencies which have replaced the Housing Corporation that should be able to help you. Visit Homes and Communities and the Tenant Services Authority. Or you can also contact Shelter and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

What is Shared Ownership?
Shared ownership schemes allow eligible people to buy a proportion of a property, typically 25, 50 and 75%. You can purchase your percentage with a specialist shared ownership mortgage and then pay rent to the housing association on the percentage of the property they retain. 

Need more help? Visit Homes and Communities or email your question to enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk

What is the New Build HomeBuy Scheme?
These are homes (houses or flats) newly built by a housing association. They are sold on a leasehold basis and you can purchase from 25% to 75% of the property's value. When and if you can afford to, overtime you can purchase the property outright. 

Need more help? Visit Homes and Communities or email your question to enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk

What is the Open Market HomeBuy?
Open Market HomeBuy is similar to New Build HomeBuy Scheme, the only difference being that the properties bought are already built - not new. This is one of the schemes that is being used to help people who would otherwise be repossessed.

Need more help? Visit Homes and Communities or email your question to enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk

What is Social HomeBuy
This is were a Housing Association or Council Tenant can purchase their social home IF this scheme is on offer. You have to be an existing 'secure' or 'assured' tenant to qualify. You can purchase from 25% of the home. You may be able to purchase the home you live in under this scheme, including a discount even if you don't qualify for 'Right to Buy'. 

Need more help? There are two key agencies which have replaced the Housing Corporation that should be able to help you. Visit Homes and Communities and the Tenant Services Authority. Or you can also contact Shelter and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Are New Build Shared Ownership properties inferior to normal new builds?
Your surveyor or snagging survey expert will be able to reassure you on the specific property you are looking at. However, in general, the builders of social housing are the same as builders for private housing and are typically built on the same plot. This is partly because under new government planning guidelines, to gain planning permission to build private new homes, developers need to release 10-15% of the space for social housing.  

Need more help? There are two key agencies which have replaced the Housing Corporation that should be able to help you. Visit Homes and Communities and the Tenant Services Authority. Or you can also contact Shelter and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

What is the First Time Buyer Initiative?
This forms part of the HomeBuy scheme which already exists (above). It is run by English Partnerships and half of the properties will go to key workers, the other to people/couples earning up to £60,000 a year, but can't afford to buy locally. You need to be able to afford to buy at least 50% of the property and initially you won't pay any additional rent as you would with other HomeBuy Schemes.

Need more help? Visit Homes and Communities or email your question to enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk

If I think I might be repossessed will I be able to apply for social housing?
You need to deal with any potential repossession before you renege on payments to the lender. They may be able to help keep you in your home, but the more behind you get on your payments and if it's clear that you can't afford the mortgage on-going you may lose it. Your local authority has a duty to ensure you have somewhere to live unless you made yourself 'intentionally' homeless.

Need more help? Visit Shelter for a free assessment form to work out what options are available to you and visit their help on what to do if you are going to be repossessed. Our article on repossession maybe helpful too.

Can any solicitor carry out conveyancing for shared ownership?
In theory yes, but it is much better to use a legal company that is used to dealing with shared ownership purchases and sales. Be aware that you may have to pay slightly more, around £100, as the legal work is more involved than buying a property with a mortgage.

Need more help? Then email your question to enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk and we can help save you money on shared ownership conveyancing and legals.

Do all mortgage lenders have loans for shared ownership properties?
No they don't, so it's quite important to seek specialist advice from an independent financial advisor that has experience of shared ownership lending.

Need more help? Then email your question to enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk and we can help save you money with shared ownership lenders.

What is 'right to acquire' (RTA)?
This allows certain tenants of social housing to purchase the property they live in - and receive a discount too! There are lots of conditions attached, so you need to check with your local housing association contact whether you are eligible or not.

Need more help? There are two key agencies which have replaced the Housing Corporation that should be able to help you. Visit Homes and Communities and the Tenant Services Authority. Or you can also contact Shelter and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

What is a 'preserved right to buy'?
If you are currently an ‘assured tenant' in social housing, then you are not necessarily eligible for a normal ‘Right to Buy'. However if you have been a 'secure tenant' in the past, you may be able to purchase your current home under the Preserved Right to Buy scheme. It isn't too straight forward to purchase under this scheme but the discount may not be as good.

Need more help? There are two key agencies which have replaced the Housing Corporation that should be able to help you. Visit Homes and Communities and the Tenant Services Authority. Or you can also contact Shelter and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

I can't keep up with my rent and know I will be evicted, I have no where else to go, what do I do?
You need to deal with any potential underpayment or non payment of rent before it happens. Speak to the letting agent/landlord immediately. Your local authority has a duty to ensure you have somewhere to live unless you made yourself 'intentionally' homeless.

Need more help? Visit Shelter for a free assessment form to work out what options are available to you.

 

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