Owning a home through shared ownership is different to renting one or buying one outright. You do treat a shared ownership home like your own – paint, decorate and add all of your own personal touches. But if you’re thinking of having a new kitchen or bathroom, or doing other major renovations, you’ll need to check with Oxford City Council – after all, they also part-own your home!
With shared ownership you have all of the responsibilities of a homeowner. This means you’ll need to cover minor, day-to-day repairs such as changing a lightbulb, making sure the boiler is serviced or arranging repairs for your fridge, freezer or washing machine (although these usually come with manufacturers guarantees). We’ll talk you through how to use everything in your home when you move in, and provide you with a Home User Guide which explains it all as well.
Oxford City Council will contribute to paying for essential repairs, the same as if you were renting privately. Click here if you need to report a defect or a repair.
You will need to make sure you have contents insurance – building insurance is included as part of your rent.
Why do shared ownership homes have a service charge, and what does it cover?
Our shared ownership apartments have a service charge to cover the costs of maintaining the communal areas – just like any other apartment block. It could go up or down in line with inflation and the costs of living. How much the charge costs depends on the facilities at the apartments.
There may also be a service charge if you buy a shared ownership home which isn’t an apartment. Whilst you are a shared owner of a house there are administrative charges for the share that you don’t own and sometimes these homes are on a wider estate that requires looking after, ie. grass cutting and grounds maintenance.
Can I sublet a shared ownership home, or rent out a room?
Shared ownership is designed to help people on to the housing ladder in a genuinely affordable way. In Oxford we’re very careful to make sure that paying the rent, mortgage and other costs is possible (and those costs add up to less than 45% of your household income), so you should be able to manage without needing to rent out a room.
It’s fine if you want to informally rent your spare bedroom to a friend with no formal rental agreement in place. But you can’t sublet the entire home or rent out bedrooms using formal rental agreements.
Speak to us if you are considering buying a shared ownership home and want to rent out a room.
Can I buy more shares in my home?
Staircasing is the term for buying a bigger share of your home. Think of it like climbing the housing ladder! The more of your home you own, the lower your rent will be. All OX Place homes come with the option to buy a bigger share in the future if you can afford to do so. Most of our homes can eventually be bought outright, meaning you own 100% of it and will stop paying rent to Oxford City Council.
How easy is it to sell a shared ownership home in the future?
Demand for affordable homes in Oxford is many times higher than the number of homes available. So you should always be able to sell your share of your shared ownership home.
The actual sale is a little more complex than if you were selling a home you owned outright (or with a mortgage) but that’s not a barrier to people wanting to buy shared ownership homes – it wasn’t to you, was it?
Shared ownership is a great way to get on the housing ladder. It’s a government-backed scheme which allows you to buy part of a home – between 10% and 75% initially – and pay rent on the rest.
You’ll still need a deposit – but it’s low at just 5% – as well as a way to buy the share (usually a mortgage), the same as if you were buying all of a property.
In Oxford we’re careful to make sure that your total shared ownership costs (mortgage and rent) will always be less than if you were renting a like-for-like property privately. We use the money we make from selling a share to you to invest in council services and in developing more affordable homes for people in Oxford.