How does shared ownership work?

I am struggling to buy a property as the prices are so expensive. I know nothing about shared ownership and wonder what buying “a share” of a property involves.
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Question: I have been trying to buy a house of my own recently, but I am really struggling because the price of property is just so expensive. My colleague has said that I should look into shared ownership but, to be honest, though I have heard about it, I know nothing about it. What does buying “a share” of a property involve?
Answer: Shared ownership combines renting with buying part of a property. It is available through housing associations, and is sometimes called “registered providers”.
You can buy from 25 per cent to 75 per cent and pay rent on the share you do not own. You will need a mortgage to fund the share you buy and a deposit or reservation fee may be payable.
A mortgage valuation and/or survey fee will be payable plus legal fees, search fees and Land Registry fees. Stamp Duty Land Tax may also apply.
If you buy a flat or a house that has the use of communal areas, you may have to pay an annual service charge, so you have to budget carefully.
You may qualify for shared ownership if you are a first-time buyer or rent a council or housing association property and your household earns (in London) £66,000 or less for a one or two-bedroom property or £80,000 for a three-bedroom property.
If you can afford it, you may buy more shares in your property (up to 100 per cent in most cases) and this process is called “staircasing”.
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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Fiona is legal director in the real estate group of Foot Anstey LLP in Exeter (
These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor. 

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