Frequently Asked Questions

What is Homeownership Westminster?

It is a free service set up by Westminster Council to help those who live or work in Westminster to find their way around the different types of intermediate housing schemes to buy or to rent.

The service will:

  • help people to work out which type of scheme they could afford to rent or buy
  • register people to receive updates about property developments and opportunities to purchase or rent in or around Westminster.

What type of schemes does Homeownership Westminster cover?

Shared Ownership
Also known as part-buy /part-rent schemes (including new build or resale properties), an applicant can start off buying as little as 25% of the value of the home, increasing the amount they own as they can afford to purchase more.

Discounted Market Sale (DMS)

There are various DMS models in the property market, the most common version of the product in Westminster, in terms of resale opportunities, is currently at Fermoy Road. At this development you purchase a home (a resale property) which is discounted by 20% on the full market value, when you sell the property the 20% discount is reapplied to the next purchaser.

Intermediate Rent (IMR)

Renting a property on a short-term basis at 20%-40% less than private market rents. Tenancy lengths and terms vary depending on the housing provider.

Accelerator Scheme

A sub market rented scheme that enables eligible participants to build up housing equity whilst renting, prior to a move on in to home ownership.

For further details regarding this product please visit http://dolphinliving.com/accelerator/

Low Income Workers Scheme

A rental scheme offered to households on an income of £20,000 or less, and offered for a limited period of three years only.

Are low cost homeownership schemes only available to key workers, council tenants and Housing Association tenants?

No. The schemes are available to these groups, but also to first time buyers (and current home owners who will have sold their property prior to completing on an intermediate housing opportunity) who have an annual household income of less than £90,000.

Can people make an appointment to speak to a member of the Homeownership Westminster team?

Yes. Please telephone 0800 783 4849 to make an appointment to speak to a member of the Homeownership Westminster team, we are based at:

Westminster City Council
137 Lupus Street
Pimlico, SW1V 3EN                                                        

What is Shared Ownership?

Shared Ownership is where you purchase a share of a property (the minimum purchase share is 25%) by raising a mortgage for the share price. Rent is paid on the remainder of the purchase price.

These schemes are operated by Housing Associations which usually offer newly built properties in developments. Re-sales of shared ownership properties also become available if the owner wishes to sell their share to a new purchaser.

Further shares can be purchased as and when the purchaser is able to afford it. This is known as stair-casing and can usually be done to a maximum share of 100%.

If you are a Housing Association tenant, you may be able to purchase a share in the home you currently rent. This type of shared ownership scheme is called Social Help to Buy.


What is the Help to Buy – Equity Loan Scheme?

Under the Help to Buy – Equity Loan Scheme, a first time buyer can buy part of a new build property by raising a mortgage. The remaining part of the property is funded by a government backed equity loan (In London, this is up to a maximum of 40% of the property value). There are no restrictions on your level of household income with this scheme, also you don’t have to have a local live or work connection to the London borough in which you wish to buy the property.

The property purchased must be available on the open market ie a freehold or leasehold property. The purchaser can not use the equity loan to buy a share in a Shared Ownership property offered by a Housing Association or a council owned home.

If the purchaser chooses to sell the property, the government is entitled to receive their share of the value of the property at the time of sale. (i.e. if the property is worth more than it was at the time of the original purchase, then the split in the increased value (equity) is based on the owner’s purchase share and the government’s equity loan share.

Currently, there are no Help to Buy – Equity Loan properties available for purchase in Westminster. For opportunities in other London boroughs, please visit http://www.helptobuylondon.co.uk/ (clicking on the link will take you away from this website).


Can I buy with someone else?

Yes, with affordable housing schemes you can purchase with someone else, provided that they are also a first time buyer and that your joint household income does not exceed £90,000.


How many forms do I need to fill out?

You only need to fill out one registration form. If you meet our eligibility criteria, we will use the information you provide to assess the type of schemes you can apply for. Please note you have an obligation to inform the service of any subsequent changes in your circumstances once you have registered with the service, to ensure your registration remains valid.

You may need to fill out additional application forms depending on the scheme you buy your property through.


What type of properties can I buy?

The type of property you can buy depends on the scheme you apply for.

Shared Ownership properties tend to be flats in new build development blocks. They are mostly one or two bedroom flats, although occasionally three bedroom flats are available.