Part-owning housing problem

PUBLISHED: 12:40 18 May 2006 | UPDATED: 14:42 12 May 2010

THERE was roar of laughter at a recent parish council meeting when it was revealed that the eight couples on the waiting list who had looked at an affordable home for sale here in the Eversdens just could not afford it. This levity was not, I emphasise, d

THERE was roar of laughter at a recent parish council meeting when it was revealed that the eight couples on the waiting list who had looked at an affordable home for sale here in the Eversdens just could not afford it.

This levity was not, I emphasise, directed at the plight of the homeless. It merely highlighted the first of the many pitfalls associated with entering into a contract to supposedly get on to the first rung of the ladder of a so called affordable home housing scheme.

Just how affordable is affordable housing?

The conditions of tenure will vary from one housing association to another. They are both many and complicated and need thorough and careful scrutiny.

These schemes are loosely described as enabling the purchaser to get on the first rung of the ladder towards home ownership. Some houses are available with 50 per cent mortgages, others at 25 per cent. but do not assume that every housing association permits total home ownership. Certain housing associations retain 20% ownership of the house ad infinitum so whoever occupies it, they will never own it in full.

Having elected to go along this route the next discovery is that not every building society is kindly disposed to those wanting a home of this nature and are just not interested in the applicant.

Those who are will need to know details of the monthly rent the purchaser would be expected to pay each month to the housing association as decided by the local authority and of course council tax dues.

These sums are deducted from the applicants annual income figure before a mortgage figure and the monthly repayments to the building society are decided.

If as time goes on the tenant wishes to pay off more of their mortgage they then pay out surveyors fees for the present day value of their home to be decided. It is on these figures that negotiations are conducted.

Should the resident of one of these homes wish to move on, the housing association stipulate that they must have six and in some cases eight weeks in which to offer the house to the next person on the waiting list. After that the property can be put up for sale on the open market.

The same conditions of tenure will still apply but it does avoid the points system which determines any position a would-be purchaser may have on the local authorities waiting list.

It is not my job to elaborate on the differences between housing associations. One local parish council chairman now feels that they as a parish council gave insufficient scrutiny to their conditions of tenure before allowing affordable housing to be built there.

Having a relative living in a part-ownership home I can state that affordable housing is not affordable.

The only ones to benefit are the housing associations themselves and the vendor of the land on which they are built.

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