Tenants in social housing can buy part of their home, if they cannot afford to buy their home in full. They and their social housing landlord own equity in the property.
House sales scheme
Under the House Sales Scheme, eligible tenants of social housing landlords have the right to buy their homes at a discount. They're tenants of the Housing Executive or registered housing associations.
This scheme will close for tenants of registered housing associations in Northern Ireland on 28 August 2022. Such tenants will however be able to make an application to purchase their homes up until midnight on 27 August 2022. Tenants should contact their landlord for further information. Tenants of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive are not affected by the ending of the scheme, and will still be able to access the Housing Executive’s Right to Buy scheme.
Equity sharing your home
Equity sharing is part of the House Sales scheme. The process follows the same rules as buying all the property from the Housing Executive or a housing association.
Buying part of your home
If you can't afford to buy the entire property, you can apply to buy what you can afford. You must buy at least 25 per cent of the property's equity. You can increase your equity share at any time, which is known as 'staircasing'.
If you are buying a housing association property, you need to provide independent financial evidence showing the maximum equity that you can afford.
If other family members want to buy the property jointly with the tenant, the landlord will take into account their finances to work out what they can afford.
Leaseholder of the property
When you buy part of the property, you're the leaseholder and no longer a tenant.
For more information, contact the Housing Executive or your housing association:
You're entitled to discount based on the part of the property you buy. This will be awarded at the maximum discount available to the tenant or the scheme maximum of £24,000, whichever is lower.
Discount is only awarded to a tenant and not a leaseholder.
The leaseholder pays reduced rent, calculated on the amount of equity retained by the landlord. The rent will be reduced to cover maintenance of the property.
When the amount for maintenance is agreed, this stays the same while the leaseholder pays rent.
The leaseholder is responsible for paying rates. They should pay rates directly to Land & Property Services (LPS) as the landlord won't collect rates on their behalf.
For flats or maisonettes, the buyer or leaseholder must also pay an annual service charge.
Maintenance and repairs
The leaseholder is responsible for maintenance and repairs, regardless of how much equity they buy.
For more information on the House Sales Scheme including equity sharing, contact the Housing Executive or your housing association: