Buying a home through shared ownership is an affordable way of getting onto the property ladder. It works by buying a share of the property, based on what someone can afford, and paying rent on the remaining share which is owned by Irwell Valley Homes. Shared ownership is not about sharing your home with someone else – it is your home; you just share the ownership of it with us. You are free to decorate it and make it your own and you can also sell your part of it too if you need to move. 

If you bought your home through the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire schemes or have purchased a property from someone who previously purchased through either of the schemes, you will either be a leaseholder or a freeholder. Generally, apartments are leasehold and houses freehold. 

If Irwell Valley Homes sells a house, or a Shared Owner goes onto buy 100% of their property, we would usually sell it as a freehold.  As a freeholder you own the deeds to the property and own the property outright and there is no time limit. 

How shared ownership leases work

We grant a lease under the shared ownership terms for a specific length of time (usually 99 or 125 years initially, though recent leases will be for 990 years). This entitles you to live in your home as an owner-occupier, allows you to buy further shares in the property, and allows you to sell the property if you want to move. 

Although you have not bought your home outright, you have the normal rights and responsibilities of a full owner-occupier and are responsible for the maintenance of your home. 

Until you buy your home outright you will pay: 

  • service charges (if applicable) on the share that you own  
  • rent for the remaining share that we own. 
Buying more shares

If you want to buy more shares in your home, you can do so by staircasing. This allows you to buy additional shares until you own the whole of your home.  

As you buy more shares, your rent payments will reduce, but any service charges will stay the same. Contact us for more information about staircasing by email to or call 0300 561 1111.

If your property is a house and you buy it in full, you will have bought the freehold and as a result will have no further involvement with us. You will also become responsible for the building insurance. 

If your property is an apartment and you buy it in full, you will have acquired 100% leasehold interest. As a result, you won't pay us any rent on any shares we previously owned, but you will still pay any ground rent, service charges and buildings insurance. 

Repairs and maintenance 

Shared owners 

Although you only own a ‘share’ of your home, as a shared owner you are the sole occupier and under the terms of the lease you are responsible for repairing and maintaining the property. 

If you live in an apartment, or there are communal areas, we maintain these areas for you, and you are charged for any repairs or maintenance to them through your service charges. If your property was developed since 2021 and you are a shared owner (with a New Model Shared Owner Lease), we may be able to contribute to the cost of some of the repairs. 


Once you buy the freehold to your property you are responsible for all repairs and maintenance both external and internal.  

Selling your home

We understand that people’s circumstances change and there may come a time when you wish to sell your home. The process is different depending on how you bought your home.

Shared owners

As a shared owner you can sell your share in the property whenever you choose to. 

If you are thinking of selling your home, please get in touch with us first.  The shared ownership scheme has some restrictions on who can buy a property and we will be able to help and advise you about this.

Your lease is likely to say that we might nominate a buyer, but our policy is not to make any nominations.

As a Shared Owner, you can sell your home in two ways:

  • Under the Leasehold basis - this is where you sell the shares you own at the time of sale. The buyer would need to meet the criteria for shared ownership and would need to go through an affordability assessment. In this situation, your home cannot be sold for more than the market rate (as determined by a RICS qualified surveyor).
  • Staircase and Assign. This is where you buy the remaining shares in your home from us and then sell 100% of the property to a new buyer on the same day. This is a preferred option for many people as the buyer doesn’t need to meet criteria or pass an affordability assessment from us.
Purchasers through Right to Buy / Right to Acquire

If you bought your home through the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire schemes - or purchased it from someone who had previously bought through either of these schemes - you will either be a leaseholder or a freeholder. If you bought an apartment, it is likely that you are a leaseholder and if it is a house, it is likely that you are a freeholder.

For leaseholders who purchased after 18 August 2005, you can sell your home at any time. However, if you sell within five years of buying it, you will have to repay some of the discount back.

Additionally, leaseholders who want to sell their home within 10 years of purchasing it under the schemes must offer first refusal to their former landlord at the market value.

Please get in touch if you own home purchased through Right to Buy or Right to Acquire so we can support you and ensure the correct process is followed.

On completion of sale, your lease will be assigned to the purchaser who will effectively take over your lease and existing service charges.


If you own 100% of your property and wish to sell your apartment, please let us know so that we can guide you through the process.

Your buyer should apply for a Purchasers Pack that outlines the expected costs of service charges and any planned maintenance work to the building.


Just like selling any home, there are costs involved if you decide to sell.

These include:

  • A valuation fee
  • An administration fee
  • Any estate agent’s fees
  • Legal fees
  • Rent arrears/sundry debts (only if relevant)
  • A contribution to the sinking fund (only if listed in the lease).