Owner Occupation

Owner occupation is another potential route to finding a suitable house. Normally this will involve obtaining a mortgage to pay for the house. Disabled people can experience barriers to entering into owner occupation, for example there are a variety of reasons why it can be more difficult to get life insurance or a mortgage. Disabled people still encounter barriers to accessing employment and therefore many disabled people rely on income from benefits. Added to this, the economic downturn has meant that it is more difficult to obtain a mortgage unless you are able to provide a large deposit.

However you can explore home-ownership even if most or all of your income is from welfare benefits by considering LIFT (formerly Homestake). LIFT is a shared equity scheme introduced in Scotland in September 2005 aimed at helping people on low incomes who wish to become homeowners but cannot afford to pay the full price for a house. The scheme is run by the Scottish Government housing and investment division except in Edinburgh and Glasgow where the scheme is run by the local authority housing section.

Individuals purchasing a property from an RSL will generally be required to take an equity stake of between 60% and 80% of the market value of the property as set by the district valuer. With the agreement of the grant provider, however, the maximum equity stake can be reduced to as low as 51%. This is likely to apply where a housing market is particularly pressurised, or where people with particular housing needs have identified additional housing costs.

LIFT aims to assist first-time buyers into home ownership, but it can also be used by other people, such as disabled people who own a house which is not suitable for their needs and need help to move to a more suitable house.

You may also be able to use the benefits system to pay for a mortgage. If you need to buy a house that is more suitable to your needs, and you depend on state benefits as your main source of income, you may well qualify for help with the costs of buying a house. Housing Options Scotland have produced a useful publication for disabled people interested in buying a house called "Benefits Based Borrowing, a Guide for disabled people to buying property more suited to their needs using their benefits."

Video transcript:


Share this