What responsibilities does a shared equity owner have?
When you buy through the Open Market Shared Equity Scheme you own the property outright – you will have full title to the property.
Like other home owners you will be responsible for all maintenance, insurance and repair costs, as well as making your mortgage repayments and paying Council tax to your local authority. You are responsible for keeping your property in a good state of repair. Before buying a property, you should therefore look closely at the Home Report which should be made available by the seller and ensure that you are comfortable that you can afford to pay for any repair which the Home Report survey indicates are needed. If the property has common and shared areas, flats for example, you will be responsible for paying any common maintenance or service charges. We advise you to check with your solicitor to ascertain how much these additional costs are before you proceed with buying a property.
You will need to take costs of this nature into account when assessing whether you can afford to buy a property and should therefore seek more detailed independent financial and legal advice on the responsibilities that come with being a home owner in relation to any particular property you select and all documentation which you will require to enter into.
If you wish to let or sub-let your property you need to obtain the Scottish Government's prior written consent. If you are given permission to let your property you will only be able to do this for a limited period of time, for example if you are required to move away temporarily for a work posting but plan to return. This is because all shared equity owners are expected to reside in their home as their sole residence. You must therefore receive written consent agreeing the start and finish dates for the period of letting. If the Scottish Government does not provide written consent, you must not let your home.
The law imposes obligations on private landlords to register with their local authority to ensure that they are a "fit and proper person" to let property and failure to comply is an offence. Any consent to sub-let a property will be conditional on you complying with these provisions. It is an offence to let any house without being registered.
You must ensure that any lease provided to a tenant is a properly constituted short-assured tenancy that contains certain rights to terminate.