Published on 25 October 2017 10:00 AM
Age Scotland, Scotland’s leading charity for older people, welcomed Housing Minister Kevin Stewart’s announcement today to expand access to shared equity schemes for older people.
For the first time, older people will be eligible for a range of home ownership schemes that can remove the requirement for a mortgage contribution and make them a priority access group.
The scheme will allow more older people to choose affordable housing that fits their needs and allows them to live independently as long as possible.
Keith Robson, Age Scotland’s Charity Director, said: “We warmly welcome this positive initiative, which will allow many more older people to access affordable home ownership and to enjoy independent, active, and healthy later lives at home for as long as possible. Helping older people to live independently at home is what we would all want to see.
“One of the benefits of this scheme is it will help people to downsize, and if they are already existing home owners, it will help free up bigger homes that are no longer appropriate for their needs. There’s clearly a gap in the market for a scheme like this, and it will allow more movement to take place.
“It’s important that older people have a range of options available to them, which are affordable and appropriate as their health and circumstances change throughout their lives. We also want to see options such as more social housing and solutions that allow people to adapt their existing homes.
“However, there are some things people need to be aware of when considering shared equity schemes – they are likely to be liable for all repair costs (even if they only own a 60% stake) and should budget accordingly, and they will probably require the social part-landlord’s permission for any changes to the property they wish to make.
“It’s important that anyone considering this option gets independent financial advice to see if it would suit them and ensure they understand the full implications before signing up. But these cautionary notes shouldn’t dampen support for giving older people more choices, which could improve their quality of life and allow them to live independently for longer.”
The Scottish Government’s announcement is available here.
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