Affordable housing: renting and buying

Affordable housing to rent

Affordable homes to rent are usually managed by housing associations, known as Registered Providers (RPs) and are either for:

  • Social rented housing: rents are set according to a government-prescribed formula which takes into account property value, number of bedrooms, and average earnings in the locality.

  • Affordable rented housing: rents are set at no more than 80 per cent of the local market rent (including service charges).

In Cumbria, social and affordable rented homes are advertised and allocated through the Cumbria Choice allocation scheme. Visit our Cumbria Choice-Based Lettings page for more information on how to register.

Affordable housing to buy

The Home ownership one stop shop aims to help people identify what type of affordable housing scheme could be suitable for them.

For those who wish to buy their own affordable home, there are several low cost home ownership initiatives aimed at helping local people on modest incomes to purchase a home. The most common are listed below:

  • Discounted sale housing: properties sold at a fixed percentage discount from market value, enabling the purchaser to buy the whole property at a reduced rate. The percentage discount is then applied upon each successive re-sale. The allocation of discounted sale properties is determined through the negotiation of Section 106 planning obligations. The developer then markets these properties to eligible purchasers approved by us through the Discounted Sale Housing Scheme;

  • Shared ownership: whereby the purchaser buys a percentage share of a property and pays rent on the share that they do not own, usually to a housing association. You are normally able to buy more shares in the property over time, this is called 'staircasing'. Some schemes permit staircasing up to 100% when you would then become full owner. Housing associations and developers work together to bring shared ownership properties to the market;

  • Shared equity: Shared equity is very similar to shared ownership, but you do not pay rent on the other equity share.

Help to Buy scheme

The 'Help to Buy' scheme, created by the Government, helps people to buy their own home.

Go to the Help to Buy website to find out more. The following schemes are currently available:

Last updated: Tuesday, 9 March, 2021.