Renfrewshire Council

Open Market Shared Equity Scheme (OMSE/LIFT)

The Open Market Shared Equity Scheme (sometimes referred to as LIFT) helps first time buyers and other priority groups on low to moderate incomes to buy a home on the open market within certain price thresholds where it is sensible and sustainable for them to do so.

In addition to first time buyers, the following groups have priority access to the Open Market Shared Equity Scheme: 

  • Those renting in the Social rented sector;  
  • Those with a disability who can demonstrate a housing need;
  • Members of the armed forces;  
  • Veterans who have left the armed forces within the past two years;  
  • Widows, widowers and other partners of service personnel who have lost their life while serving in the armed forces within the last two years; and  
  • People aged over 60 who can demonstrate a housing need.  

Under the scheme, buyers are required to contribute between 60% and 90% of the purchase price of a home with Scottish Ministers providing assistance to fund the remaining amount of between 10% and 40% of the sales price.

When buying through the LIFT scheme, buyers choose a property for sale on the open market. To be eligible, properties must be advertised for sale publicly and priced at or below the ceiling threshold applicable to Renfrewshire.

From December 2020, the ceiling limits on the purchase price of a property in Renfrewshire are:

  • One bedroom/Two Apartment - £55,000
  • Two bedrooms/Three Apartment - £70,000
  • Three bedrooms/Four Apartment - £90,000
  • Four bedrooms/Five Apartment - £115,000
  • Five bedrooms/Six Apartment - £205,000

Price thresholds are set by number of apartments. An apartment is a habitable room and can include bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms and box rooms. Kitchens, bathrooms and conservatories are not classed as apartments. For example, a three-apartment property could have two bedrooms and a living room.    

Open Market Shared Equity Scheme buyers are not limited in terms of the maximum size of property they can purchase with applicants able to apply to purchase any size of property as long as they meet the financial criteria and the property is large enough to avoid overcrowding.

If you purchase a home through the Open Market Shared Equity Scheme you will own the property outright, the interests of the Scottish Government will be secured by a mortgage (or a 'standard security') on your property. Upon the occurrence of certain events in the future (for example when you sell your home) you will be required to repay funds to Scottish Ministers.

You should be aware that a lender may expect you to provide a modest deposit in order to obtain a shared equity mortgage and you should discuss this with your independent financial advisor before you apply to the scheme.

In Renfrewshire, the scheme is administered on behalf of Scottish Ministers by Link Housing Association, who may be contacted in writing at Watling House Callendar Business Park, Falkirk, FK1 1XR, by telephone on 0330 303 0125 or by email at lift@linkhaltd.co.uk

Full detail of the scheme can be viewed by visiting Link's website at: www.linkhousing.org.uk/lift-tenants