Co-Own Applicant Criteria

Criteria as at 25th March 2024

Before you apply it’s important that you check out our criteria and make sure that you meet it. Once you apply, the first stage of your application fee, £100, will be charged and is non-refundable.

AgeYou must be over 18 to apply.
Residency statusYou must live in the UK. You may be asked to provide evidence that you have adequate right to reside in Northern Ireland. You have to live in the property as your only residence.
Income multipliersFor us to work out how much you can afford we multiply your income by 4. If you’re applying with another person we multiply your joint income by 4. These multiples are based on total income, before tax. We take a final decision after looking at all the evidence and assessing whether you can afford the purchase in the long term, based on your disposable income.

We cannot support applications from people who can afford to buy the property without our help.

HomeownerYou can’t apply for Co-Own if you currently own property which includes owning property or land, including commercial, or being named on any property, in Northern Ireland or elsewhere.

We may consider previous co-owners if you meet our qualifying criteria. If you have been a co-owner in the past we may take into account how your previous property was managed and maintained, whether you kept to (i) the terms of the equity sharing lease (including the payment of rent) and (ii) any other arrangements you had with Co-Ownership.

Who should applyJoint applicants – if you are married, civil partners, or couples living together or intending to live together in your new home, then you must apply together.

Single applicant – if you are applying on your own, we would expect that you don’t have joint accounts or joint finances with anyone else.

OccupiersPlease let us know the names of all adults and children who will be living in your new home with you, the applicant(s).
DepositsIf we think you may be able to save for a deposit, you may not be suitable for Co-Own.

We do not require a deposit, but some lenders do. Check out the Help & Support section of our website for a current list of Co-Own lenders.

If all of any part of the property deposit comes as a gift from a friend or relative, we can count it towards your starter share. With you application you must provide confirmation from the person making the gift, stating the amount and purpose.

Outstanding property debitYou must not have any debt to any third party which was secured on a previous home.
OutgoingsYou must give full details of any monthly outgoings you have. These could include loans, credit/store cards, mail order, childcare, maintenance, and other outgoings.
Previous relationshipsYou must have concluded any settlement arrangements from all previous relationships.
Credit assessmentWhen you apply to Co-Own we will perform a full credit assessment to determine your affordability. Part of this assessment is to look at your credit file, not your score, using the Experian credit reference agency. We will look at your credit history which will include things like, if you have any credit cards or loans, the amounts of these, your repayments of these, and if you have any missed or late payments.

Your credit history shows how you have managed your credit up to now and is taken into account as part of our decision. We recommend you get a copy of your credit report before applying and check it. If you have a query about an entry on your credit report this must be shown as resolved before you apply. Things that will affect your credit assessment include, but are not limited to:

  • The level and type of credit commitments that you have
  • Any late/missed payments
  • Any defaults – the number, amount and nature of these
  • Court judgements, bankruptcies, individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs)
Debt managementBefore making an application to Co-Own, any of the following arrangements must have been settled (and be shown as settled on your credit file) for the stated period:

  • Debt Relief Orders – 6 years
  • Bankruptcy – 6 years
  • Individual Voluntary Arrangement – 6 years
  • Payday Loans & Home Credit (or equivalent products) – 12 months
  • Money Judgements – 12 months

The following arrangements also need to have been settled and will affect your credit assessment:

  • Debt Management Plans
  • Defaults
  • Missed or late payments

If you have had a minor default/debt management plan within the last 12 months we will take this into account in your credit assessment. If however the default(s)/debt management plan involved a higher balance or there were multiple defaults/debt management plans you must wait for 12 months after the last of these has been noted as settled on your credit file before making an application.

If you have had a missed or late payment within the last 12 months we will take this into account in your credit assessment. If however you have regular missed and/or late payments you must have 12 months clear payment history on the account.

Just remember that you can have no adverse credit at the time of making a Co-Own application.

Managing your bank accountsWe will review 3 months bank statements as part of the application. If these show any unauthorised overdrafts, returned Direct Debits, or bank charges for unauthorised usage, you will not be eligible for Co-Own.

If you are heavily reliant on credit or an overdraft to pay your household costs and other outgoings, you may not be eligible for Co-Own.

EmploymentThe following types of employment are acceptable and you must be with your current employer for at least the following period before you apply as indicated below. You must not be under notice of termination of employment or redundancy.

  • Permanent – normally 6 months plus
  • Fixed Term – 12 months plus
  • Temporary – 12 months plus
  • Zero Hours Contract – 12 months plus
  • Self Employed – see ‘Income’ section below

If your position has changed from e.g. fixed term or temporary to permanent we may take this into account.

  • You must declare all income for the household at the time of application. We require evidence of the amount and nature of all income.
  • We require payslips for at least the last 3 months of employment.
  • If you’re self-employed you’ll need to provide SA302 summaries in Northern Ireland for the last 2 years and also the full tax return for your latest SA302. You will also need to have been trading with no breaks for at least the last 3 months. In addition, company directors must provide 3 months’ payslips. If you have experienced a significant change in your income/company income in the last 12 months we may not be able to support your application. You should contact us before applying to help us understand your current situation. We may require further information such as your last 3 months business bank statements.
  • We may accept income from more than one employment. Our general criteria apply to all jobs.
  • We accept income earned from overtime, bonuses, commission and allowances up to 50% where sustainable.
Other incomeIf your monthly income is heavily reliant on benefits or other unearned income, we recommend that before you apply to Co-Own you speak with a mortgage adviser / lender as your type of income may impact on your ability to get a mortgage.

We will consider the following other income:

  • Pension – both private and state pensions
  • Working Tax Credit – if there is more than one applicant, we’ll need to know whether the award is made jointly or to one person.
  • Child Tax Credit – for up to 2 children in the household if they are aged 14 and under at the time of application. If there is more than one applicant, we will need to know whether the award is made jointly or to one person.
  • Pension Credit
  • Employment And Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Child Benefit – for up to 2 children in the household if they are aged 14 or under at the time of application.
  • Universal Credit – can consider child and disability elements (if available).
  • Maintenance – we may accept maintenance payments from a former partner for up to 2 children in the household aged 14 or under at the time of application. This may be a private arrangement or court approved.
    You must provide evidence of the amount and payment history.
  • Foster Income
  • Carers Allowance

Sorry but we do not accept Housing Benefit as other income.

SavingsAny savings over £13,000 must be put towards a deposit.
Lifestyle, spending decisionsAll applicants must prove they have been able to afford their current lifestyle. They must also prove they will be able to afford the commitment of owning their home through Co-Own from their current disposable income.
Application informationAll application information must be correct and true. Any fraudulent, false or misleading information, statements or omissions in respect of an application may be sufficient grounds for the application being cancelled. For further information see the Co-Ownership Terms & Conditions (Declarations) on our website.
Previous applicantsPreviously declined applicants can’t apply until 3 months have passed from the date they were told of an unsuccessful application. However, any fraudulent, false or misleading information or omissions in respect of an application or a vexatious application will mean that an applicant will not be able to make another application for any of Co-Ownership’s products or for Rent to Own for 12 months from the date of cancellation of the application.

Please remember that you will be charged for a new assessment when you apply again, so be sure to check that you meet all the criteria before submitting a new application.

Change in circumstancesIf your circumstances change at any stage during an application you must let us know about this. We will review your circumstances. This may result in your application being revised or withdrawn.