Last edited 30 Jun 2021


Better home.jpg

In very broad terms, an 'owner' is a person or organisation who has the rightful title to something such as property, i.e. the property belongs to them.

A homeowner is a person who owns a home, whether an apartment or house. They may have fully paid for the home and own it outright, or they may still owe money for it: an individual who has a mortgage on a property is still regarded as the homeowner even if the mortgage has many years to run and much money is owed.

Homeowners do not have to reside in their properties: landlords are still homeowners even if they rent out their properties to other people.

Homeowners who have acquired their first home (whether outright or through a mortgage) are usually said to have taken their first step on the ‘housing ladder’. They are often referred to as 'first-time buyers', and a number of government schemes have been introduced in recent years to encourage and support their entry into the housing market.

It is also possible to be a homeowner jointly with other people (such as a partner) or through shared ownership schemes provided by housing associations, although this may be viewed by some as part-home ownership. Such schemes typically involve purchasing a share of a property (typically between 25%-75%). A mortgage is required for the share that is purchased, and rent is paid on the remainder.

The housing policies of the conservative Thatcher government of the 1980s were designed to increase home ownership throughout the UK and to decrease the number of households in rented accommodation. Owning your home was regarded by many conservatives as almost a basic right. Policies were therefore implemented to bring this about, such as ‘right to buy’ where council tenants were given the right to buy their homes from the local authority – often at prices that were well below market values.

More recently, the government’shelp to buy’ scheme is aimed at enabling first-time buyers get on the property ladder and become homeowners.

See also: Home ownership.

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