An overwhelming 91% of homes in the UK do not provide even the basic level of accessibility for disabled occupiers, and fewer than one in ten are suitable for disabled visitors. For 35-year-old first time buyers David Gains and his twin brother Daniel, finding an appropriate home that catered for their disabilities, which was also affordable, has been an incredibly difficult task fraught with many trials and tribulations – until he found a new Shared Ownership property in Maldon, Essex with Peabody. Having been housebound living in rented accommodation, a spacious new three-bedroom house at Limebrook Walk has given David and his family the freedom of being able safely care for their needs, whilst also enjoying the security that getting on the property ladder offers.
David Gains and his twin brother Daniel had endeavoured to find a suitable accessible home for many years. Whilst rented properties gave them a place to live they were not always appropriate for their needs or making adaptations. David explains more about his and his brother’s disability: “Myself and my twin brother Daniel were born prematurely which led to us both having a lot of health problems and being heavily disabled. We both have Cerebral Palsy and a bone disorder called Psoriatic Arthritis; this makes it very difficult to stand or walk and along with the reduced strength and mobility that Cerebral Palsy has caused over the years, it became very apparent that we needed a new home that would be more suitable for us.”
“After our Mum passed away, we had to find somewhere to live and over a period of 10 years we have rented three different homes, the most recent was a three-bedroom house in Essex. Unfortunately, the walls were too thin to accommodate having things like a chair lift or bath lift put in and the garden paving was very uneven. As I have a lot of difficulty walking and standing, I couldn’t risk going outside in case I had a fall. Since the heat wave last summer, I have also been bed bound and unable to get downstairs – something as simple as being able to go downstairs to watch TV and have a cup of tea I haven’t been able to do for almost a year. Eventually it just became untenable to live there.”
Having spent a considerable amount of time considering many different options, David and his brother learned that they could purchase a Shared Ownership property independently: “In order to rent anywhere privately we were having to pay six months’ rent in advance as certain letting agents and landlords were not willing to accept Universal Credit, even though we had an income as well. This drained our savings. We had looked into getting support from our local authority and through different disabled charities. Our doctor also wrote several letters on our behalf but we weren’t considered a priority. We then found Limebrook Walk through Peabody and realised we could apply for Shared Ownership independently between me, Daniel, my sister Catriona and my other brother Peter. It’s a unique situation and our mortgage broker worked closely with Peabody’s Senior Sales Executive Ruzeka Uddin. Ruzeka really understood our situation and helped to progress things for us – Shared Ownership suits our needs, has allowed us to improve our quality of life by providing the assurance we need and we are so grateful it has worked out; we can’t thank Peabody enough.”
David and Daniel’s disabilities meant they had been advised to shield at home during the pandemic, this meant they were unable to view the property at Limebrook Walk in person: “Peabody sent us lots of information and photos of the house and we viewed the property online. We all agreed it looked lovely and decided to go ahead with our purchase. Once we were able to visit the house we were purchasing, we were so pleased. The house is a lot bigger than we first thought and the space we have completely exceeded our expectations. Having been bed-bound for so long the first thing I wanted was to have a chair lift fitted. Peabody allowed a company to come out to provide a quote, as soon as we exchanged contracts they gave them access to do the work so it was ready for me to use straightaway. Having this has changed my life. Being able to get downstairs gives me a sense of independence, and we are looking forward to being able to sit outside in the garden when the weather gets warmer.”
Explaining more about the Shared Ownership purchase process of their new home at Limebrook Walk, David continues: “Between the four of us were able to purchase a 30% share in a three-bedroom house with a full market value of £350,000 using a deposit of £21,000. My sister and other brother are our carers and by using the Shared Ownership scheme independently rather than through a disabled charity, meant they could support the purchase financially and live with us which was really important to me and my twin brother. The layout is spacious and very practical, the house has been thought out well and ticks the boxes for accessible living requirements.”
Speaking about their future plans David says: “We now have our own home and somewhere that we can enjoy living long-term that suits our needs. Financially we can live comfortably and we are aiming toward staircasing our share in the property in order to own the house outright. Myself and my brother will still be fairly housebound, but the neighbourhood here is lovely and peaceful and the neighbours have all been really welcoming. We are looking forward to being part of the community here – that’s really important to us. Whilst renting can be a great option for some, unfortunately it isn’t for us. Our experience as disabled tenants has proved that we are unable to arrange a tenancy affordably and you can be given notice at any time which has often been a worry for us. Shared Ownership has given us the security we have desperately wanted for so long.”
Occupying a superb setting with the attractive Essex countryside on the doorstep, Limebrook Walk is situated on the outskirts of Maldon, near the banks of the River Blackwater. Offering a stylish collection of apartments to choose from, residents enjoy access to landscaped gardens, outdoor
children’s play areas and secure bicycle storage. Ideal for young couples and first-time buyers wanting to get on the property ladder, these homes are a great option for those looking to take advantage of the lower price tag outside London and lower deposit level with Shared Ownership.
Prices at Limebrook Walk start from £60,000 for a 30% share in a one-bedroom apartment, and from £73,750 for a 30% share in a two-bedroom apartment. For further information about Limebrook Walk please visit www.peabodysales.co.uk/developments/limebrook-walk-shared-ownership