Responding to this evening's episode of Panorama (25 November 2020), Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federations says:
"Housing associations want everyone to have a good experience of shared ownership and we are saddened to see that this hasn't been the case for the people featured in this evening's Panorama.
"We know the examples highlighted today do not reflect the experiences of the majority of shared owners. Shared ownership allows thousands of people every year to get on the housing ladder and own a secure home. Shared ownership is a not-for-profit programme, run by charitable organisations and backed by government, that allows people to spend less money on housing than they would renting or if they owned outright.
"Shared owners have the same benefits as other leaseholders - they live in a home they can decorate with the security that it is theirs for the long term. But with these benefits, comes the same responsibilities that belong to all leaseholders. This means shared owners are responsible for the costs of normal repairs and the upkeep of their home. It is essential that anyone buying a home - whether through shared ownership or not - hires a solicitor. The solicitor is responsible for helping people understand the lease they're buying, including its length and all associated costs.
"However, the issue of dangerous cladding is an unprecedented, systemic issue. It is affecting thousands of privately owned and social housing buildings, schools and hospitals across the country. The work will cost billions of pounds and take many years to complete. Neither leaseholders nor housing associations can cover these costs. We understand it is distressing for people in these buildings and the government urgently needs to step in to coordinate and pay for cladding removal upfront.
"If you are a shared owner and are struggling financially, we strongly encourage you to speak to your housing association who will want to help you."
For more information about shared ownership, please visit https://sharedownership.net/