Shared ownership scheme is ‘drastically failing’ house buyers

Clive Betts, Labour MP and Chair of the LUHC Committee, said: “Shared ownership was hailed as an answer to the housing crisis especially for first-time buyers. 

“However, we have found that for too many people shared ownership becomes an unbearable reality, where a blizzard of charges and an unfair burden for maintenance and repair costs means that they are unable to afford full homeownership.”

Once the costs become unaffordable, shared owners can then find it impossible to sell up, the MPs said, due to high costs, a lack of support from landlords and the need to remove cladding.

The Committee suggested providers should be required to buy back shares if the shared owner had persistently struggled to sell up due to, for example, delays getting cladding taken down.

The Government should “as a matter of urgency” explore changing the terms of the leases, the MPs said, so homeowners would only be responsible for the costs of repairs proportionate to their share of the property.

Mr Betts said: “Rising rents, hefty service charges, complex leases, disproportionate repairs and maintenance costs are experienced by too many people who take the shared ownership route. The Government needs to take clear and urgent action to tackle these issues and ensure shared ownership genuinely delivers affordable homeownership.”

A spokesman for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “Shared ownership has a vital role to play in helping people on to the property ladder, and since 2010 we have delivered 156,800 new shared ownership homes.  

“We are taking action to ensure that the scheme provides best value for shared owners, including proposals in the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill to give the right to extend their leases by 990 years.”

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