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Published On: February 16, 2018 | Blog | 0 comments

Shared Ownership – new build, big repair problems

For many people, buying a Housing Association new build flat on a shared ownership lease is their way into owning their home. But sadly we are hearing from more and more people who have found that their home suffers from build problems and repair failings. In some cases the problems have even made the flat uninhabitable.

Common problems raised by shared ownership leaseholders include

  • Leaks and water damage from balconies above
  • Plumbing problems causing damp and water damage
  • Problems with windows and doors not fitting
  • Mould growth due to poorly installed or missing insulation in the walls
  • Problems with hot water and heating supplies
  • Overheated flats, even when the heating is off, due to design or build problems

When leaseholders try to get these problems sorted out, they often find themselves caught between the housing association, the builder, and NHBC, with responsibility apparently passed from one to the other. Repairs are attempted, but are botched or are inadequate. Delays and denials build up, sometimes for years.

To add insult to injury, because shared ownership leaseholders might only own a share, but are responsible for 100% of the service charges, they can find their charges increased by the costs of the repeated, bodged repairs.

And then no-one will take responsibility for build defects.

What can be done?

Repairs under the lease

If the housing association owns the whole block, it is likely that the lease puts the responsibility to repair and maintain the structure of the building, the common parts, common plumbing and block heating supply on them. This is their obligation to the shared ownership leaseholder under the lease and they are responsible for it. If the repairs aren’t done, or aren’t done adequately, within a reasonable time, the housing association are in breach of their lease obligations. The leaseholder can bring a claim to make them meet their obligations and do the repairs properly, as well as pay compensation for any losses and living with the effects of the problems.

It doesn’t matter that the housing association might try to blame the builder or contractor, or try to insist it is an NHBC matter. If it is a breach of their obligations, they are responsible.

Build defects

Some problems like overheating, or inadequate heating, or mould caused by bad design or building faults causing condensation, will possibly not be a ‘repair’ problem and so not part of the lease obligations. This means that a claim under the lease may not be possible.

However, there are ways to get these addressed by the housing association.

If the share of the flat was bought before the building was finished, there may well have been a ‘sale agreement’ or ‘Agreement for a lease’ signed by the purchaser before the purchase was complete. Those agreements may include warranties that the property would be of good standard and fit for habitation. That is a contract, so if the property doesn’t meet those terms, the leaseholder can bring a claim for breach of contract.

In addition, the Defective Premises Act 1972 contains a requirement that anyone constructing a residential property must do so in a workmanlike and professional manner so that it will be fit for habitation when completed. If it isn’t, then the leaseholder may have a claim against the builder or the housing association if the block was built for them.

But time is key.

Any claim under an agreement for a lease, or sale agreement must be brought within 6 years of the date of that agreement.

Any claim under the Defective Premises Act for build quality must be brought within 6 years of the building being completed.

Sadly, many shared ownership leaseholders get caught up in a circle of complaints, referrals to the builders, or managing agents, or NHBC claims, attempted repairs and delays, so that years can pass and they can find themselves out of time to make a claim on build quality problems.

Sometimes legal action is the best way to cut through this cycle, but it must be within time.

Talk to us

Anthony Gold’s housing team are experts in dealing with shared ownership problems. Our clients receive clear advice and determined representation, aimed at the best practical outcome.

We are happy to discuss funding arrangements, which may include a conditional fee agreement (“no win no fee”).

It is part of Anthony Gold’s commitment to improving housing standards.

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

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12 thoughts on “Shared Ownership – new build, big repair problems

  1. Hello,

    We moved into our new shared ownership property July 2018, the house completion was August 2017,
    We had lots of snags any got most of these addressed. We recently discovered we had mould appearing through out kitchen vinyl only a year since we moved in, one side of the kitchen wall was black, we reported this to the housing association who agreed to repair this and replace vinyl flooring etc. After booking the first appointment they have replastered the wall and fixed the leak but have now said they should never of done the work and have left the kitchen is a mess with all the units taken apart and the flooring still ruined from the mould. We don’t know where we stand with getting this done now because we had only been in the property a year and it looks like there was a slow leak for the entire time we were living here. We only noticed it because it started leaving a brown colour in our flooring,
    Please can you give me some advice?

    1. Liability for the leak and its consequences will depend on where it is coming from. If it is from pipework that only serves your flat, then the landlord may not be liable. If it is from another flat, or from communal pipework, then the landlord may be liable. The landlord might also be liable if the plumbing was defectively installed in the first place, but this may be difficult to prove.

  2. We bought our shared ownership flat in 2012. It was newly built. Within 5 months water was pouring through the bedroom ceiling. They said it was from the balcony above. It was fixed 3 times but still leaks. They have said it will be repaired soon. They are now removing the exterior cladding, and the flat is under scaffolding. The water damage is so bad they discounted the electricity from the bedroom, so now the room is mouldy. I’ve been sleeping on a mattress in the kitchen/lounge for 6 months, and Genesis have offered £1200 compensation. I really want to sell the flat and move out.

  3. I bought my shared ownership flat in 2019. The flat below me said that there is a leak in his ceiling that is coming from my flat. The Housing Association told me that if the issue is flat to flat I would be responsible as the leaseholder and they would arrange a plumber if it was a communual problem. I paid an external plumber to inspect the job and he said that there was an issue with one of my pipes that joins the communual waste stack hence the effect on my neighbour’s flat and the solvent weld was done properly so it is a building defect prior to me moving in. As such I should not be responsible so when I told the Housing Association they said that under the conditions of my lease it should be me. My neighbours said he will be contacting his lawyer as he has wet patches on his ceiling and it is untenable and his ceiling will need to be repaired and reedcorated. If his lawyer makes contact with me should I refer him/her to the Housing Association? I have been told that it is the Housing Association that need to fix it. Is that correct and are you able to advise me please

    1. We’re sorry but we aren’t able to advise though comments on our website. Please call us on 020 7940 4060 to discuss your matter.

  4. Hi.
    I’m shared ownership with L&Q. I have a roof leak, water dripping into my flat bathroom every time is raining. I reported this first time on 13th November2019 and after many emails and even more phone calls L&Q still didn’t repair it.

    1. If L&Q own the building, it will be their responsibility to stop leaks through the structure of the building and they should do so within a reasonable time, or they may be in breach of their obligations under your lease. You may have a claim for works and compensation.

  5. Having moved into a new build shared ownership property at the end of March this year I’ve discovered a large leak and there is mould appearing. I have assumed it is coming from the shower – I have contacted the housing association and they’ve said the property came out of defect period in February and have refused to even send an operative out to assess the cause of the leak (the property was empty for two years prior to me purchasing my share) my argument is that there is clearly a defective pipe or something and that this wouldn’t have been evident until the property was inhabited. Thus meaning that this is a latent defect associated with poor plumbing practices.
    I have had various other problems since moving in and feel that I’ve been misled with regards to many things.
    I can pursue this via the insurance that the HA have but I really feel that the responsibility for this lies with them.

  6. Good morning,
    I’m a shared owner caught in a 10-month dispute cycle over a defective concrete floor which has caused plumbing and heating system damage and i’m currently being bounced off between Hyde housing, NHBC and the developer/builder who all refuse to accept responsibility for remaking the floor to the required standard (NHBC found the builder had not met the requirement) and associated costs currently quoted at over £3k. I’m conscious legal costs may be excessive in comparison or even outweigh this. This is the second time this is happening (i’ve been in this flat for 7 years).
    Would you consider this case under a no win no fee arrangement please?

  7. Hi

    I called you office today to see if I can make a claim for breach of shared ownership lease 22/10/14 – the block was built a year before I moved in.

    Due to latent defects I have had to live outside the home – slow leaks over a period of time black mould ceiling collapse – living without a ceiling for a year.

    I am at stage 2 of seaking compensation – through complaints process with Hastoe who have offered me £300.00 for delays in progressing repairs.

    Am I outside of the time period to make a claim?

    I have until 21/11 to respond to Hastoe and can proceed to Ombudsman or accept the offer.

    I work on the phones so am available to talk during lunch after 1730 or weekends.

    It is good to see a site like yours that describes my issues perfectly whatever the outcome.

    Kind Regards


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