NHG residents have been making complaints to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) about NHG shared ownership ads on the tube and in the newspapers.
The Joint Committee of Notting Hill and Genesis Residents is very worried about these ads as many NHG shared owners are finding themselves in difficult situations due to soaring service charges and rent increases coupled with stationary wages.
Telling people that they will ‘own’ homes if they buy shared ownership homes is not correct. If a shared owner fails to pay the rent part, they can be evicted (1).
Soaring service charges and rents are a real problem if your earnings are not going up much – and this is the case for lots of people right now.
You can read about the worrying case of NHG shared owner, Carolyn Mandelson, on our website (2) and Facebook Pages.
The Advertising Standards Authority says, ‘Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.’ But are these ads misleading.
Academic research sounds the alarm on misleading claims about shared ownership
Academic research says that housing associations should be very careful about what they promise with shared ownership.
“To describe the shared ownership product in marketing materials as “literally shared ownership” creates expectations which the product may fail to live up to.” (our emphasis)
“Another example is that shared ownership is nearly always described as a step on the path to full homeownership. Marketing material could be more explicit in explaining that for some people full homeownership may be unattainable (3).” (our emphasis)
NHG replies, but includes misleading information
NHG is worried by reports (4) of them having to withdraw advertising. They say this is not true. But in their response on their website they continue to include misleading information: ‘Whether you have bought an apartment outright in a leasehold block, or you are a shared owner, you are a homeowner. (5)’ This is not true. You are not a homeowner in the sense of a ‘leaseholder.’
We hope the NHG will make changes to these ads which include misleading claims.
Complaints about these NHG ads can be made to:
(1) “As rent is paid on that part of the equity not owned by the leaseholder, a landlord can take action to repossess the property for rent arrears in the county court in the same way that a landlord of an assured shorthold tenancy can under the provisions of the Housing Act 1988.’
(3) Exploring experiences of shared ownership housing: reconciling owning and renting. 2015. Dave Cowan, University of Bristol Alison Wallace, University of York and Helen Carr, University of Kent