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More than 40% of Right to Buy homes now owned by private landlords

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Written by: Tim Chen
08/12/2017
Data obtained from 111 local authorities revealed that 40.2% of council homes sold to then-tenants are now rented out privately.

Tenants living in ex-council homes sold to private landlords under the Right to Buy scheme are now paying twice the rent compared to average council charges.

The Right to Buy scheme was launched in the Thatcher era with the intention of helping low-income households get onto the property ladder, by allowing most council tenants to buy their council home at a discount from market rates.

Since the scheme’s launch in 1980, more than 180,000 properties have been sold under the scheme across the local authorities.

But the data revealed by Inside Housing showed that 72,454 of those properties were now registered with an ‘away address’, which indicated subletting.

Although exact figures are unavailable, social rent charged by local authorities sits at an average £88 per week – while the average private rent in England is £210.

The difference stretches further in the capital, with the average private London rent is £359 per week, with council rents at £108.

Of the 111 local authorities, seven councils had more than 50% of their ex-council homes let out in a private context.

These councils were Milton Keynes, Bolsover, Brighton & Hove, Canterbury, Cheshire West and Chester, Stevenage, and Nuneaton & Bedworth – with Milton Keynes at a staggering 70.9%.

Replacements

A spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), said: “More than 77,500 tenants have used Right to Buy to purchase their home over the last five years, helping more people own a property.

“There are restrictions on selling on a property bought under Right to Buy within five years, and under our reinvigorated scheme every additional home sold off must be replaced by another one, nationally.

“Councils should deliver these additional affordable homes within three years, and so far they have achieved this.”

However, research from the Local Government Association suggests that replacement efforts are lacking, with DCLG figures showing that of the 12,826 homes sold in the 12 month period to March 2017, councils were only able to start building 4,475 homes to replace them.

The revelations come as the Scottish government voted to end the scheme last year, while the Welsh government did the same earlier this week.

Nevertheless, the English government intends to extend the scheme – with chancellor Philip Hammond announcing in the Autumn Budget last month that £200m will be allocated for a Right to Buy pilot in the Midlands.

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