United Kingdom

Government to extend Right to Buy?

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Housing association tenants in England could soon have the right to purchase their homes at a discount.

A report earlier in May revealed that the government is thinking about extending the Right to Buy scheme to all socially rented properties, not just those owned by local authorities. If the rules are left unchanged, around 2.5 million housing association tenants could be allowed to purchase their homes at a discount of up to £87,200, or £116,200 in London.

The idea may or may not become policy. Extending Right to Buy was previously proposed in 2015 by David Cameron’s government, and again before the 2019 election. While the idea was revealed in the press ahead of May’s local elections, it didn’t appear in the Queen’s Speech.

Extending Right to Buy to housing associations could lead to reduced social housing supply and longer waiting lists. The policy has previously been blamed for shortages of local authority-owned homes. Scotland and Wales have already ended Right to Buy sales, while London mayor Sadiq Khan has launched a Right to Buy-back scheme that allows councils to repurchase former council properties.

But housing associations’ loss could end up being the private rented sector’s gain. A report by the Chartered Institute of Housing released earlier this month found that 40% of the council homes sold under Right to Buy are now being rented out by private landlords. While it could take a while to filter through, extending Right to Buy might go some way towards replenishing the falling stock of private rentals.

Other social housing headlines

Regulator to get powers to impose emergency repairs in social housing – Inside Housing

“For profit” housing associations to grow seven-fold in five years – Housing Today

Flat-pack house-builders picked for social housing – The Construction Index 

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