by Claire Harrison | 1 February 2016
As of the 25th January 2016, 5 housing associations will be rolling out the extended Right to Buy scheme as part of a pilot that will be rolled out across the country later this year.
Up to now only tenants in council properties have the right to buy their rented properties, yet this bill will give housing association tenants the same right
This scheme allows social housing tenants the right to buy their home with a discount of £103,000 in London and £77,900 elsewhere. The pilot led by Thames Valley, Riverside, L&Q, Saffron and Sovereign gives tenants greater control on their ambition to own their own homes if they meet the qualifying criteria. The option will be available to tenants if they have been a tenant of a council or housing association for 10 years or more, on a first come first served basis. This will be available to up to1.3 million housing association tenants.
Under the new scheme, housing associations will be required to sell off their most valuable council houses as they become vacant. This will in turn raise £4.5bn which housing associations and councils will reinvest in the building of new homes. It is unclear at this stage as to how much the policy will cost, but the government has promised to refund the discount to housing associations and councils involved.
Giving social housing tenants the right to buy their properties is a great way of empowering them, and in theory reinvesting this money in building new affordable homes will essentially increase the amount of homes available. But is this realistic? To what cost will this impact the taxpayer? The majority of councils are currently struggling to find enough land to build new homes, so is this solution just creating more problems to the UK’s financial situation?
The problem is that as many are struggling with rising living costs and unemployment, so even with the discounts, buying a council house could still be difficult for some.
Helping people to try and become home owners will be welcomed by many. It is hoped that the uptake of this scheme will reduce waiting lists for affordable homes to become available. According to the NHF however, only 46% of homes sold off have been replaced since 2012.
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