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Four in 10 Right to Buy homes in London now owned by private landlords

Ever since Margaret Thatcher declared her belief in a ‘property-owning democracy’ and introduced Right to Buy in 1980, the UK was converted into a country that saw houses as something to make money from, not just to live in, as illustrated by the buy-to-let boom of recent years that has fed the stereotype that Brits are obsessed with property.

But very few people predicted that so many homes acquired under the Right to Buy programme would now be owned by private landlords, especially in London.

A report by Labour London Assembly Member Tom Copley found 42 % of homes sold by local authorities under the scheme are now being rented out privately, with tenants now paying more than twice as much as when the homes were owned by local authorities.


Copley said: “Something has gone very wrong when tens of thousands of homes built to be let at social rents for the public good are now being rented out at market rates for private profit, sometimes back to the very councils that were forced to sell them.

“The Right to Buy is failing London and should be abolished.”

The report also showed 466 individuals or companies have the lease for at least five Right to Buy homes each.

The government’s commitment to build a replacement for every social rented home sold through the Right to Buy scheme is currently not being fulfilled and nor should it be if they are going to be simply sold off, according to Copley.

He has called on the government to exempt newly built council homes from Right to Buy and create legislation which prevents Right to Buy homes being let on the private market.

He added: “Many councils are building new council homes again for the first time in a generation. But we risk treading water or even going backwards if we continue to lose precious existing homes to Right to Buy.

“At a time when the need for homes at social rent level far outweighs the numbers being built, it’s reckless to continue to force the discounted sale of council homes.”

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Poll: Do you think there should be legislation preventing Right to Buy homes being let on the private market?


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    Council tenants bought their council homes at a discount then re mortgaged up to market value, spent the ''free'' money on flash cars, went bankrupt, reprocessed ex council homes in the auction room for landlords to buy, many people simply have no sense when it comes to money management, that's the way it is.


    Unfortunately this was not foreseen by Mrs Thatcher.

    It's a vicious circle, people with no money suddenly becoming wealthy but not understanding money management and losing it.

    Hindsight is a hell of a thing isn't it.

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    • 23 January 2019 17:33 PM

    It is pretty obvious that certain types of citizen need protecting from themselves.
    Paying UC HB direct to tenants would be an example.
    Putting the potential of property equity courtesy of the taxpayer into the hands of what are mostly feckless council tenants was always going to go wrong.
    The State has a duty to ptotect these dysfunctional feckless types from themselves.
    Putting temptation within easy grasp of the feckless is itself feckless.
    Govt should not encourage temptation.
    RTB should be banned unless at. FULL MARKET PRICE.
    Plus the sale proceeds MUST be spent on more social housing provision for those for whom purchasing their own property or being able to afford PRS rents is an impossibility.
    RTB has been a disastrous social policy which has failed those who are desperately in need of those 2 million former council homes that have been sold due to RTB.


    About the only sensible thing the SNP have done in Scotland is to ban RTB so any remaining social housing cannot be sold to anyone, even at full market value.

    I suspect Thatcher's motivation was that Councils wouldn't evict strikers for rent arrears but banks wound for mortgage arrears.

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    • 23 January 2019 19:17 PM

    Being able to sell at FULL MARKET PRICE is something that can be very useful as a way to provide more social housing.
    So if for example a social housing property has increased substantially in value rhen a business case can easily be made for selling such a valuable property.
    Over decades of what were were former rubbish areas have become gentrified and consequently social housing has become worth considerably more.
    It makes sense to sweat the equity value of such properties to invest in more social housing.
    If by selling it means a social housing tenant has to be evicted if they refuse to vacate then so be it.
    It cannot be right that a social housing tenant could be renting what now might be a million pound property when by selling the value could be invested in multiple social housing units.
    Rarely will this situation occur but where it does FULL usage of asset value should be realised for further social home investment.
    But as a societal fundamental housing ideology needs to be dispensed with.
    Despite RTB the current circumstances are creating Labour voters.
    GR who accept that they won't qualify for social housing still aspire to own.
    So as frustrated homebuyers they are voting Labour and could well herald a Labour Govt.
    Govt should forget this ideology that council houses create Labour voters and just get on with housing the socially disadvantaged no matter who they may vote for.
    Natural justice would see that there is opportunity for all types of housing tenure to be achieved.
    RTB makes this more difficult to achieve.
    The Tories in the 60's built over 300000 homes per year.
    This Tory Govt needs to attempt the same thing removing ideology from the whole situation.
    So Govt should immediately in addition to normal homebuilding state as an aspiration that as a bare minimum they intend to replace the 2 million social homes lost to RTB within the next 10 years.
    That should be an avowedly cross-party aspiration.
    This would recognise that no political ideology should be attached to social home building.
    Just a realisation across society that social homes are recognised as a form of tenure that is a vital part of the housing mix in the UK.
    The PRS is NOT fit for purpose for social housing provision.
    Prmarily because of the PROFIT requirement.
    Social housing is excluded from this imperative.
    There are like it or not things that the State provides that can't make a profit.
    Operating efficiently fine but with no requirement to make a profit.
    This is part of the social compact that taxpayers are prepared to pay for.
    Social housing is one of them.


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