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Revamped Right To Buy is Johnson’s ‘big idea’ to reset leadership

It’s been confirmed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to announce plans to extend the Right To Buy to housing associations.

Under the existing Right To Buy policy in England - it’s been abolished completely in Scotland and Wales - tenants living in council houses can get a discount of up to 70 per cent of the market price, depending on how long they have lived there. The maximum discount is £87,200, or £116,200 in London. 

There is already a significantly less generous scheme for renters of housing association properties, with discounts of up to £16,000, but it is thought that Johnson wants to significantly increase the discounts offered to this type of tenant.


Former Conservative leader David Cameron, when he was Prime Minister, spent £200m on a pilot project to look at extending Right To Buy to the housing association sector. However the pilot - conducted with the National Housing Federation - found that homes were not replaced as quickly as they were sold off, and the new properties that were built tended to be smaller than the ones they replaced.

An NHF spokesperson has told the Financial Times: “Our agreement with the government at that time was based on a clear set of principles, our red line being that every single social home sold would be replaced. Recent pilots demonstrated how difficult this is to achieve, as there is not enough money from sales to build new social homes. Since this agreement was made the housing crisis has worsened. Our recent research shows that 4.2m people are in need of social housing in England today.”

Some 1.6m council homes have been sold off under Right To Buy, first introduced by then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s. 

While this policy helped owner-occupation rise from 55 per cent in 1979 to 72 per cent in 2004 (since when it has generally dipped) the policy has also been blamed for a sharp decline in social housing availability. Scotland and Wales have scrapped Right To Buy in recent years

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  • George Dawes

    You'll end up paying a lifetime mortgage then they'll take the property off you due to climate change drivel but you'll still be paying the loan off

    Lifelong debt

    • G W
    • 08 June 2022 06:54 AM

    It’s looking that way….70% reduction!?….

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    • G W
    • 08 June 2022 06:53 AM

    I wonder when a political party will think it’ll win votes by giving existing tenants the Right to Buy?….. I’m looking to sell up the moment this is seriously considered

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    How do we relieve the Housing Crisis - reduce the number of social houses available by selling them at a huge discount to people who have been benefitting from low rent! Madness!

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    This is ridiculous - offering significant discounts upto 70% - how is this discount planned to apply? Whether it is enforced on the landlord, or applied using tax payers money it is theft - why should anyone be just gifted more than half of a property when everyone else has had to pay save up for a deposit and pay a mortgage for a significant part of their lives.

    All this will do is ensure current landlords start to sell up, and potential new landlords will invest elsewhere - yet again, less choice and availability for renters. Another own goal.

    Why not set up a scheme where the government offers a loan with interest set at he base rate for deposit funds, so that renters can overcome the initial barrier of saving for a deposit. And then they would buy on the open market like everyone else. This would be a much fairer system and wouldn’t involve gifting money from taxpayers/landlords.

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    Steve, What ? you don’t expect them to buy one do you, just give me one.


    Well of course Michael, we live in the times of the ''entitled'' generation , it's their human right to have everything now and for free


    Sorry Michael, don’t know what I was thinking lol

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    Just another Boris deflection, his clumsy attempt at staying in power…. But social housing tenants will pay the price with even fewer properties. So sad.

  • Algarve  Investor

    Desperate stuff from a desperate PM.

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    A new selection of properties available to buy in 5 years time. We all know that they will buy them cheap then at first opportunity sell them for a great profit then go back to the council and claim homelessness


    Or they'll do what the ex council tenants done in the 90s, re mortgage to the max they can, buy new BMWs , can't pay the new mortgage payments, property reprocessed, sold to us in the auction room and back to renting again

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    But these properties don't belong to government or councils, they belong to housing associations, the rent they generate pays the six figure salaries of housing association management, can't see them like seeing a drop in salaries

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    One survey has put the PRS sector at 5million properties. So who do you think he has in mind ?.

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    Back in the 1980s councils had no money and a deteriorating housing stock which was a maintenance nightmare. The Right to Buy made sense at that time. It removed part of the headache and released some funds that were used to repair and upgrade the remaining stock of ageing council houses.
    The level of discount has always been a bit questionable. Very few people have ever qualified for the maximum 60% or 70%.
    The houses that were bought under the Right to Buy scheme in the 1980s and 1990s often needed extensive renovation - new kitchens, bathrooms, rewiring, double glazing, insulation, roof repairs or replacement, etc. They weren't nice, well maintained houses in a great many cases. A 30% or 40% discount (which is closer to what a lot of people got) didn't cover the full refurb costs. Obviously when the houses had been renovated they were worth more, just as any other renovated house would be.

    The main problem with the concept of Right to Buy is that most long term social tenants are unlikely to want or qualify for a mortgage. Social rents are so ludicrously low it's unlikely most could see that long term they may be better off buying. Especially as home owners have no access to financial help towards their mortgage payments, unlike tenants who have Housing Benefit as part of their UC entitlement.

    Social housing is (or should be) in better condition now than it was in the 1980s. Back then it was an opportunity to improve your living conditions as the Council's certainly didn't have the resources to do so. Now that shouldn't be the case to the same degree if Housing Associations are doing their jobs correctly.


    Last sentence, ''IF Housing Associations are doing their jobs correctly'', which around my way they are not

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    I think the Right 2 Buy idea is daft, why buy something that they have already for buttons.
    I seen this first hand with the first Scheme, a guy I knew very well had the chance of buying at a massive discount because he had lived there long term but he wouldn’t budge. I believe the difference between renting & buying was £2. pw but don’t want to know he said if something got wrong they’ll fix, true enough he subsequently had new heating for free, they couldn’t imagine life without the security of the Council. Anyway the extended are also on the Council’s.

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    Can't see how this could be anything other than a disastrous policy for the thousands on waiting lists. Surely housing associations need to be financially viable and if they have to sell off properties cheap and then provide replacements, they will go bankrupt? Even more tenants will then be looking for housing in the PRS, but probably not the sort of tenants most landlords will be interested in.


    Agreed, but not my problem, and their tenants would not be my tenants, of that I'm certain


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