Newham spends £13m renting back homes sold off under right to buy, report shows

PUBLISHED: 07:48 05 February 2019

The government has been forced to defend its right to buy scheme. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

The government has been forced to defend its right to buy scheme. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

PA Archive/PA Images

More than 800 social homes sold off under the government’s right to buy scheme are being rented back by the council at an annual cost of £13million, a study has revealed.

Tom Copley AM. Picture: JAMES O JENKINSTom Copley AM. Picture: JAMES O JENKINS

In total 45 per cent of social housing has ended up in the hands of private landlords with 808 of these homes rented back as temporary accommodation costing £12,858,869 a year.

The right to buy scheme allows council and some housing association tenants to buy their homes at cheaper prices.

London Assembly member Tom Copley released the 2018 figures in his Right to Buy: Wrong for London report. It found that 54,000 homes across the capital bought under right to buy are now privately let.

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

The figures show there are five landlords with five or more right to buy leaseholds in Newham.

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz said: “The report supports what I have been saying for some time: that right to buy is a dangerous policy obstructing our ability to address the housing crisis.

“We have lost thousands of homes to the private rented sector. The policy is no longer fit for purpose. It is increasingly supporting the growth of the private rented sector, with landlords profiting from a lack of decent affordable homes. It is outrageous that in Newham alone we have lost nearly 10,000 social homes since the policy was introduced.”

More than 28,000 households are on the council’s housing waiting list with 4,800 people in temporary accommodation.

“This cannot continue. We should be able to protect our housing stock and not see it depleted further,” Ms Fiaz said.

But housing minister Kit Malthouse MP said: “Under right to buy, more than 100,000 social housing tenants since 2010 have got a foot on the property ladder, including more than 17,000 in London.

“This government is determined to make the dream of home ownership a reality for as many families as possible.

“We lifted the borrowing cap for councils so they can build more houses in the areas where they are needed most, and delivered 88,000 affordable homes in London since 2010.”

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