Private landlords snap up two-fifths of Redbridge council homes sold under right to buy, report reveals

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 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 two-fifths of council homes sold off under the right to buy scheme are now in private landlords’ hands, a study has revealed.

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

A total of 43.4 per cent of the borough’s social housing is rented out privately while Redbridge Council rented back 28 of those homes to provide temporary accommodation at a cost of £372,883 a year.

The right to buy scheme allows council and some housing association lifetime tenants to buy their homes at a lower price.

London Assembly member Tom Copley released the 2018 figures gained via a freedom of information request. They were published 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 built, it’s reckless to continue to force the discounted sale of council homes.”

The figures also revealed that there are two landlords with five or more right to buy leaseholds in the borough.

Redbridge Council leader, Jas Athwal, said: “Given the severe shortage of affordable housing in our borough and across the capital, it’s very difficult to see much-needed houses and flats lost forever to right to buy.

“We already have far fewer council homes than neighbouring boroughs and have lost many properties to this scheme.”

He added the council was forced to rely on renting flats and B&Bs from private landlords to house the borough’s homeless or place people in hostel accommodation at “huge” cost.

“It has a big impact on some of our most vulnerable residents. We’re doing what we can to address the balance by committing to delivering 1,000 genuinely affordable homes but the government needs to do more by changing their rules on right to buy receipts.”

But housing minister Kit Malthouse MP argued that under right to buy more than 100,000 social housing tenants since 2010 have now got a foot on the property ladder, including more than 17,000 in London.

He said: “This government is determined to make the dream of home ownership a reality for as many families as possible, and to deliver much needed homes in the capital

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

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