Thursday, 29 January 2015

London councillors demand inquiry into right to buy sales 

Labour councillors in Westminster have called for an ‘urgent investigation’ into reports of property developers making millions by buying council homes under right to buy. 

Paul Dimoldenberg

Paul Dimoldenberg calls for an inquiry into right to buy sales

An investigation by the Sunday Times, published last Sunday, uncovered a property investor who was boasting about how much money he could make from buying properties from tenants and the reselling them at higher prices. 

Nicholas Carlino, a director of London Investment Property Group, said to the newspaper that he would make so much money he will ‘never have to work again’. 

Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour leader for Westminster, has written to the council’s chief executive, Charlie Parker, demanding an inquiry. Mr Dimoldenberg points out that almost 20% of right to buy sales since 2012 have been to those on housing benefit, and that it is possible ‘a huge fraud is taking place right under the council’s nose’.  

Responding to the Sunday Times investigation, housing minister Brandon Lewis said: ‘The reinvigorated right to buy is both increasing housing supply and reducing waiting lists, as every additional home sold is now being replaced with a new affordable home for a new social tenant.

‘Critics of right to buy are enemies of home ownership and fail to appreciate the wider benefits of helping people to move on and up the housing ladder.’ 

There is no suggestion that the scheme is illegal. 

Councillor Daniel Astaire, cabinet member for housing and regeneration at Westminster, said: ‘We fully support the principal aim of the right to buy scheme, which is to help more people onto the property ladder. If we have reason to believe attempts are being made to exploit the system and subvert that aim we will take thorough steps to thwart them. We would urge anybody considering taking part in such a scheme to check all the facts with their local council so they avoid any potential legal difficulties.’

UPDATE: A Westminster council spokesperson said that 20% figure stated by Mr Dimoldenberg was ‘incorrect.’ Since August 2012, according to Westminster council, 22% (20 units) of right to buy sales have been to people in receipt of housing benefit at the time of application, with 11% (10 units) of sales to people on housing benefit at completion.

Readers' comments (19)

  • The quote from Brandon Lewis is completely avoidant of the problem. Also, for every home sold, a new home is not provided. This is simply not true.

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  • F451

    Could IH perhaps ask the Minister to prove his wild claims instead of just presenting them as if they were fact.

    Where is this increased supply and reduced waiting list (accepting those where those in need of housing have been barred from the list, such as they were in Hammersmith and Fulham)?

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  • ‘Critics of right to buy are enemies of home ownership and fail to appreciate the wider benefits of helping people to move on and up the housing ladder.’

    What a patronising statement!!! In one sentence this guy shows he is totally out of touch with reality and totally fails to accept or recognise any sort of housing crisis.

    Critics of right to buy are not enemies of home ownership and do appreciate the benefits of moving on to the housing ladder. But they do realise that many people can never hope to get on the housing ladder and are just being ignored by him and his government.

    The man is an incompetent fool!

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  • Melvin Bone


    Can we believe the boasts of a property developer?

    Or do we think that they're always truthful, decent and honest?

    Your call.

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  • All over Britain there are scores of former Council Homes now owned by Private Investors !, only recently a London Borough said that it was renting back properties which they had formerly owned !, and that it did not seem right !, I can only agree with them !

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  • I'll have some of what Brandon Lewis is imbibing, such vivid hallucinations!

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  • ‘The reinvigorated right to buy is both increasing housing supply and reducing waiting lists, as every additional home sold is now being replaced with a new affordable home for a new social tenant."

    What a load of BS! A new home is not being built for every one sold through RTB......And, even if it was, it would be let at (un)affordable rent, not social housing rent!!! How would this help the council tenant?

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  • Brian Barker | 19/08/2014 10:41 am
    All over Britain there are scores of former Council Homes now owned by Private Investors !, only recently a London Borough said that it was renting back properties which they had formerly owned !, and that it did not seem right !, I can only agree with them !

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  • methinks someone is being economical with the verite. this clown should be in the same locker as lord fraud and the idsiot. that this is legal doesn't surprise though. I wonder how many of the great and good and even MP's are cashing in here

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  • Excellent! It's all been said!

    Don't mock the afflicted though.. Lewis as a Tory can only encompass a policy spectrum that has no capacity for truth.
    It's a bit naff to waste taxpayer money on such people when they spout scripted conservative pap like a bl...y wind up toy.

    Unfortunately these people hold sway at the moment-and I despair that political merry go round will change much.

    Until we as a populace realise the tremendous power we have to change things they will continue to tell us: 'it's for your own good'. And though we know that is a lie-we will do nothing about it.

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