RTB pilots: 5.7% of tenants register interest
An average of 5.7% of housing association tenants contacted about the extended Right to Buy pilots have registered an interest in buying their homes.
Figures obtained by Inside Housing from the five landlords involved in the pilot show 1,612 tenants expressed an interest in using the Right to Buy, out of 48,345 households in the pilot areas contacted.
Demand has been highest in London and the South East, with 8.4% of tenants told about L&Q’s pilot in eight London boroughs registering an interest (see table).
Thames Valley Housing Association (TVHA), which piloted the scheme in five local authorities in the South East, saw 7.7% of the 945 tenants it was marketed to register an interest.
Geeta Nanda, chief executive of TVHA, said the landlord had targeted tenants they knew were eligible, unlike some other pilot schemes which may have increased the percentage take-up. She said TVHA had initially modelled demand of between 5% and 6%.
Ms Nanda added that TVHA’s properties are also in areas where property values are likely to attract demand for the Right to Buy, without being so expensive that they are out of reach.
Saffron Housing saw the lowest average take-up, with 56 tenants of 1,600 contacted registering an interest – an average of 3.5%.
Adam Ronaldson, chief executive of the 5,500-home landlord, said this was probably because many of its long-standing tenants would already have had access to the Right to Buy through the preserved scheme for former council tenants.
Tenants were able to register an interest in buying the property when the pilot scheme first launched in November.
However, some of those who did so will be ineligible to buy – either because they do not have the required 10 years’ residency in social housing, or because they live in a home which is exempt from the pilot scheme.
The housing associations involved are now going through the applications to assess which of the tenants are eligible. Thames Valley said 27 of 48 applications assessed so far passed the basic eligibility test.
Under the pilot – and possibly in the main scheme – homes built through Section 106, rural housing and properties adapted for tenants with disabilities will be among those to be exempt.
In the main scheme, these tenants will qualify for a portable discount, but they will be unable to buy at all through the pilot.
This week, tenants were allowed to begin the process of buying a home, but will not be able to complete until the Housing and Planning Bill gains Royal Assent.
The government has pledged to extend Right to Buy discounts to 1.3m housing association tenants through a voluntary deal agreed with housing associations in September.
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