Landlord wants right to buy extended to RSLs
A housing association has called on the government to extend right-to-buy to registered providers in the wake of the release of the housing strategy.
Earlier today, the prime minister and deputy prime minister revealed a series of plans to boost the housing sector in ‘Laying the Foundations: A Housing Strategy for England’.
Under the plans, tenants would receive a discount of up to 50 per cent on the value of their home – double the current levels.
The government has pledged that every home sold will be replaced with a new ‘affordable’ one.
Home Group said that by revising the policy to include housing associations a greater increase in the level of homeownership would arise and neighbourhoods could be improved if RTB was linked to tenants’ behaviour.
Mark Henderson, Home Group chief executive, said: ‘Home Group wants to see right-to-buy extended to tenants in the registered provider sector as we believe this has the potential to unlock an additional 100,000 affordable homes.
‘Registered social landlords, such as Home Group, hold the lion’s share of properties that are most attractive for tenants wanting to buy their own homes.
‘By revising the right-to-buy policy, the government would see a step change in the level of homeownership and social mobility, increased supply of affordable homes and could even have a social impact on neighbourhoods if the amount of deposit available was awarded based on the behaviour of tenants. Homes sold should, however, be replaced on a one-for-one basis.’
Steve Trusler, strategy director at Wates Living Space, the affordable housing arm of contractor Wates, said that the move was good, but money raised from sales must be put back into building new homes.
Mr Trusler said: ‘A new right-to-buy scheme is in theory a positive initiative to enable more people to own their own home.
‘However, it is crucial that the government keeps its promise that the returns from sales are ring-fenced and reinvested in delivering new homes, otherwise only the lucky few who already occupy social housing will benefit, while home ownership will remain a pipe dream for those in direst need.’
The call was backed up by Hammersmith & Fulham Council which said that money raised by the new right-to-buy could be used to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder with a tenant deposit fund.
Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for housing, said: ‘No one knows more about the housing needs of their own communities than local authorities and if we were able to spend all of the proceeds of the rejuvenated right to buy we would be able to tackle many our housing problems head-on.’