40% of Right to Buy homes now owned by private landlords
Four in 10 homes purchased under the Government’s Right to Buy scheme are now in the hands of private landlords, new figures reveal. The scheme, which enables social housing tenants to purchase the homes they live in, is to be extended to housing association properties. Right to Buy was designed to help struggling families gain access to the housing ladder, but there is now growing anger over the amount of properties bought under the scheme that are now being let out by landlords. The figure of 40.2%represents a 7% rise over the past two years, with the properties now being far more expensive to rent than they were previously. The buy-to-let market has proved extremely lucrative over the years but is Buy to let still an option?
Whist the average weekly social housing rent now stands at £88, prices for private rents are now £210 per week on average. The research, carried out by Inside Housing magazine, suggests that over half of Right to Buy properties will be rented out privately by 2026. Just over 180,000 leasehold properties have been sold by local authorities since the original Right to Buy scheme was introduced by the Thatcher Government in 1980. Council house waiting lists are currently stretching out to a decade in certain parts of the country, and there has been a 97% fall in the amount of new social homes being built since 2010.
Lack of social housing
The Scottish Government ended the Right to Buy policy in 2016, with the Welsh Government also recently voting to scrap it. Right to Buy’s critics say that the policy has led to a huge fall in the amount of social housing available, with very few homes being built to replace the properties being sold. The Local Government Association’s figures say that for every five homes sold under the scheme, just one social housing property is being built. There are only 2 million council homes left in Britain, a drastic fall from the 6.5 million available when Right to Buy was first launched almost four decades ago. The lack of social housing has made it increasingly difficult for low-income families and individuals to secure affordable rents. Private tenants are now paying around twice as more than they would have paid when the homes were owned by local authorities.
Opposing views about the scheme
Labour shadow secretary of state for housing for John Healey said the need for genuinely affordable homes was now ‘desperate’, adding that communities were ‘losing out’ because of the amount of homes being sold under Right to Buy. He said his party would launch the ‘biggest council housebuilding programme in more than 30 years’. A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government defended the scheme, saying it had helped more people become property owners that there were restrictions on Right to Buy properties being sold within the first five years.
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