Government to make it even easier to flog off homes under right to buy
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Finance, Regulation
Housing association’s Homebuy scheme extended
Not satisfied with offering social housing tenants massive discounts as an incentive to buy their council homes, the Tory-led coalition has decided to create a team of right to buy advisers as it steps up efforts to sell off the UK's dwindling council housing stocks.
From this week, the government says its Right to Buy Agent Service will be on hand to offer "free advice, support and information for any tenant who dreams of becoming a homeowner".
The maximum discount a council house dweller can get if they wish to buy their home is currently £77,000, or £107,700 in London.
Appointed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, the service will provide tenants with a "dedicated source of information and guidance on the right to buy process" - and will also help potential buyers to "avoid hidden fees that can be levied by some independent financial advisors for right to buy advice".
The government has boasted that it has managed to flog off more than 19,500 council homes under its "reinvigorated" right to buy scheme, which launched in 2012.
The government insists that the cash from right to buy sales will "continue to be invested in housebuilding, so every additional home sold since the reinvigoration is replaced with a new affordable home to rent".
However, back in May, the chief executive of 6,400-home social landlord, Nick Atkin, revealed that for every house the organisation builds it has to sell seven under right to buy.
And in April, 80% of councils responding to a Local Government Association (LGA) survey felt that the current system does not allow them to replace homes lost to right to buy.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Under the last government, the right to buy was allowed to wither on the vine, killing off hopes of homeownership for most social tenants because of a miserly discount.
“We have reinvigorated the right to buy, increasing the discounts available to open it up to more tenants. Since the changes came into effect we have helped more than 19,500 people to buy their own home, generating £420 million in receipts for new additional affordable housing.
“The new agent service, increased discounts and easier to understand application form will ensure even more families can reap the rewards of their hard work and enjoy the security and peace of mind that comes from owning your own home.”