20% of borough's right to buy council homes in hands of 'extortionate' private landlords
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Development, Finance, Local Government
20% of borough's right to buy council homes in hands of 'extortionate' private landlordsImage: Housing via Shutterstock
A fifth of a London borough's former council homes sold off under the controversial right to buy scheme are in the hands of private landlords charging "extortionate rents" a councillor has said.
According to Camden Council's cabinet member for finance and technology policy, Theo Blackwell, many people now renting homes that used to belong to the local authority are being supported by the taxpayer, as private landlords continue to "exploit" the right to buy policy.
Despite the situation in Camden, Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis has slammed critics of right to buy, calling them "enemies of homeownership" and insisting that the policy is "increasing housing supply and reducing waiting lists”.
Cllr Blackwell has claimed that central government "loves right to buy because it gets three-quarters of the receipts".
Camden is the only one of London's 33 boroughs that has managed to build more council homes than it has been forced to sell off under right to buy over the last two years.
Since 2012, the council has started building 205 new homes, while 139 have been lost to tenants exercising their right to buy - a net gain of 66 properties.
In stark contrast, the boroughs of Barnet, Haringey and Westminster have between them sold off over 500 of their properties through right to buy in the last two years- without managing to replace any, the Ham & High reported.
The Tory-Led coalition recently increased the maximum discount available to London council tenants on their homes to £102,700.
Right to buy waned drastically under the last Labour government, which lowered the available discounts, dropping to 2,638 in 2009-10.
However, under the coalition’s ‘re-invigorated’ right to buy, sales have increased dramatically, reaching 11,238 over 2013-14.
Cllr Blackwell said: “Tackling the housing crisis is residents’ number one concern.
“Camden is leading the way in London and England in building quality new council homes for rent. 31% of all council house starts in London are in Camden.”
“Right to buy is not going to solve the borough’s housing crisis. It just means there are fewer homes to house people on the ever-growing housing waiting list.”