Brighton housing chief slams extension of Right to Buy

Posted On 28 May 2015 at 2:36 pm

The head of Brighton Housing Trust says plans to extend Right to Buy to housing associations could spell disaster for tenants.

Andy Winter

Andy Winter

The government yesterday announced its intention to allow the UK’s 1.3million housing association tenants to buy their homes at discounts of 35% of a house’s value and 50% of a flat’s, capped at £77,900 outside London.

BHT chief executive Andy Winter says the scheme is an expensive folly which will see the amount of social housing available plummet, and could entice landlords to only provide undesirable homes.

He also raises the question of how the government can force housing associations to sell homes paid for by charitable donations.

He said: “If previous experience of Right to Buy is anything to go buy, far from a one for one replacement, councils have only been able to replace one in 19 properties lost under Right to Buy.

“Right to Buy does nothing for people in the private rented sector, nothing for those on waiting lists, nothing for those living at home with their parents.

“It will cost a small fortune in public subsidy, and that subsidy could be better used to resolve the housing shortage.

“Right to Buy has already reduced the amount of social housing, with up to 40% in some areas now in the private rented sector where rents have been pushed up three to four times their social rent levels.

“It will also put housing associations in a difficult position where they may not want to sell their properties because of the impact on their revenue streams, something that might trouble those who lend to housing associations.

“There is also the complication with charity law. The government will be forcing charities to sell assets the government may have had no part in funding in the first place.

“What could happen is people in the nicest properties will take advantage of the Right to Buy and the people in the worst properties won’t, often because those homes are not mortgageable.

“The danger is it could provide a perverse incentive for some housing associations not to provide really good accommodation.

“Extending Right to Buy is ill-conceived and just plain wrong.”

  1. rolivan Reply

    Perhaps Mr Winter could tell us how much it costs on average to maintain each house or flat per year?I personally think that the Government have realised that especially in the South it is more cost effective to pay Housing benefit to private landlords and perhaps it will make people like Mr Winter redundant.

  2. Valerie Paynter Reply

    Anyone taking the half-price offer on the sale of HA flats had better be aware of the likely repair and maintenance clauses that will go into leases and be prepared to shell out vast sums (all of that 50% ‘grant’ money in fact) as the HA’s instal new lifs, new rooves, maybe slap some EWI on the exterior which will cause heat buildup in summer that they will need to pay for aircon to dispel,etc. etc. etc.

    Council leaseholders in B&H are currently facing an average of £25,000 ea just for external cladding (EWI) and new windows to fit over the cladding.

    I rather suspect this to be one of Cameron’s motives for wishing to flog off HA holdings (and 15% of councils’ best stock)- to get tenants paying for various assorted ‘upgrades’.

    Problem with EWI, is that, like cavity wall insulation, it can create major problems involving building integrity along with creation of condensation and mould where none existed before.

    Lotsa literature on this.

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