The Right-to-Buy Policy

Have you heard that our very own MP for Rossendale and Darwen has been speaking out about the government’s Right-to-Buy policy this week?

Firstly, what is the Right-to-Buy scheme?

Originally introduced in the 1980’s by the Thatcher government, and then changed by David Cameron in 2012, it’s designed to help council and housing association tenants in England to buy their authority-owned home at a discount.

How does it work?

Those that have been in their property for over 3 years will be able to receive a discount on the properties sale value. Discounts start at 50% on a flat and 35% on a house, with 70% as the maximum discount. However this is capped at £103,900 in London and £77,900 anywhere else, increasing each April in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, Jake Berry MP addressed his fellow MPs by stating:

“I support the government’s new right-to-buy policy of extending home ownership to 1.3 million housing association tenants.”

“As a flagship policy of the last general election, the policy demonstrates the Conservative party’s commitment to home ownership and helping people achieve their aspiration of owning their own home.”

“I hope that, through debate in this chamber, this excellent policy will be improved.”

“Rural exception sites, as set out by the National Planning Policy Framework, are often owned and managed by housing associations. Members will probably be aware of such sites in their own constituencies. They are often outside a village boundary, and always outside existing planning policy. They are built in locations where market housing would not be acceptable because of local planning constraints.”

“The local community may come forward with a site, but those sites can be brought forward only where there is proven and demonstrable need for affordable housing. I am talking here about areas such as the Lake District, Dingle’s Way in Cornwall, which I have visited, and local areas in my constituency. If such rural exception sites were to become subject to the right to buy, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to see how they could be replaced.”

So what are the benefits of the right-to-buy scheme?

  • It brings those on the lowest incomes a step closer to home ownership.
  • Improves people’s lives.
  • Increased stability and security for the future.
  • Extra privacy.
  • Homeowner costs are more predictable and stable, compared to renting.
  • Potential for closer ties to your local community.
  • The extension of the scheme will increase the number of tenants eligible in England by 1.3 million.

Are there any possible negatives to this scheme?

  • Social housing stock decline.

E.g. Since 2012, only 46% of homes that have been sold off have been replaced with new properties. The scheme has been rejected by both the Scottish and the Welsh Governments primarily down to this controversial issue.

  • Potential structural issues within the housing market.
  • Extending the right to buy to housing association tenants could make the housing crisis worsen, if the stock is not adequately replaced.
  • Your discount could be less if your landlord has spent money building or maintaining your home.

What do you think about the Right-to-Buy Scheme?

Whether you’re thinking of buying your first home, looking to take a step up the property ladder or wanting to rent your home in East Lancashire, please get in touch on 01254 760660 or email: Darwen@AinsworthLordEstates.com..