This post was first published by MyLondon on 07/02/2019.
One third of Croydon’s Right to Buy council homes are now being rented out for profit
But there are 2,000 people in temporary accommodation who can’t find somewhere to live.
For many families in the 1980s and 1990s, the Right to Buy scheme where families could buy up council homes at reduced rates was a real life saver.
It gave people who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford it, a place to call home.
But the scheme has hit trouble in more recent years as some councils have started buying homes back because they’ve got such little housing available for people on their waiting lists.
The government has also ring-fenced the money councils can earn from Right to Buy so councils often say they can’t do what they need to with it.
But the biggest problem is the numbers of these homes that have been bought up by private landlords to be rented out, often at huge profits, to tenants.
This defeats the whole object of the once invaluable scheme.
In Croydon, the problem is especially bad.
More than a third of Right to Buy homes in Croydon are now being privately rented, it has been revealed.
That is, a total of 882 homes sold through Right to Buy are privately rented. That’s 36% of all those sold.
And what’s more, there are four landlords who own five or more of these homes each.
The statistics come from a report from Labour London Assembly Member Tom Copley called Right to Buy: Wrong for London.
It also reveals that Croydon Council has had to buy back 57 homes sold through Right to Buy. The council would not reveal how much this had cost.
Should Right to Buy be stopped altogether?
Deputy council leader and cabinet member for homes, Cllr Alison Butler, thinks that the scheme should be suspended in London.
Right to Buy was introduced in 1980 and means council tenants can buy their home at a discount.
This can be a maximum of 70% off the value of the home, and the discount is capped in London at £108,000. The scheme has been abolished in Scotland and Wales.
Cllr Butler said: “We believe that Right to Buy in Croydon should be suspended.
“In an area of high housing need, it makes no sense to be selling off our housing stock.
“A large amount of these homes end up being rented out at much higher prices.”
In the last five years, 73 new social rent homes have been built in Croydon, but 566 have been sold through Right to Buy.
And with more than 2,000 families in the borough in temporary accommodation, that’s just a drop in the ocean.
Croydon Affordable Homes scheme
One way the council is trying to combat this, says Cllr Butler, is the Croydon Affordable Homes scheme which was unveiled last year.
The council has bought 250 flats and houses to be rented out, costing a maximum 65% of the usual private rent to borough residents.
Cllr Butler added: “A number of these have been Right to Buy which were being offered at largely inflated prices.
“Housing need is growing and we are trying to get families in temporary accommodation into decent homes with security for their future.
“As a council, we call for a change in areas of high housing need.”