CIH responds to Government plans to revive Right to Buy for housing association tenants
Whilst CIH is supportive of measures to help people into home ownership, extending the Right to Buy to housing associations is not the right policy to achieve this. It would lead to a reduction in the overall number of affordable homes with little prospect of homes sold being replaced on anything like a one for one basis.
We are at a point of crisis in this country, with over 1.1million households on waiting lists for social housing. The number of households living in temporary accommodation has nearly doubled in the last decade. We need more, not less, affordable social homes.
As we shared recently, analysis by Professor Alan Murie for the 2022 UK Housing Review concludes that the right to buy has led to an erosion of the stock of social rented homes, many of which have, through subsequent sales, found their way into the unregulated private rented sector (currently 40 per cent and likely to continue to rise), thus undermining the ambition to boost home ownership. Whilst government has made commitments in the past to ensure homes sold through right to buy are replaced, less than five per cent of the homes sold off have ever actually been substituted.
The Right to Buy, already ended in Scotland and Wales, comes at a significant cost to the taxpayer. Experience shows that previously affordable rented housing often passes (via a period of owner occupation) into the private rented sector with higher rents, which in turn pushes up the taxpayer-funded benefit bill and adds pressure to local authority waiting lists and temporary accommodation costs.
Finally, it should be recognised that the government is talking about selling assets that do not belong to them. They belong to housing associations, often charitable organisations, which exist to provide benefit to the community, holding their assets in trust for the community by providing affordable homes for rent. Forcing the sale of assets risks nationalising them and their debt which will damage funder confidence and impact on their ability to build more and maintain existing stock.
We would urge government to think again. The extension of Right to Buy should only take place if there are proper measures to replace the social rented homes lost and to compensate housing associations. Home ownership is a legitimate aspiration for government policy but cannot be at the expense of the poorest households. At a time of rising living costs and increasing pressure on the housing system we need to be focussed on building more social homes, not selling off existing stock.
Data Reform Bill announced
Delivered by Prince Charles on 10th May 2022, the Queen’s Speech made clear the government’s intention to reform the UK’s data protection regime by introducing legislation which, according to the government’s explanatory notes, will “take advantage of the benefits of Brexit to create a world-class data rights regime”.Read More
CIH responds to Government plans
The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) responds to Government plans to revive Right to Buy for housing association tenants. Coverage over the last few days suggests that Government is considering reviving the Right to Buy scheme by giving people the chance to purchase the properties they rent from housing associations at a discounted price. Read this article for their thoughts.Read More
Social landlords and the pandemic
'What happens when the rule book is taken away’, commissioned by PlaceShapers , We are whg and the National Housing Federation, looks at how social landlords responded to the pandemic and its prospects. The report summarises seven lessons for the future for social landlords and shows that new ways of working "gave the opportunity for greater insight and empathy into tenants’ lives".Read More
Social Housing Regulation Bill: Are the Reforms Enough?
Social Housing Regulation Bill: are the government’s reforms enough to transform the sector? The government has published some draft legislations and set out a plan for rebalancing the landlord-tenant relationship post-Grenfell. Stephen Delahunty for Inside Housing unpicks the proposals.Read More
The 30th edition of the CIH UK Housing Review
The UK Housing Review is a key resource for housing professionals, leaders and policymakers across the public and private housing sectors in the UK. The Review brings together the most important housing statistics for England (and its regions), Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.Read More