London’s local authorities are being promised funds to buy back homes previously sold through Right to Buy, under plans announced by Sadiq Khan today.
Sadiq Khan’s office said that a target of helping boroughs to start 10,000 new council homes in the five-year period to 2023 was “on track”
The ‘Right to Buy-back scheme’ will offer money to help councils and council-owned housing companies buy homes to be converted to social rent or to house homeless families, the mayor’s office said.
The funding can also be used to buy any market property within a council’s boundary.
The move is part of a bid by Mr Khan to tackle London’s housing crisis by providing more affordable homes, including those for social rent. His office said that a target of helping boroughs to start 10,000 new council homes in the five-year period to 2023 was “on track”.
The new programme’s funds are part of Mr Khan’s Affordable Homes Programme 2016 to 2023 and transactions must be completed by March 2023, the mayor’s office said. All properties acquired though the scheme must meet the government’s Decent Homes Standard, it added.
Since Right to Buy was introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s government as part of the 1980 Housing Act, more than 300,000 London council homes have been sold.
But the mayor’s office has suggested that Right to Buy is failing to fulfil its original purpose of boosting owner-occupation, as four in 10 homes are now rented on the private market.
Mr Khan’s office also pointed out that an increasing number of private landlords are selling or planning to sell their properties because of changes in tax laws.
Mr Khan said: “For more than 40 years, London’s precious council homes have been disappearing into the private sector, often never to be replaced. It’s time for that to change.”
He added: “Fixing the housing crisis is going to take time, but this new Right to Buy-back scheme is an innovative new tool that will help us to take another step in the right direction.”
The Right to Buy-back measure was a manifesto pledge by Mr Khan prior to May’s London mayoral election.
In his long-awaited London Plan in March, he set a target for half of all new homes built in the capital to be “genuinely affordable”.