40% of London’s right-to-buy council houses now privately rented

“Ministers are facing calls to shelve Margaret Thatcher’s totemic right-to-buy scheme after a devastating analysis revealed that more than 40% of council houses sold under its terms in London are now privately rented.

The damning findings of an analysis of Freedom of Information data also show that:

• Tens of millions of pounds are being paid by local authorities to rent former council homes in order to house growing numbers of homeless families;

• Some councils have bought back their former homes at more than six times the amount they sold them for;

• Hundreds of private landlords now own five or more right-to-buy properties. There are several London boroughs where more than half the houses sold through the policy are now in the hands of private landlords. Private renters have to pay more than people living in council-owned properties.

Labour London assembly member Tom Copley, who released the report containing the new data, said the findings provided fresh evidence for why right-to-buy should be scrapped in the capital.

“Something has gone very wrong when tens of thousands of homes built to be let at social rents for the public good are now being rented out at market rates for private profit, sometimes back to the very councils that were forced to sell them,” he said.

Right-to-buy, which offers discounts to council tenants who buy their home, has been in place since 1980 and was boosted in 2012 under the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government. The latest analysis found that 42% of homes sold under the scheme in London are now rented out by private landlords, up from 36% in 2014.

Around 466 individuals or companies have the leasehold for at least five former council homes each, while there are 2,333 right-to-buy properties where the local authority pays private landlords to house homeless families across London. Councils have spent £22m a year on renting back properties they once owned to use as temporary accommodation. …”