Research commissioned by the consumer finance company Pepper Money has revealed that more than two million people are eligible for the government’s Right to Buy scheme. A YouGov survey of 6,377 adults in England and Wales found that 11% were currently renting their home from a local authority or housing association, and of these, 54% stated that they would consider buying their home using the Right to Buy scheme. Based on the estimated 34.8 million people aged between 20 and 60 in England and Wales, this amounts to a potential two million potential customers for Right to Buy.
The current Right to Buy rules provide local authority and housing association tenants with the opportunity to buy their homes at a discounted price if they have been living in the property for more than three years. The Right to Buy scheme was introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1980, and figures from its introduction in April of that year to March 2021 show that there have been 1,992,799 sales of social housing to tenants through Right to Buy during that time. Of these sales, an estimated 94% were to local authority tenants.
The Right to Buy scheme has always been controversial due to the fact that local authorities are not permitted to use the funds generated by Right to Buy sales to build new homes. This has added to the pressure on social housing in England and Wales, with the number of council homes having fallen from 6.5 million in 1979 to 2.2 million today. The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, has recently attempted to address the problem with the announcement in April that local authorities will be able to keep 100% of the funds from Right to Buy sales for the next two years. However, it remains to be seen what impact this will have on what is widely described as a crisis in UK social housing.
Find out more about Right to Buy: https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/right-to-buy-solicitors-in-liverpool.html