25th Oct, 2016

Government housing policy could prompt rethink

Joshua Godfrey 24th Aug, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A DIRECTOR from a local housing association has warned it wll have to ‘look again’ at their business plan as a result of the Government’s Right to Buy policy.

Evesham-based Rooftop Housing Group, which currently owns more than 6,000 properties, are anticipating that many of their tenants will look to buy their homes at a discounted rate.

Development Director David Hannon warned a reduction in social housing rents announced by Chancellor George Osborne in the Budget, plus the reforms to the welfare system has resulted in Rooftop reviewing whether they are ‘operating as efficiently as possible.’

Tenants can currently receive discounts of up to £77,900 off their home if they choose to buy it.

The new Right to Buy scheme, launched in 2012, means that housing association tenants as well as council house tenants can buy their homes.

Rooftop have sold 41 properties under the scheme since 2012 all of which are in line to be replaced by new affordable homes.

And the company has warned it faces difficulty when it comes to replacing the properties one-for-one which ‘can’t be done overnight’.

Mr Hannon said: “Since the Government introduced the ‘reinvigorated’ Right to Buy scheme in 2012 we have sold 41 properties and these have all either been replaced, or are in line to be replaced.

“Nonetheless, the new Right to Buy will present us with some challenges and we anticipate a high level of interest from many of our existing households,” he said.

“There will always be demand for high quality affordable housing across Evesham and the surrounding areas and the Right to Buy doesn’t change that.

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesperson said:

“Anyone who works hard and wants to own their own home should have the opportunity to do so.

“That’s why we are extending the Right to Buy, to ensure social tenants wanting to buy their home can do so at the same levels of discount – regardless of whether they live in a council or housing association property – with every property sold replaced with new affordable homes.

“Housing Associations have proved themselves to be more than capable to adapt and respond to change, and we are confident that they will be able to find and make efficiencies to accommodate the savings they are being asked to make,” she added.