England: Voluntary right to buy pilot launched for housing association tenants

A £200 million pilot has been launched today to extend the right to buy for social housing association tenants in England.

Under the Midlands Voluntary Right to Buy Pilot, places will be allocated via a ballot with money from the discounted sales being used to fund replacement homes.

The National Housing Federation has worked closely with the UK government on the initiative.

Speaking at today’s launch, communities secretary James Brokenshire MP said: “This government is committed to providing opportunities for people to get a foot on the property ladder and to have a place they can call their own.

“Our £200m investment into the Midlands Voluntary Right to Buy Pilot is the first step in helping housing association tenants realise their dream of home ownership.”

National Housing Federation chief executive, David Orr, said: “Over the past three years, we have worked closely with the government on its proposal to extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants. Of course, this pilot is not the finished product. We want to take the time to get this major endeavour right.

“It will be a success for everyone involved only if every home that is sold is replaced with a new affordable home, and if the application process is as smooth as possible for tenants.

“Now, we are looking forward to working with tenants, with housing associations and with the government to make this pilot a resounding success. This scheme must empower social housing tenants and meet our own ambitions to deliver the homes the country needs.”

The ballot will close a month from today’s launch, with the pilot running until spring 2020 giving selected candidates adequate time to complete the purchase.

The government will assess the impact of the pilot before deciding on the next steps for the policy.