England: Housing associations launch voluntary Right to Buy pilot

David Orr
David Orr

Five housing associations in England have opened applications to allow tenants to own their own home under the UK government’s new Voluntary Right to Buy scheme.

Just two months after Chancellor George Osborne unveiled the pilot in his Comprehensive Spending Review, housing associations Riverside, L&Q, Thames Valley, Saffron and Sovereign have agreed to test the scheme across England.

If the Housing & Planning Bill gets royal assent, successful applicants will be the first housing association tenants in the country to purchase their homes through the new voluntary Right to Buy pilot.

Tenants renting homes from the five organisations in particular local authorities will be able to apply to purchase their homes at a discount. Successful applicants will need to meet specific criteria, including having been a tenant of a housing association or council for 10 years or more. There will be a limited number of sales under the pilot which will be allocated on a first come first served basis to tenants.

Last year, the National Housing Federation led on an agreement between the government and the housing associations sector to extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants in a way that will allow each home sold to be replaced.

David Orr, chief executive at the National Housing Federation, said: “These five housing associations have achieved a huge amount in a very short time to make the voluntary Right to Buy pilot a reality for their tenants. They are a testament to the agility and effectiveness of the whole sector.

“Having built almost one in three of all new homes over the course of the last parliament, housing associations are ambitious about helping people of all incomes achieve their housing aspirations, whether that’s a home to rent or a home to buy.”

Greg Clark MP, secretary of state for communities and local government, added: “Anybody who works hard and aspires to own their own home should have the opportunity to realise their dream. The Right to Buy is central to that and has already helped more than 46,000 into homeownership since we reinvigorated the scheme in 2012.

“Thanks to the historic voluntary agreement with the sector a further 1.3 million housing association tenants now have the chance to open the door to their own home, starting with this trailblazing pilot scheme.”

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