North Lanarkshire Council open market home buying scheme hits milestone
A scheme delivering additional council homes in North Lanarkshire has hit a new milestone with a 500th property being purchased.
North Lanarkshire Council, Scotland’s largest local authority landlord, launched its open market purchase scheme in April 2018, as an expansion to its Empty Homes Purchase Scheme, to provide new homes and futures for families and individuals across the authority area.
The scheme enables the purchase of properties that are for sale on the open market and are generally former council houses which were purchased under right to buy. The council receives a grant funding contribution from the Scottish Government towards the cost of each purchase.
Pamela Humphries, head of planning and regeneration with North Lanarkshire Council, said: “When we launched this scheme, we identified properties which would boost our current housing stock, represent good value for money and most importantly, make a real difference for people within our communities.
“Some homes had become an eyesore having been abandoned or neglected by owners, while others were being sold in areas in which we knew there was high demand for council properties. We are delighted the scheme has proven such a success and has meant we can get more people into homes in the communities they want to live in.
“Despite the issues caused during the health pandemic, this financial year alone, we have managed to purchase 40 homes with another 21 being concluded by our legal team. Our surveyors are also in the process of valuing another 29 properties which have been identified as potential purchases.
“There has been huge interest in people wanting to take part and we are continuing to work with sellers to identify good properties in our towns and villages which will provide more options for our tenants.”
Heather Brannan-McVey, convener of housing and regeneration, added: “We have ambitious plans to enhance and improve our housing stock and deliver 5,000 new homes for rent by 2035. We have already completed nearly 850 new build homes with many more either under construction or in the planning stages.
“The open market scheme lets us buy homes in areas where there is demand for that type and size of property. Our focus is on meeting the changing housing needs of our tenants and this scheme, in addition to our new build supply, provides opportunities to increase and improve the homes we currently have available for local people.”
At a meeting of the housing and regeneration committee, elected members agreed to extend the scheme further to allow the targeted purchase of homes in blocks to allow common works to progress, with the owner being given the option to remain in the property as a council tenant.