Boris Johnson considers right to buy for housing association rentals


The UK government is set to provide households in England who rent properties from housing associations with the option of buying them at a reduced price, the Telegraph has reported.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told officials to develop the proposals to help ‘generational rent’ over the past two weeks, the Telegraph has revealed.

The proposal aims to give the 2.5 million households in England who rent properties from housing associations the power to buy their homes at a reduced price.

The proposals are inspired by Margaret Thatcher’s scheme, launched in 1980 to allow families to buy council houses.

A related idea being pursued by officials, according to the Telegraph, is that the tens of billions of pounds paid out by the government in housing benefit be used to help recipients secure mortgages.

“The Prime Minister is very excited about this. This could be extremely important, ”reports to the Telegraph a government source close to the discussions.

Whilst the current right to buy rules offer the opportunity for most council tenants to buy their homes at a discount, housing association tenants have limited discounts and are only allowed to buy property acquired by a association only since 1997.

Moveable’s research found that the younger generation is finding it increasingly difficult to get on the property ladder. Research found that 36% of Britons aged 25-34 are waiting to get married before buying their first home because they simply can’t afford it on their own. This figure rises to 40% for 18 to 24 year olds.

Plans to extend the scheme to all housing association tenants were included in the Conservative election manifesto in 2015 but did not materialise.

However, the Telegraph reported that there was criticism over whether prices could still be too high and that this would not solve the housing shortage.

Ahead of this Thursday’s local elections, The Telegraph reported that Downing Street believed the new version of the ‘right to buy’ would help dozens of poorer households in traditional Labor ‘red wall’ seats in the Midlands and the North East that the Prime Minister won in the 2019 election.

If successful, the plans could also increase the proportion of landowners in the country, the Telegraph noted.

Commenting on the proposals, iPlace Global chief executive Simon Bath said: “With the cost of living crisis severely affecting Britons’ ability to access the property ladder, the Prime Minister’s announcement could potentially serve as a springboard for many – especially the younger generation.”

“When this initiative was launched in the 1980s, it gave millions of people the opportunity to obtain housing. While this is a step in the right direction to help the new generation gain access to home ownership, we must ensure that more social housing is also built, so that there are still options for those who can’t buy a house and need it more.”

“The government must take its time to introduce new measures when developing this scheme to ensure that the property market can cope with these changes; and more importantly, to ensure that every person in the country has the same opportunity to own a home.

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