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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

CIH response to Conservative manifesto pledge to extend right to buy to housing associations


Gavin Smart, deputy chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “Extending right to buy to housing associations is not going to tackle the housing crisis – in fact it could make things worse for people on lower incomes who are already struggling to access a decent home at a price they can afford.

“Individual tenants might benefit from the opportunity to own a home, but we would be very concerned that it would result in a dramatic loss of vital social and affordable housing. The Conservatives say that forcing councils to sell off their most valuable properties would fund this extension plus 400,000 new homes over five years – we fear the figures simply won’t stack up.  And it could have a huge impact on councils’ ability to build new homes, particularly in more expensive areas like London and the south east, where it might actually make more sense for them to borrow against the value of these properties so they can fund more homes.

“The Conservatives say each home sold under the extended right to buy would be replaced on a one-for-one basis – but we know this is not happening under the current scheme. Our research has shown that most authorities only expect to be able to replace half or fewer of the homes they sell under right to buy.  And government figures show that between April 2012 and last September councils started or acquired 2,298 homes using right to buy receipts – just one for every 11 sold.

“Right to buy has already had a huge impact on the supply of genuinely affordable homes, which is being cut at a time when more and more people are in need. The next government should be reviewing the way the policy currently works, not extending it.”

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  • I've heard it argued that RTB doesn't decrease the supply of affordable housing because the same person is occupying the property regardless of whether they rent it or buy it. However now many HAs use fixed term tenancies, that argument can no longer be made.

    Young, Reuben
  • One of the unintended consequences of the Right to buy was that it reduced the housing stock available for the low and medium earners. Whatever money was made was not invested in building new and affordable housing. Selling of council properties is not the way to address the chronic housing shortage.

    Somoye, Adetokunbo

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