18 September 2017

Proposal to buy back former council homes

A proposal for a trial scheme to enable Brighton & Hove City Council to buy back former council homes is to be considered by councillors.

The idea is aimed at providing more affordable rented housing for people on the city’s housing register, by bringing homes sold under Right to Buy back into council ownership.

Members of the council’s Housing and New Homes Committee agreed the proposed Home Purchase Policy at a meeting on 20 September. It  will now go to the Policy, Resources and Growth Committee on 12 October for final approval.

If the proposed one year trial gets the go ahead, the budget would be set at £2 million and the council would look at buying back homes up to a maximum of £250,000. Properties would be independently valued and people selling would benefit from a quick sale with no chain. The scheme would be reviewed next year.

Councillor Anne Meadows, chair of the Housing and New Homes Committee, said:  “We are already building new council homes in the city, and this proposal is another way in which we could provide more homes to rent.

“Anything that brings us more social housing is fantastic for the city. Even if only a small number of properties is involved, it all adds up, and for eight families on our housing register it could mean a new home.”

Money for purchasing homes would come from the council’s Housing Revenue Account and the properties could be used to provide temporary accommodation or permanent homes.

The Right to Buy is a government scheme that enables council tenants to buy their home. Since 2005, any tenant who has bought their council home has to give the council first refusal to buy it back if they sell it within 10 years. However, until now the council has not exercised this right to buy back. The proposed Home Purchase Policy would provide the formal policy and budget framework to enable the council to buy back council properties sold within the last 10 years, and longer ago, if they come onto the market.

You can read the full details in the the Housing & New Homes Committee report (item 28) and the committee decision sheet.

For information on new council homes being built in Brighton & Hove under our New Homes for Neighbourhood scheme, visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/nhfn.