11 September 2018

Buying back former council homes – update on pilot scheme

Two former council homes have been brought back into council ownership under a trial scheme introduced last year, and more are in the pipeline.

The scheme aims to provide more affordable rented housing for people on the city’s housing register by buying back homes sold under Right to Buy.

A two-bedroom flat and three-bedroom house have been purchased and are already providing new homes for families. Three more flats are in the process of being bought and offers have been made on two other flats.

The one-year trial of the Home Purchase Policy started in November 2017. Councillors will get an update and decide whether to extend the scheme at a Housing and New Homes committee meeting on Wednesday 19 September.

Councillor Anne Meadows, chair of the committee, said: “We are already building new council homes in the city, and this is another way of providing more homes for rent.

“Every single property helps, it all adds up, and for the families who move into them it makes all the difference to have a new home.”

She added: “We particularly need one and two-bedroom homes to meet the requirements of people on the housing register, and the scheme is helping us to buy flats of this size.”

The Right to Buy is a government scheme that enables council tenants to buy their home. The Home Purchase Policy enables the council to buy back council properties sold within the last 10 years, if they come onto the market.

Under the trial, the council can buy back homes costing a maximum of £250,000 with a total budget for the year of £2million. Properties are independently valued and purchased with money from the council’s Housing Revenue Account.

At the committee meeting, councillors will consider the results of the trial. They will also consider whether to widen the scope of the policy to cover the possible purchase of other properties as well – these would be affordable homes built as part of new housing developments. If the scheme is widened, any purchase of these properties would be subject to a business case and committee approval for the purchase.

You can read the full details in the Housing & New Homes Committee report (item 23)

Further information:

Home Purchase Policy www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/home-purchase-policy

New council homes being built in Brighton & Hove  www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/nhfn