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Council homes sold off under Right to Buy to be brought back into public ownership

The Council aims to purchase up to 100 properties from the open market, providing new homes for families on the Council’s housing waiting list.

Since 1980, council tenants have had the right to buy their home at a substantially discounted price, under national Right to Buy legislation. This has resulted in a significant loss of council homes over the last four decades, with local authorities unable to build or purchase new homes at the same rate as they have been sold under Right to Buy.

With over 10,000 families on the housing register, there is an urgent need to increase the supply of social housing in Lewisham. Purchasing ex-council homes will help address this demand, in addition to the new social homes being delivered through the Council’s Building for Lewisham programme. Local authorities have a ‘right of first refusal’ for ex-council homes sold under Right to Buy, allowing the Council to bring these properties back into public ownership if the owner chooses to sell their home.

100 properties will be bought and let to local families on the housing register, providing them with a safe, secure and permanent home. It is hoped that the first families to benefit from Lewisham’s Right to Buyback programme will move into their new homes in March 2022.

Subject to funding, an additional 20 homes will be purchased and used to house families under Lewisham’s Afghan refugee resettlement programme. As the UK’s first Borough of Sanctuary, Lewisham is committed to resettling refugees and plans to resettle 100 refugee families from Syria, Afghanistan and other areas of conflict – the most ambitious refugee resettlement scheme in London.

Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham, said:

“Right to Buy has had a terrible impact on the supply of social housing in London, with hundreds of thousands of council homes lost since its introduction. By bringing these properties back into public ownership, as was originally intended, we can help tackle the housing crisis facing Lewisham.

“Combined with the new social homes we are delivering through our Building for Lewisham programme, the Right to Buyback programme will provide much-needed homes for families on our housing waiting list.”

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