Boris Johnson Planning to Bring Back Right to Buy

Right to Buy

As part of his pledge to put an end to the UK’s escalating housing crisis, Boris Johnson has laid out plans to introduce a new take on the Right to Buy initiative. Initially devised by Margaret Thatcher, the Right to Buy scheme gave millions of council house tenants across England the legal right to purchase their homes, following a certain length of residency.

The new proposal would result in around 2.5 million individuals and families who rent from housing associations the legal right to purchase their homes at a discounted price. The original scheme was limited to council homes – separate schemes were available for housing association tenants, but with significantly lower discounts up for grabs.

According to a government source, the scheme would be identical to the original Right to Buy initiative, though would extend the same rights to housing association tenants.

Downing Street insiders believe that the extension of the Right to Buy scheme would bode well for the conservative party in the Midlands and the Northeast, where a significant proportion of those who would benefit from the initiative reside.

Following the party’s disappointing performance in the recent local elections, the Tories are now setting their sights on helping more people become property owners to boost their approval rating in key regions.

An Opportunity for up to 5 Million People

Originally introduced in 1980 by Margaret Thatcher, the Right to Buy provided council tenants who had lived continuously in council housing for a specific period of time the opportunity to purchase their home at a discounted price.

The same scheme remains in place to this day, and has helped hundreds of thousands of council property tenants get on the property ladder. Now, Boris Johnson intends to extend the same rights to housing association tenants which would see around 2.5 million households, or up to 5 million people, benefiting from the right to buy their homes at a discounted price.

Under the scheme, housing association tenants would be able to purchase their homes at a discount of up to 70%, depending on how long they have lived in the property. The government trial had a pilot of the scheme in 2018 in the Midlands, after which no immediate plans to extend the initiative were announced.

While the move has been welcomed by many, critics argue that average UK house prices are still too high for most first-time buyers – even when taking Right to Buy discounts into account. Elsewhere, others have said that the scheme does nothing to improve the UK’s growing housing shortage, and that the government should be investing more heavily in the construction of more affordable housing.

Speaking with the Telegraph newspaper, Robert Jenrick was nonetheless adamant that extending Right to Buy to all housing association tenants in England was the right thing to do.

“Now is the time to extend the right to all tenants,” he said.

“Conservatives must be the party of home ownership, and along with building more homes, finding new routes to ownership should be at the heart of our mission.”

Category: Mortgages