Retirement bungalows set to be sold off under Right to Buy extension

3 Mar 16

Bungalows and other homes for older people could make up as much as a quarter of council properties sold to fund a controversial government extension to the Right to Buy scheme, a report has concluded.

Bungalows and other homes for older people could make up as much as a quarter of council properties sold to fund a controversial government extension to the Right to Buy scheme, a report has concluded.

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An examination of the Housing and Planning Bill by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation concluded efforts to make councils sell high value homes to fund discounts for housing association tenants could have a disproportionate effect on older people.

Under the legislation, councils will be required to make an upfront payment to the Department for Communities and Local Government to fund the Right to Buy extension to social housing tenants. The payment will be calculated using the market value of the high-value vacant housing owned by the authority, which they could then recoup through sales.

Although the government has not yet set a definition of high value homes, the JRF concluded bungalows, often lived in by older tenants, could be disproportionately sold. According to the analysis, bungalows make up 9% of council-owned housing, but are likely to make up 25% of high value property sales due to both their higher cost and more frequent vacancies.

This could result in the sale of 15,300 of these properties, which would also be difficult for councils to replace due to the higher cost of building new one-storey homes and the extra land needed.

As a result, JRF urged the government to exempt bungalows, sheltered and supported housing from the initiative.

Policy and research manager Brian Robson said there was a risk of “a great British bungalow sell-off that will make things worse for older and disabled tenants who are trying to find suitable, affordable accommodation”.

He added: “An adequate supply of social housing is essential. The increasing reliance on costly, insecure tenancies in the private rented sector to house families on low incomes will only serve to trap more people in poverty. Unless changes to the Bill are made, older people and people who are sick or disabled will be particularly badly hit.”

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