Older council tenants to receive up to £30,000 in government plan to buy home elsewhere

The Government wants to 'help tenants trapped in social housing'

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The Independent Online

Social housing tenants could be offered tens of thousands in cash to abandon secure tenancies in favour of buying properties on the open market – with “older people” getting priority.

Up to £30,000 in a one-off payment will be offered to each eligible household in the new government scheme as an alternative to Right to Buy in England.

 

Those renting from London councils could receive up to the full amount and up to £20,000 is to be offered to tenants elsewhere, in plans set to cost £84 million over two years.

Older tenants and those who feel they need to move to secure a job are to be given priority in applying for the cash to select the home they want to buy, the government said.

Also those who are eligible to buy their council home under Right to Buy but do not live in a property suitable enough for their needs to purchase it are also targeted by the scheme.

The maximum discounts for Right to Buy – which has attributed to the depletion of much-needed housing stock since its introduction under the previous Tory government in the 1980s – stand at £102,700 in London and £77,000 elsewhere.

The proposal issued yesterday says: “The Government wants to help tenants trapped in social housing as a result of these barriers to access home ownership.”

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Those 'trapped' in council housing in London would get up to £30k (Getty)

It is not yet known whether new tenants of vacated council properties would be renting under the same secure tenancy terms as the previous occupiers.

Flexible tenancies lasting up to two or five years have been replacing some secure agreements since 2012.

People over the age of 55 already make up nearly half of those residing in social housing, according to figures by English Housing Survey.

Also, the so-called Bedroom Tax only affects tenants of working age who claim housing benefit and does not currently affect those who are pensioners.

Earlier this month, Iain Duncan Smith suggested letting out-of-work housing benefits claimants own their home for free if they hold down a job for at least a year.

Under Mr Duncan Smith’s proposal – described as “daft” by the chief executive of the National Housing Federation – tenants would no longer be eligible for housing benefit and would have to pay 35 per cent of the house price in tax if it is sold within three years.

Local authorities are invited to submit bids by 18 March to provide the “Right to Buy Social Mobility Fund” over the course of two years.

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