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England to 'lose' 230,000 homes for social rent by 2020

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More than 150,000 homes for social rent in England have either been sold through the right-to-buy scheme or converted to ‘affordable rent’ in the five years between 2012 and 2017, according to analysis by the Chartered Institute of Housing.

A total of 230,000 homes for social rent - an additional 80,000 homes - are expected to be lost if sales and conversions continue at the current rate as seen in data from the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government.

CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat said: “For many people on lower incomes, the only truly affordable option is social rent. It is simply unacceptable that we are losing so many of our most affordable homes at a time when more and more people are in need.”

The analysis, released today, shows that 103,642 local authority homes and 46,972 housing association homes for social rent were either converted or sold between 2012 and 2020. Social rent is around 30-40% cheaper than affordable rent.

According to the analysis, government investment and a “heavy skew” towards the private market was causing the most problems with regards housing supply. Of the housing budget up to 2020-21, only 21% of funding was destined for affordable housing, the CIH said.

“Right-to-buy is undermining efforts to provide genuinely affordable homes for people on lower incomes,” Ms Alafat said.

Councils across England and Wales may also be expected to sell off their most valuable housing assets in order to fund right-to-buy housing, as required under the Housing Act. Sajid Javid said in December that this policy would be delayed for a year so the implementation could be considered.

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