Councils will be forced to sell off their most valuable homes in order to fund an extension of the right-to-buy scheme to housing association tenants, it has been confirmed.
Communities secretary Greg Clark has announced councils will have to sell their most expensive properties when they become vacant under rules set out in a housing bill that is due to be included in the Queen’s speech tomorrow.
The receipts will be used to “provide new affordable homes in the same area”, a statement from the Department for Communities & Local Government said.
It added any “surplus” money would be used to fund the extension of the right-to-buy to 1.3 million housing association tenants, as well being put towards a ‘brownfield regeneration fund’ aimed at increasing the supply of new housing.
The extension of right-to-buy was a key commitment of the Conservative manifesto. However, it has been met with widespread concern about how it would work in practice, including from mayor of London Boris Johnson and senior Conservatives in local government.
The housing bill will also include a ‘right-to-build’. The Conservative manifesto said this would result in councils being required to allocate land to people, and the DCLG statement added this would give residents “the right to be allocated land with planning permission for them to self-build or commission a local builder to build a home”.
A commitment to create a new register of brownfield land to “help fast-track the construction of new homes on previously used sites near existing communities” will also be included in the Housing Bill, the DCLG said.