In the event that Labour win the next election, the right to buy potentially faces the axe by assembly ministers who say they want to protect the stock of social housing.
However, Mike Rees, partner at Bruton Knowles Cardiff office says if this policy came in, it would stifle people’s ambition to own their own home, who otherwise would have used this mechanism as an affordable way of getting onto the housing ladder.
He also says that rather than adopt this approach it would be better to free up more social housing stock by limiting the assured tenancy terms to a period of years, extended only on the basis that tenants continue meet the criteria for rent subsidy.
Mike said: “The intention behind the Government’s Affordable Housing Policy is to provide housing at subsidised rents for those unable to buy or rent property at market prices.
“The current system allows qualifying tenants the added right to buy their property, similar to the provisions for council housing stock, at a discount and to reflect previous rental payments.
“In Camarthenshire Ministers already plan in the short term to reduce the maximum discount to just £8,000.
“One of the arguments to remove right to buy is because social housing stock has fallen by 45% over the lifetime of the policy.
“But to remove the right to buy will mean that social housing tenants are then locked into an assured tenancy. This to all intents and purposes cannot be ended other than under very special circumstances and will therefore continue indefinitely at a subsidised rent linked to CPI/ RPI.
“This policy helps those on limited incomes, but if those incomes then rise because of career progression for example, they are still able to occupy that property and enjoy the rent subsidy.
“This ‘stock blocking’ of the system denies those in real need.
“That’s where the focus needs to be in terms of freeing up properties for those who need it most.
“Look at any Council Estate and It is easy to spot those properties where a right to buy has been exercised. They tend to be improved, well looked after and reflect a sense of social responsibility and pride that comes with ownership.
“Moreover the obligations for the ongoing maintenance and repairs to those homes, no longer becomes a cost to the taxpayer.
“Right to buy continues in England and there is no reason why that choice should not be also available in Wales.”