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End of tenants’ right to buy likely in Cardiff

A PLAN to tackle a growing need for housing could see the end of Right to Buy in Cardiff.

Cardiff council is submitting an application to the Welsh Government asking for the Right to Buy scheme to be suspended for five years, following similar plans in Carmarthen, Swansea and Ynys Mon.

Right to Buy gives council housing tenants the right to purchase their homes after living in the property for five years, with a £8,000 discount on the value.

At the cabinet meeting to discuss the plan, councillor Susan Elsmore, cabinet member for housing, said the application was part of the council’s plan to build 40,000 homes and increase housing stock.

housing-since-1985

Coun Elsmore Said: “This is one of the tools in that toolbox. This item is all about protecting valuable assets now and in the future.”

The leader of the Conservative group, Coun David Walker criticised the plan, saying it would negatively affect those who wished to get onto the property ladder.

“You will please your bosses in the Welsh Government, who hate people owning their own homes,” he said.

Coun Walker said the number of homes sold under Right to Buy was not worth it, with only 77 houses sold since 2012.

“[That’s] nothing, waste of time,” he said.

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Jennie Bibbings, campaign manager for housing charity Shelter, reacted positively the council’s plan. She said: “It is a very good thing, it is something that we really welcome.

“Right to Buy has been draining social housing into the private sector. A lot of these houses are now in the hands of private landlords where the levels of repairs and maintenance are not as high as if they were in the public sector.”

Ms Bibbings acknowledged that the plan may upset those who wish to buy a house, but that it was still necessary.

She said: “I know there are some tenants who will miss the Right to Buy. We need an alternative scheme for those who want to get a home.

“It is unfortunate that this is the state of the housing market and this is what we have to do, to protect what is left of our precious housing stock.”

Cardiff council carried out a public consultation at the end of last year which showed 57.2% of respondents supported the plan.

responses

Coun Elsmore, said: “We had a very good response to the recent consultation on suspending the Right to Buy with nearly 2,800 responses from a wide range of individuals. It was good to see the high level of support for the proposal.”

When the Welsh Government receives the application the scheme will be paused and they will have six months to accept or decline the proposal.

The Welsh Government has announced plans to end Right to Buy by the end of the current term of government in 2021, but there is likely to be a two-year grace period during which where tenants can still buy their homes.

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