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Big rise in Sussex tenants buying their homes
6:10pm Monday 11th June 2012 in News
Council house tenants are rushing to buy their homes after a change in Government policy.
Councils have seen a surge in tenants taking up the right-to-buy option on their homes with a six-fold increase in applications in the last two months.
The increase in applicants follows a move by the Government to increase the discount for homeowners buying their property to encourage more to get on the property ladder.
However Brighton and Hove City Council’s Green administration has warned that the new policy will not help to resolve the city’s current housing shortage.
Since April 1, tenants are eligible for a 35% discount after five years' residency with an extra 1% for each additional year, up to a maximum of up to £75,000 off the value of their house.
Previously the maximum discount available to tenants in Brighton and Hove was £38,000.
In April and May this year Brighton and Hove City Council received 32 right-to-buy applications compared to five in 2010 and 2011 over the same two-month period.
Only 40 council tenants have successfully completed a right-to-buy purchase in the last three financial years in the city. Crawley Borough Council has also registered a significant increase in applications with 33 applications in the last two months compared to 13 in 2011 and five in 2010.
Lewes District Council, Adur District Council and Eastbourne Borough Council have all also seen increases.
Government ministers are hoping that the new drive could result in 100,000 homes being built, with right-to-buy sales funding the construction of a new home for every council house sold.
However, research by analysts Hometrack suggests that receipts from one council home sale will not be sufficient to fund the construction of a new home.
Brighton and Hove City Council deputy leader Phélim MacCafferty said: “This administration is opposed to the Right to Buy, which over thirty years has severely reduced the council housing stock.
“We do not consider that selling yet more council homes will help the current housing shortage.
“The policy of privatisation of council housing through Right to Buy has failed to deliver more social homes in the past and seems unlikely to do so now.”
Garry Peltzer Dunn, the Conservative housing spokesman on the council, said he was “delighted” that the new extended discounts were “reigniting tenants’ interest”.
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