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Government waters down housing association Right To Buy

The government is watering down its controversial new Right To Buy policy, by giving housing associations one week to sign up to a voluntary alternative.

Under the voluntary deal, suggested by the National Housing Federation - the umbrella body governing housing associations - there would be a much less dramatic effect on housing stock. 
 
The NHF suggests association tenants could use their Right to Buy discount to purchase an alternative property elsewhere if their association did not wish to sell its stock. 
 
The NHF deals also exempts some stock included in the former compulsory scheme - this includes some HA properties in rural areas, as well as some urban mansion blocks such as those currently owned and managed by Peabody and Guinness Trust.
 

The government has suggested this NHF alternative may not require legislation, so could happen quickly - but only if associations back the idea.
 
The NHF is now balloting members, with voting closing at 2pm on Friday October 2.
 
The Conservative party, leading up to the May general election, stated it was keen to extend Right To Buy from council tenants to housing association tenants. 
 
This would have allowed housing association tenants to buy their homes at a discount. 
 
However, the measure - which would have gone before Parliament later this autumn - would face severe opposition from Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats. 
 
Some opponents claimed the government did not have the right to appropriate assets owned by housing associations and - perhaps more critically - the sell-offs would have worsened the national housing shortage.

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