The Labour party has expressed outrage at the news that London councils are spending over £22m each year renting back homes sold under the Right to Buy.
Those Right To Buy units are now owned by private landlords - and within London there are now some 54,000 RTB homes in total in the private rental sector.
Responses to Freedom of Information requests submitted by Labour to all London councils, found that the number of Right to Buy homes now in the private rented sector has risen by at least 11,825 in the last five years to approximately 54,000.
These figures are considered conservative, as some local councils did not provide data. Some 42 per cent of homes sold through Right to Buy in London are now being rented out by private landlords at market rates, up from 36 per cent in 2014.
Labour’s report found that at least 2,333 Right to Buy homes are now being rented by local authorities, with Newham alone renting back 808 of these at a cost of £12.9m per year.
The total yearly cost to councils renting back these properties is at least £22,345,760.
Westminster council is renting back 650 former council homes, but couldn’t provide a figure for the annual cost. Based on the average cost of renting back council homes across London this could be in excess of £8m a year, claims Labour.
In 2012 the government decided to ‘reinvigorate’ Right to Buy, increasing the discount on council homes to £75,000 across England.
The following year the discount was increased to £100,000 in London.
The government promised one-for-one replacement, within three years, on any additional homes sold due to the increased discount.
Nationally, since 2012, 17,072 additional replacements were required, but the number of homes started or acquired was below 16,000.
A Labour spokesman says: “The Right to Buy is failing London and should be abolished. Home ownership is still important for many people, but it can’t come at any cost, particularly if it means families struggling to put a roof over their heads or living in poor conditions. It’s not right that cash-strapped councils are having to fork-out eye-watering amounts renting back properties they were forced to sell at a discount.