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RTB to be abolished in Wales 16/03/2017

The Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Bill will provide for the Right to Buy, the Preserved Right to Buy and the Right to Acquire for tenants of local authorities and registered social landlords in Wales to be abolished after a period of at least one year following Royal Assent. 

 

In introducing the Bill, the Welsh Government aims to protect the Welsh stock of social housing from further reduction, ensuring it is available to provide safe, secure and affordable housing for people who are unable to take advantage of the housing market to buy or rent a home.

 

To encourage the development of new social housing, the Bill, if passed by the Welsh Assembly, will provide that the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire will end for new homes two months after Royal Assent. This will help encourage social landlords to build new homes in the knowledge that they will not be at risk of being sold after only a relatively short period.

 

The Bill complements other actions being taken by the Welsh Government to increase the supply of housing and ahead of the Bill's introduction, Welsh Communities Secretary, Carl Sargeant, said:

 

"Our social housing is a valuable resource, but it is under considerable pressure. The size of the stock has declined significantly since 1980 when the Right to Buy was introduced. The number of sales is equivalent to 45% of the social housing stock in 1981. This has resulted in people in housing need, many of whom are vulnerable, waiting longer to access a home they can afford."

 

"The Bill supports the Welsh Government's wider aims of a more prosperous and fairer Wales, helping to tackle poverty by protecting our stock of social housing from further reduction."

 

"I recognise the proposal affects existing tenants and we will ensure tenants are made aware of the effect of the Bill in good time before abolition takes place. The Bill will require the Welsh Government to publish information, which social landlords in turn must provide to every affected tenant, within two months of the Bill receiving Royal Assent."

 

"We have set an ambitious target of creating 20,000 affordable homes in this term of government. Alongside social housing this will include schemes such as Help to Buy and Rent to Own to enable people on modest incomes to own their own homes. We are supporting low cost home ownership and we are expanding the social housing stock. Abolishing the Right to Buy will complement these other actions we are taking in order to support people in housing need."

 

A study into the level of transfer of former local authority stock into the Private Rented Sector in Wales following sale via the Right to Buy and the additional costs to the public purse in terms of Housing Benefit payments indicated an estimated cost to the public purse in terms of extra Housing Benefit payments of £21.9million over five years.

 

In stark contrast to the decision of the United Kingdom Parliament to re-invigorate the Right to Buy in England by offering significantly higher discounts to council tenants to encourage them to exercise the Right to Buy - subject to approval of the Bill by the Welsh Assembly - Wales will become the second of the home countries in the United Kingdom to abolish the Right to Buy following the earlier decision of the Scottish Parliament.

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