Oxfordshire tenants of local housing association Sovereign will be among the first in the country to get the chance to buy their own home as part of a voluntary Right to Buy pilot.
Tenants will be able to apply for a place on the pilot this week, which could help them buy their homes along with a discount of up to £77,900, depending on the length of their tenancy.
The extension of the Right to Buy to housing association tenants was announced by Chancellor George Osborne in the Comprehensive Spending Review in November 2015. The pilot is being rolled out ahead of a national scheme subject to the approval of legislation, which is currently going through Parliament.
There will be a limited number of sales under the pilot, which will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis to tenants who meet the criteria. Proceeds from the sale of homes will be reinvested into new affordable housing.
Ann Santry, Sovereign’s Chief Executive, said “We know many of our residents want to own their own home and by being part of this limited pilot we’ll help them fulfil that aspiration. We also want to make sure that every home sold is replaced, so our supply of new affordable homes is not diminished for those in housing need in the future.”
In Oxfordshire, the pilot is open to Sovereign tenants living in four local authority areas: Cherwell DC, West Oxfordshire DC, Vale of White Horse DC and South Oxfordshire DC.
For this pilot successful applicants need to meet specific criteria, including having been a tenant of a housing association, council or similar public sector landlord for at least 10 years. Certain types of properties, including those which legally cannot be sold, will be excluded.
Greg Clark, Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government, said “Anybody who works hard and aspires to own their own home should have the opportunity to realise their dream. The Right to Buy is central to that and has already helped more than 46,000 into homeownership since we reinvigorated the scheme in 2012.”
“Thanks to the historic voluntary agreement with the sector a further 1.3 million housing association tenants now have the chance to open the door to their own home, starting with this trailblazing pilot scheme.”
Sovereign is one of five housing associations around the country taking part in the pilot.