More than a third of ex-Havering Council homes are rented by private landlords

The first council home sold to a tenant in Hilldene Avenue, Harold Hill. PICTURE courtesy of www.bri

The first council home sold to a tenant in Hilldene Avenue, Harold Hill. PICTURE courtesy of - Credit: british pathe

More than a third of former council houses are being rented out by private landlords.

Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham

Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham - Credit: Archant

Meanwhile, the number of people on Havering Council’s housing waiting list has increased from 8,600 to 12,973 in just two years.

The Recorder can reveal that 34 per cent of former council houses which have had the leasehold sold to residents - with the council still owning the freehold - are being rented out to private tenants.

Private rents are usually well above the rates charged to council tenants.

In the budget last week, Chancellor George Osborne announced that he was going to extend the right to buy scheme “so that more tenants can buy their own home”.

Two years ago, in a similar statement, he said: “This was one of the greatest social policies of all time. It brought home ownership within the reach of millions of aspiring families.

“We will bring it back to life.”

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He also pledged that cash from sales of council homes would be invested in new affordable housing.

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas said that the figures obtained by the Recorder were: “Not surprising but still shocking.”

He added: “I have hundreds and hundreds of people coming to see me really struggling to get decent housing.

“The right to buy brought benefits to many but the reality is that it also never used the receipts to re-invest in decent council housing for local people.

“And the reality is that many have now been sold on to landlords who simply lease the housing to those on housing benefits at much higher rates than council rates. And it is the taxpayer that picks up the bill.”

He added: “Much of the £26bn we pay in housing benefit is in reality a big subsidy to private landlords.”

Despite the huge council house waiting list Havering Council is powerless to stop the sell off, even if it wanted to.

Cllr Lesley Kelly, cabinet member for housing, said: “The council has no say about whether leaseholders rent out their homes once they own them, but if they do sub-let, they are still responsible for the property.

“However, if they are sub-letting, they must let us know so that we can keep an up-to-date record of who is living there as well as check whether they have the right certificates (gas safety) for the property.”

In 1999 the waiting list stood at just 1,511.

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