Call for councils to buy landlords’ properties

The National Association of Property Buyers has backed Newham Council, which has allocated an initial £20m to a preventative scheme, which aims to allow renters to stay in their homes rather than becoming a further drain on services.

Newham expects to buy up to 44 properties at £450,000 each, including refurbishment costs, with an initial round of funding.

Backing the move, the National Association of Property Buyers says it represents “a way out of the property crisis” for many.

Spokesperson Jonathan Rolande says: “It is brilliant to see councils brave enough to take a longer-term approach to the housing crisis and doing so may well prevent many families from the misery of homelessness.

“Forty-four properties is a terrific start but only amounts to one for every 72 vulnerable households in the borough.

“Although prices have, and continue to drop, each of these £450,000 properties will, in the end, pay for themselves by saving made in the £1000 a month per room charge currently met by the council.

“If each home provides four lettable rooms this may take around 12 to 15 years. What a pity that these homes weren’t bought 10 years ago when prices were 70 per cent less and by now would have repaid all of the capital outlay and more. 

“Bringing more homes back under council control and building them wherever possible is the only way out of the property crisis for millions of people. It would after all be an investment in the future, it would suppress rents for everyone and reduce the benefits bill for those that need it and would take house building policy out of the hands of large corporations. 

“In the 1950s councils built 150,000 homes a year. What is so different now that means we don’t desperately need them?”

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