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Rowntree report says right to buy is open to abuse by private landlords

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  • 15/07/2003
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A report from independent social policy research charity, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, appears to...

A report from independent social policy research charity, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, appears to confirm the concerns of those who fear that right to buy is open to abuse and creates large estates full of rental housing.

There are growing claims from groups such as the charity Shelter, that right to buy is being abused and is allowing ex-council housing estates to be bought up by professional landlords. This is causing debate as to whether it is detrimental to communities.

The research investigated the long running concern with trends affecting social housing, deprivation and dissatisfaction. Often the outcome of such mixes are large estates built for rent.

It highlighted the example of the Bournville estate in Birmingham: ‘Up to 40% of Bournville’s housing is in the social rented sector and yet has high environmental standards, a stable community and high levels of satisfaction with social services. One key reason is the tenure mix achieves an integrated approach and social cohesion, which creates a high level of ‘social capital’.’

It said a key reason for this was that the Bournville Village Trust, as a charitable organisation, has not been obliged to sell properties under the right to buy.

However, Bernard Clarke, spokesman for the CML, said: ‘Bournville is an unusual estate. It was built and designed to different standards and specifications to many other large estates and so it is difficult to draw too many lessons from one estate which has been set up along such different lines from the norm.’


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