A new pilot scheme that will allow housing association tenants to buy their homes has been launched. The Midlands Voluntary Right to Buy aims to let social housing tenants get a foot on the property ladder.
The scheme is part of a Green Paper on social housing, which intends to make it easier for tenants to progress to home ownership and is backed by £200 million in funding from the government.
With only a limited number of properties involved in the pilot, places on the scheme will be allocated via ballot to ensure fairness for applicants. The ballot will close on September 18. Discounts are set at the same level as the Right to Buy scheme for council tenants, based on the type of home involved and how long the tenant has lived there.
Committed to providing opportunities
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire launched the pilot scheme, saying: "This government is committed to providing opportunities for people to get a foot on the property ladder and to have a place they can call their own.
"Our £200 million investment into the Midlands Voluntary Right to Buy Pilot is the first step in helping housing association tenants realise their dream of home ownership."
The government has been working with the National Housing Federation (NHF) to create the pilot. Any money raised from the discounted sales has been promised to be used to fund replacement housing association homes.
Sold homes replaced by new affordable ones
David Orr, chief executive of the NHF, said: "Over the past three years, we have worked closely with the government on its proposal to extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants.
"Of course, this pilot is not the finished product. We want to take the time to get this major endeavour right. It will be a success for everyone involved only if every home that is sold is replaced with a new affordable home and if the application process is as smooth as possible for tenants.
"Now, we are looking forward to working with tenants, with housing associations and with the government to make this pilot a resounding success. This scheme must empower social housing tenants and meet our own ambitions to deliver the homes the country needs."
The pilot scheme is expected to run until 2010 to give successful candidates enough time to complete the purchase of their home.
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