Voluntary Right to Buy Midlands pilot launched

The Government has launched a Voluntary Right to Buy regional pilot in the East and West Midlands, which seeks to test how the scheme will work in practice, with a focus on previously untested aspects.

16 August 2018

The Midlands pilot is the first large-scale test of the Voluntary Right to Buy (VRTB) agreement that the sector reached with the Government in October 2015. It follows an initial pilot in 2016-17 that involved five housing associations across five different regions in England. The Government has made £200m available to fund the pilot, which will run for two years from summer 2018.

The pilot is focusing on two key and previously untested aspects:

  • Portability: where tenants who are eligible to buy under the scheme, but who live in a home that is exempt from the scheme, will be able to transfer their discount to a different house.
  • One for one replacement: a way of guaranteeing that there will be no overall loss of affordable housing, by ensuring that for every home sold another affordable home is built.

The Midlands was chosen by the Government because it has a good mixture of different communities, types of homes and operating markets, making it a good testing area for the above aspects.

David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, 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.”

More details of a national programme will be announced by the Government in due course. Please visit the new Midlands pilot website if you have any further enquiries.