HOUSING associations (HAs) could take legal action against the government if it extends right to buy to their tenants, the former head of the Civil Service said yesterday.
“We haven’t ruled out the possibility of legal action,” said Sir Bob Kerslake, the chair of Peabody Housing and secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, according to Inside Housing.
He responded to a question at City Hall about what HAs will do if the Tories fail to ease the extension’s effects after destroying prospects of truly affordable housing, especially in London.
Local authorities would have to sell off their most expensive council homes to fund the extension further diminishing social-housing stock.
Nearly every family sized home would have to be sold — leaving only bedsits and one-beds — to fund it in Kensington and Chelsea, according to borough’s director for housing Laura Johnson.
But Lord Kerslake added that in London — where the housing crisis is most critical — the government should ringfence the right-to-buy receipts to build more homes or decouple the forced sales of council-owned assets.
Deputy mayor for housing Rick Blakeway said that between 2,000 to 6,000 HA tenants were likely to use their right to buy every year.
If right to buy cash were to be retained in the capital, two homes — with a mix of social and “affordable” rents — for every one sold could be built in London, he added.
Phoenix Housing chairman Jim Ripley said that the damaging Tory “pay-to-stay” policy — making social housing tenants on above-average net wages of £30,000-£40,000 pay market rents — would also convince more people to buy their homes.