Housing

Sadiq Khan gives councils new powers to buy 10,000 homes and take on social housing crisis

The London mayor’s Council Homes Acquisition Programme is set to secure more affordable homes as thousands of Londoners live in temporary accommodation

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Creating genuinely affordable council homes is the solution to London's housing crisis, says Sadiq Khan. Image: Greater London Authority/Caroline Teo

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced plans to buy 10,000 homes from the private market to tackle London’s social housing crisis.

The London mayor’s Council Homes Acquisition Programme (CHAP) will give councils the funds to buy homes off homeowners and wantaway private landlords to boost the number of affordable homes over the next decade.

The move comes as a record 170,000 Londoners, including 83,000 children, are living in insecure temporary accommodation – and just days after London Councils warned 60,000 renters face homelessness by 2030 if local housing allowance isn’t raised to meet sky-high rents.

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“I’ve put council housing at the heart of my plan to boost homebuilding in the capital and I’m proud that we’re now building more council homes in London than at any time since the 1970s – and more than the rest of the country combined,” said Khan.

“My new Council Homes Acquisition Programme will allow boroughs to move at pace to increase the number of council homes in our city, offering a lifeline for thousands of Londoners who are facing high housing costs, as the first part of my ambitious goal for councils to buy 10,000 homes over the next decade.

“I will continue to take decisive steps to address the social housing crisis, stemming the tide of loss and replenishing London’s council house stock. Bringing these homes into public ownership is a key part of my plan to build a better London for everyone – a city that is greener, fairer and more prosperous for all.”

Khan has already given councils tools to buy back homes lost through the Right to Buy scheme with 1,200 homes acquired by councils through the Right to Buy-back scheme.

CHAP gives local authorities the opportunity to buy a wider range of homes from the private market, including acquiring properties sold off through Right to Buy, homes from owner-occupiers and wantaway landlords amid warnings of a landlord exodus as the Renters Reform Bill looms.

Councils can tap into the £1bn Building Council Homes for Londoners grant funding programme, and his £10m Homebuilding Capacity Fund to buy homes.

Khan has promised all homes brought under council ownership will comply with the Decent Homes Standard and meet strict building safety standards. Last year, he demanded improvements to social housing across the English capital after finding one in seven properties failed to meet basic living standards.

Mayor of Lewisham Damien Egan said: “Tackling the housing crisis is one of the biggest challenges facing councils in London. Alongside our existing council house building programme in Lewisham and the success of the mayor of London’s Right to Buy-back scheme, this funding will help address the desperate need for more social housing and temporary accommodation in our borough.”

Unaffordable housing in London is leaving record numbers of people living in temporary accommodation.

Private rental prices in London have grown by 6.8% on average in the year leading up to October – the highest annual percentage change since the Office for National Statistics’ records began in 2006. Khan has called for the powers to introduce rent controls and no-fault evictions to be banned to protect renters.

We’re calling on the Prime Minister to make sure everyone can afford to stay in their homes and pay for the essentials by:

  • Unfreezing Local Housing Allowance rates
  • Increasing Universal Credit to £120 a week for a single adult and £200 for a couple

Will you add your voice to our call and sign the petition?

House prices in London fell 1.1% in the year up to September, but still remain the most expensive of any region in the UK at £537,000 on average, according to ONS figures.

Khan said the long-term solution is to create genuinely affordable council homes and he is “doing everything in his power” to help councils with housebuilding.

The London Mayor added that more than 23,000 council homes have been built – or are being built – with the help of City Hall funding.

Earlier this year, Khan said he had met the affordable homebuilding target of starting 116,000 homes, set under the government’s 2016-23 Affordable Homes Programme.

Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about this? We want to hear from you. Get in touch and tell us more.

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