Hounslow Brings More than 550 Homes into Council Ownership
As part of the Mayor of London’s work to increase the number of council homes in London, he has struck a new deal to help Hounslow Council bring 555 homes into council ownership.
The west London borough will receive £38.7m from the Mayor’s new Right to Buy-back fund – the largest allocation under the scheme since it launched in July. The fund gives boroughs and council-owned housing companies the ability to purchase homes from the open market, including former council homes that have been sold through the Government’s Right to Buy programme. These homes can then either be let at social rent levels or used as accommodation for homeless families.
Islington became the first borough to receive funding through the Mayor’s Right to Buy-back scheme in September 2021. Out of the 555 homes Hounslow Council will bring into council ownership, 20 family-sized homes will be ringfenced for Afghan nationals who have been granted leave to resettle in the UK.
Hounslow will purchase a further 25 homes and convert these to low-cost, social rented homes specifically for care leavers on the housing register. Councils have a duty of care to teenagers leaving the care system but unfortunately many still end up struggling to find accommodation. Nationally, one third of care leavers become homeless in the first two years immediately after they leave care. These homes and the support offered by the council aim to go some way to reversing this trend in Hounslow.
Hounslow’s enthusiastic adoption of the Mayor’s Right to Buy-back fund is just one aspect of the council’s ambitious social housing programme. Hounslow is already on track to deliver their target of 618 new council homes through the Mayor’s Building Council Homes for Londoners programme, for which they have so far received over £35m in funding from the Mayor.
All homes purchased through the Mayor’s “Right to Buy-back” fund must meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard.
Whilst 20 of the homes will be for Afghan refugees and 25 for care leavers, the remaining 510 council homes will be made available to house individuals and families on the council’s housing waiting list.
Over the last 40 years councils have lost both the funding and expertise they require to build more council homes, but this is finally now changing, with the Mayor overseeing a renaissance in council housing. A total of 4,689 new council homes were started in London in the 2020-21 financial year, the highest level since the 1970s.
The number of council homes started annually in London has increased six-fold since 2016, with only 774 started in the final year of the previous Mayoralty. The Mayor’s commitment to unlocking funds for council homebuilding from the Government has helped ambitious councils grow their capacity and expertise to deliver at scale for the first time in a generation.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “I’m determined to continue increasing the number of council homes for Londoners and I’m delighted that Hounslow has committed to using investment from City Hall to bring so many properties back into council ownership. This will enable Hounslow to provide good quality and genuinely affordable homes to more than 500 families in London.”