According to the ‘West End Extra’;
“MORE than 3,000 homes that once belonged to Westminster Council are now in the hands of private landlords – as the borough struggles with chronic shortage of housing.
Council tenants can buy their properties at a discounted rate under the Right to Buy scheme if they have lived in council housing for more than five years.
But 38 per cent of the 9,153 homes that have been sold across the borough are now owned and sub-let by private landlords.
The council say the houses are sold to “give people the opportunity to get onto the property ladder and help them out of dependency into independent lives” but admit they cannot prevent these properties being passed to profit-making landlords.
Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, criticised the council for failing to replace the thousands of homes that were sold and said Right to Buy had contributed towards the current “affordable housing crisis”.
“The Right to Buy was a boon for thousands of people who wanted to own their own homes and had previously not had the chance to do so. But today’s affordable housing crisis is rooted in two consequences: the fact that so few of the 9,153 Westminster Council homes sold over 30 years were replaced – despite the constant re-announcements of a 500-homes building programme – and, secondly, the fact that more than one in three homes are now being let out to private tenants instead, at rents up to five times higher than those the council charges. So the housing queue grows ever longer, lower earners are squeezed out and the housing benefit bill carries on rising.”