Nearly 200 council-owned properties in Norwich have had to be sold with heavy discounts totalling £6.69m.

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And Norwich City Council insists sales to its tenants under the government’s right to buy project (RTB) have had a “serious impact” on the number of council properties available in the city, while also preventing new ones from being built.

At the moment there are 4,297 people on the authority’s housing waiting list. Of these, 1,040 are in the top three categories, meaning their circumstances may include being threatened with serious and immediate violence, homelessness within weeks through no fault of their own or high medical needs.

Figures obtained by the Evening News show the city council has sold 173 properties since April 1, 2008, under the RTB project.

Norwich tenants have saved up to £75,000 when buying their council house, with properties valued at £16.88m being sold for £10.18m. The government keeps 75pc of the cash from each sale.

Victoria MacDonald, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said representations had been made to government ministers to address issues related to RTB.

Mrs MacDonald said: “Since its introduction in the 1980s the RTB has had a serious impact on council houses available within the city, and indeed the country, as it was forbidden to invest these ‘set aside capital receipts’ in new housing stock.”

People have the right to buy council properties after five years as a public sector tenant and/or a tenant of armed forces accommodation. Discounts are based on the length of a person’s tenancy.

Some tenants in Norwich have been eligible for the maximum £75,000 discount. They include a property in Beatrice Road valued at £165,000 and sold for £90,000 and one in South Park Avenue valued at £145,000 and sold for £70,000.

If a person who has bought under RTB sells the property within five years, they will normally have to pay the council a percentage of the resale value.

Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP, said: “I hardly think the 170 people who aspired to own their own home were wrong to want that, and I would be on their side even if the council is unhappy.

“We do need more homes overall in the area, but Norwich City Council needs to work with the government to achieve that.”

25 comments

  • RTB is obscene and the most appalling aspect is the apparent lack of any covenants to limit the use of the properties after the tenant has bought them. They gain such a financial advantage on the assumption that they will use the house themselves but far too many have been quickly sold on Around Cambridge there are former council estates where the semis are on the market for well over £200-£250K Then there are the council houses which RTB owners then let as student homes-one of my kids lived in one while at university, the rents totalled around £1500 a month and that was several years ago.Nice income from a subsidised purchase of a home which should have been housing a family. In the case of Norwich, if UEA built their own accommodation blocks and no students lived in the Norwich housing stock the housing shortage would be relieved a bit. Quite shocking this RTB has not been repealed.

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    Daisy Roots

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • I wonder how many of you posters who object to this own their own homes. Most I expect. Maybe do a bit of homework on the scheme and understand what the benefits are to society as a whole rather than critising it for giving some people, a helpling hand.

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    Crazy

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • At a time when local authorities seem hell-bent on building more and more houses in the Norwich area - often at an unacceptable cost to the environment and running the risk of grave infrastructure problems - it seems astounding that 'social housing' stock can still be lost to the rental market in this way. Chloe Smith's remarks are ludicrous. At a time when we face a housing shortage at the lower end of the market, we are just helping to saw through the branch upon which we sit.

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    gilded beams

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Right to buy is fine, great. What I can't figure out is why have the 'right to buy' cheaper than the property's actual value, and why the property owners (council presumably !) can't have the money. I guess the former is due to "rent" (probably paid out of benefits) and the latter government greed.

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    Paul

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • dont the city council love figures . But only the ones they want to give to you . What about the figures for housing on how many people got housed under the gateway project . What about the figures for housing people from outside the uk and norfolk . Why are local people not being put first when it comes down to givng away social housing . Lets see all the figures norwich city council so local people know what they are voting for

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    milecross

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • RTB is more correctly RTBV (V for votes). It was never intended to be a serious means of increasing private home ownership, hence the ludicrous discounting and ultimately a shortage of funds for replenished public housing provision. But in turn lots of private landlords and B&B owners have been able to cash in so everyone's a winner.

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • RTB is a curse, and is partly responsible for the appalling lack of housing in England. Ms. Smith as usual says precisely zero, and I cannot understand why the EDP even bothers to print her "non-statements".

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    T Doff

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Now there's an excellent idea. I own my own home and I had to pay full price for it and have to find the money to finance it ongoing. Now if we are to have a level playing field I think that I should be given back by the government 50% of the cost of my house. Or if that leads to squeals of fury from people who want a bargain from the government and dont want any one else sharing that let's have all the right to buys bought at 100% of their value. That should dry up this excuse for people to print money. I had a friend who had a two bedroom flat in Chelsea West London. He sold it on after his right to buy for One Million Pounds. Yes, you read right. And do you know what he did with the money? Bought a French chateau. How glad all those homeless people in England must have been knowing the government was subsidising my chum's regal lifestyle. You think Norwich is bad?

    Report this comment

    Electra

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • the biggest drain on social housing is immigration

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    milecross

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Dave and his rich chums have made it possible for all the RTB sales to be invested back into new council homes. The 75% thingy was under the nuLabour government and their cronies.

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    nrg

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • That works out at on average at £33,450 per property, that is absolutely ridiculous given that the average house price in Norwich is £169,388.

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    Unemployed and Luvin it.

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • I have never seen the point of rtb all it does is take much needed council homes out of the system . If these people can afford to buy a house then they should do what everyone else does and struggle to buy a house .

    Report this comment

    david106

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • I wonder how many of you posters who object to this own their own homes. Most I expect. Maybe do a bit of homework on the scheme and understand what the benefits are to society as a whole rather than critising it for giving some people, a helpling hand.

    Report this comment

    Crazy

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • I would love to have the opportunity to buy my council flat and pay the market value for it, but to do that I need a long term secure job, not work for a Government Department that isn't extending my or other peoples contracts on the support line, but it is conforting to know that other centres are having extended contracts. But that is another story. Saying all that I would not really want to buy my flat considering it took the damn Council nearly 5 years to carry out external repairs and there are still a few minor issues to be sorted. So if I was to buy the property and had to make a contribution to repairs I would expect those repairs to be done a lot quicker by a decent contractor who puts in a cheap bid then goes into Connaught admin for example !

    Report this comment

    che bramley

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • This rat faced Government will steal money from people because they have TOO many bedrooms but they will crucify the social housing programme in support of a dogma enshrined by the barmy Mrs Thatcher. Despair people.

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    Richard Woods

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013

  • We wouldn't really care about this loss of social housing if the Housing Associations which have usurped Councils got building. Anyway normal working people just don't seem to qualify for Council homes. I know its a cliche but a young single mum has just moved in next door. I wonder if she really wanted her child or a property? The state has to pay her to stay at home and she gets cheap housing. She made a good financial choice but we will have a society made up out of people who were conceived for the wrong reasons.

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    oldowl

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • dont the city council love figures . But only the ones they want to give to you . What about the figures for housing on how many people got housed under the gateway project . What about the figures for housing people from outside the uk and norfolk . Why are local people not being put first when it comes down to givng away social housing . Lets see all the figures norwich city council so local people know what they are voting for

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Just as Council Houses are vote catchers for the Left,and that is why Norwich with its thousands of Council Houses keep a Labour Administration on power at City Hall

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Its Obsene that many Coucil House dwellers have no respect for their accomodation.You can see folk who have bought their Council House,the property is upkept well! the gardens tendered and so on ....

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • @Daisy Roots........... Sorry, but your wrong, there are restrictions on the property use and sale for 10 years following the sale. Within that period a % of the discount, on a sliding scale, has to be handed back to the council if the property is sold on.

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    Crazy

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • RTB was a cunning wheeze by Mrs Thatcher to get votes from a sector of society who ordinarily wouldn't vote Tory. Having said that, it did have benefits of increasing home ownership but the mistake was in not recycling the income into new housing.

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    Betty Swallocks

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Following the proposal to sell of gas, water and electricity came Margaret Thatchers way of RTB, in the first ten years some 600.000 properties ended up in the hands of banks and building societies, after people bought and could not afford it. Council handed over the rest of the housing stock for next to nothing, I mean under £5000, to housing associations, and stopped building council houses, the fatal error in my view. If they'd sold off the houses for a fair market price rather than give them away, they could have afforded to build new one's but they failed to do this and that's why housing stalled. Housing Association, compared with large national builders, have no land reserves, they can only use what councils can come up with and private landowners will always go for the highest bidder, who in turn get their income and profits by selling a house for six times its real value. RTB as a one way measure was wrong.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • I am a great fan of Mrs T but on this one she was horribly wrong. The housing stock of an area is just that. The housing stock available to people who have to have social housing for whatever reason usually financial. What on earth made them think that flogging off that stock to people would mean that the problem was solved. It also gave people the idea that the social housing stock unit that they occupied was their own property. It wasn't. It was a rental property for them to live in temporarily (even if that temporary was 30 years) until they no longer needed it and it was handed back to the administrator of the housing stock for use for another person or family. This was just a ploy to give people an asset which they could then immediately flog off and trouser the dosh. It contributed hugely to the ever increasing cost of housing in Britain which means that people cannot buy their own house unless they happen by a coincidence to live in a house they can remove from the central housing stock for next to nothing. But may I correct Daisy Roots. There is at least one area of Norfolk that has got it right. North Norfolk have a covenant on all ex social housing stock which means that it cannot be sold to people moving into the area. It has to go to someone who has lived or worked there for a length of time. And I am delighted to say they make sure that is adhered to. I have just been through the hoops to prove this for someone. And if you do buy it then you are not allowed to let the property as a buy to let which has happened to virtually all the ex social housing stock in Norwich. All Councils should immediately follow North Norfolk's example to bring this removal of the local social housing stock from public use to a halt.

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    Electra

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Whatever happens it should be the tenants's choice.If I were one I would want the service to be co-operatively run-the whole kit and caboodle but I aren't so there you go.

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    Peter Watson

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

  • @Man in the Mirror............Most council properties have been deglected by the council over a long period of time, these properties would never have been worth anywhere near the average house price due to condition and location.

    Report this comment

    Crazy

    Monday, March 18, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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