Housing bosses divided over new right-to-buy plans

Ajay Jagota, founder of KIS Lettings.
Ajay Jagota, founder of KIS Lettings.

The founder of a South Tyneside-based private lettings company believes new moves to give tenants the right to buy their homes will provide a boost to borough communities.

A new housing bill will grant 1.3m housing association tenants the right to buy their houses.

People can get a foot on the housing ladder

Ajay Jagota

It will also force councils to sell off high-value properties and invest the proceeds in building affordable ones.

The Government says the measures, detailed in the Queen’s Speech to Parliament yesterday, will prevent Britain becoming a “two-speed country” in which only some people can afford to buy a property.

But housing associations are sceptical and say being forced to sell assets will diminish their borrowing power and impair their ability to build homes.

Ajay Jagota, founder of KIS Lettings, in Fowler Street, South Shields, said: “At the end of the day, if you look at the last general election, it proved the majority of people are aspirational and want to own their own homes.

“And why shouldn’t they if they have the ability to do so and if it is affordable?

“If people can get a foot on the housing ladder, all the reports suggest they then have a stake in their communities, and that is good for those communities.”

Coun Allan West, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for housing and transport, is weighing up the impact the plans will have on the borough’s 18,000 council tenants.

He said: “We will be assessing how best we can work with the Government to develop legislation which balances the need to support people into home ownership with the requirement to provide homes that meet local housing needs.

“It is important that the Government listens to the views of local authorities and housing associations.”

Michael Farr, executive director of developer Isos Housing, a provider of affordable homes across South Tyneside, believes the move would “cripple associations’ ability to borrow and fewer homes would be built”.