‘Devastating impact’ on Edinburgh as 2,000 council homes resold in past 19 years
More than 2,000 former council homes in Edinburgh bought under Right to Buy laws have been resold on the open market since the turn of the century, research has found.
Many of the properties, which were originally built by the local authority to offer good quality housing to working families, have since passed into the hands of buy-to-let landlords.
Those who sold on a former council home in the Capital since the year 2000 have made an average profit of £71,000, analysis by the BBC Shared Data Unit found.
Handing council tenants the Right to Buy (RtB) their homes at heavily discounted rates was a cornerstone of Margaret Thatcher’s privatisation programme, which saw state assets sold-off throughout the 1980s.
While popular with those who directly benefited, the policy has since been blamed as a contributing factor to the housing crisis now gripping parts of the UK.
Around 500,000 homes were sold under RtB in Scotland since its introduction in 1980. SNP ministers scrapped the policy in 2016, with the Welsh Government following suit this year.
A total of 53,175 Scots remained the original RtB owners as of April 2018, while 10,860 people were found to have transferred their property for reasons other than purely money.
Council chiefs are now faced with a housing crisis across the Capital, with a shortage of affordable housing in the city while the cost of renting privately across the Lothians has spiralled.
Scottish Government data shows that monthly private rents for three or four-bedroom homes have increased by nearly 50 per cent since 2010 in the Lothian region.
One and two-bedroom properties are up by around 40 per cent over the same time period.
Cllr Kate Campbell, Housing and Economy Convener, said: “Right to buy has had an absolutely devastating impact on Edinburgh - only 15% of homes across the city are now social housing. This is by far one of the lowest figures in Scotland.
“Alongside having the most expensive private rented sector in the country, this undoubtedly impacts on homelessness and levels of poverty as households struggle with high rents but aren’t able to access social housing.
“It’s also made coordinating essential repair work extremely challenging as we share responsibility for repairs and maintenance in blocks across the city with other landlords and homeowners.”
Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “By the time Right to Buy ended in Scotland, around 500,000 homes had been sold and taken out of the social rented sector causing a housing shortage in many areas. By
ending the scheme we have protected around 15,500 homes over a 10 year period.