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Landlords get rich as a third of ex-council homes in Haringey and Camden now privately rented

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher meets the Greater London Council's 12,000th council house buyer in the 1980s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher meets the Greater London Council's 12,000th council house buyer in the 1980s

Thursday, January 23, 2014
8:00 AM

Thousands of former council homes are now in the hands of private landlords who are able to charge huge rents, a new report shows.

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Campaigners argue the previous “Right to Buy” powers which allowed social tenants to purchase their home from the council has seen a boom in “amateur” landlords and an explosion in rent levels.

According to Labour London Assembly member Tom Copley’s report, From Right to Buy to Buy to Let, 38 per cent of former Haringey Council homes bought under Right to Buy are now being let in the private rented sector.

Camden fares little better with 36 per cent, while Barnet has 37 per cent.

Westminster has 31 per cent – one of the few London boroughs below the capital’s average of 36 per cent.

Robert Taylor, manager of Camden Federation of Private Tenants, said the news was a cause for “major concern” and slammed “amateur” landlords who were only interested in making quick money.

He said: “The housing situation in Camden is incredibly grim and much of that is due to Right to Buy. We have a completely dysfunctional private market which is leaving tenants in such a weak position.

“There is one house we know of which was bought under the Right to Buy. It is a four-bedroom house but has six people living there.

“There are two in the front room. People are being packed in like sardines but they are still charged high rents because it is Camden.”

Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of Westminster Labour group, slammed the Right to Buy powers – arguing they were negatively impacting on people in desperate need of quality housing.

He said: “To add insult to injury, none of the council homes sold in Westminster by the Conservatives at cut prices under the Right to Buy have been replaced and this has contributed to today’s serious housing crisis.”

Mr Copley, who compiled the report from responses to Freedom of Information requests to councils, revealed that last year the average monthly rent in London stood at £1,196 – more than double the average for England.

He said: “It is obscene that a policy developed to promote home ownership has resulted in thousands of former council homes being let through the private rented sector. As a consequence, taxpayer-subsidised housing is inadvertently being used to line the pockets of private sector landlords.”

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