The extent of former council homes sold under Margaret Thatcher’s Right to Buy policy and which are now owned as buy-to-let has been revealed by research published this week.

Front cover of Inside Housing magazine.
Inside Housing magazine reveals the extent of former public housing now in the private sector.

Inside Housing magazine has published details of the number of former council homes now being let by private landlords, after analysing statistics from two-thirds of councils in England.

The research reveals that on average more than 40 percent of property bought under Right to Buy is now in the hands of private landlords.

The figures for the London Borough of Camden show that out of the 8,378 leaseholds sold to council tenants, 3,530 — 42.13 percent — are now owned by people living elsewhere. In City of Westminster, out of the 8,988 homes bought, 3,363 — 37.42 percent — are now owned as buy-to-let.

Inside Housing says that the average weekly council rent in London is £108 while for private flats it is £359.

“With the stock of social housing eroding, homeless families are increasingly housed in the private rented sector and more than £9bn each year is paid to private landlords in housing benefit,” says Inside Housing.

“As council housing increasingly becomes private rented housing, the taxpayer suffers and those in need of a secure home suffer while a small number of companies and landlords gain — with the property originally sold off at a loss to the state.”

Scotland scrapped the Right to Buy in July 2016 and Wales is in the process of abolishing it. However in England the government still plans to extend the policy to housing association tenants.

Revealed: the scale of ex-RTB home conversions to private rent.