Right to buy

I spent my life in house-building and I remember well what happened when the right to buy was introduced in the 1980s.

The good tenants who paid their rent regularly and looked after their houses in the nicer estates rushed to buy at the bargain prices on offer.

This left a majority of run-down houses needing lots of repairs on estates where often rent arrears were high.

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Without the rental income from the better estates which had been sold off there was less funding to pay for these repairs and the stock fell even further into disrepair.

The receipts from the sale of houses was not ring-fenced and went into the general council 

I also remember some estate agents and others approaching elderly tenants, with no children to inherit from them, and offering to fund their discounted house purchase and remain in the house rent-free for life on the condition that the property was willed to them.

Reducing the number of houses available for rent in times when there is a severe shortage and a lack of funds to build more, whilst effectively giving tenants who buy many tens of thousands of pounds, seems more than a little incongruous.

Donald Lewis


East Lothian