Right-to-buy homes being sold back to councils

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CASH-STRAPPED Scots are selling their former council homes back to local authorities because they can no longer afford the mortgage payments.

An increasing number of homes purchased under the right-to-buy are being bought back by councils and social landlords.

Scottish Government figures show 303 Scots sold their house to social landlords in the last financial year using the Mortgage to Rent (MTR) scheme.

This represents a rise of 25 per cent on the 223 homes purchased the previous year and is almost double the amount sold between 2007 and 2008.

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) says the majority are among the 500,000 former council homes that had been bought using right-to-buy powers brought in during the 1980s.

Andy Young of the SFHA said: "Anecdotally, most people taking up the scheme are in houses previously bought under right-to-buy, though not necessarily by the same person.

"Generally our members find the scheme useful."

Homeless charities have supported the MTR scheme as it prevents people from being evicted while increasing the amount of social housing.

However, housing officers say many who have gone back to being tenants found the process upsetting.

Gordon MacRae of the homeless charity Shelter Scotland said: "These figures show increasing numbers are struggling to pay their mortgages and this situation will only worsen when - not if - interest rates rise.

"That is why Scottish and UK Government mortgage support schemes must be preserved to help prevent a second wave of repossessions.

"It also shows the desperate need for more affordable homes."