Although statutory protection from the Right to Buy will no longer apply to small rural villages, it is now clear that there will be no new legislation to over-ride the legal barriers that are locally in place. In our view, such local legal barriers will effectively protect Wessex-supported CLT/HA schemes from the Right to Buy:
- All Wessex-supported CLT/HA schemes are developed on exception sites and, as such, are subject to Section 106 Agreements which require homes to be kept affordable in perpetuity, thus preventing sales through the Right to Buy. Such Agreements can only be varied with the consent of all parties, one of which is the CLT (as landowner).
- The Wessex CLT Project has commissioned legal advice on a second legal barrier: a new clause for CLT/HA leases to prevent tenants of partnership schemes being offered the RtB their homes (without the consent of both the CLT and HA). We have commissioned one of the leading legal firms in the affordable housing sector – Trowers and Hamlins – to draft this clause to ensure that it doesn’t compromise the ability of our HA partners to secure development funding on CLT schemes.
In recognition of the legal barriers set out above, we understand that, under certain circumstances, housing associations will be be able to offer tenants an alternative home under the Right to Buy to the one they are living in. Such circumstances were set out in an agreement between housing associations and the government in September [our italics]:
- “Properties held in a Community Land Trust.”
- “Properties in rural locations as defined by Section 17 of the Housing Act 1996. This would generally mean properties in
- National Parks,
- Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and
- places that have been designated as rural by the Government (places with fewer than 3,000 inhabitants per hectare).”
All Wessex-supported schemes are covered by one or more of these circumstances.