Phoenix returns Right to Buy homes to social housing

The initiative aims to address the lack of social housing in the area.

Darent Hoos

Homes in south Lewisham sold through Right to Buy are being returned to social housing by Phoenix Community Housing’s new ‘buyback’ initiative.

The resident-led housing association – the only one in London – has so far purchased three Right to Buy properties and has 12 more in the pipeline.

The initiative is funded through previous Right to Buy receipts, and aims to restore good quality homes at low rent in an attempt to address the shortage of social housing in the area.

Phoenix Chief Executive Jim Ripley said: “There’s an ongoing housing crisis in Lewisham, and across London and an acute shortage of social housing.

“We want to support Lewisham Council and other partners in tackling this issue by every means of possible, and I’m pleased that we’re starting to restore homes back to low rents.

“We respect the right of residents to use the Right to Buy but the fact is we will never be able to replace each of these homes with new social housing, particularly given the cost and availability of land.

“Our buy-back scheme offers an easy and practical way for leaseholders to sell their properties and ensure they can be enjoyed by families and individuals who are in desperate need of a decent home.”

Phoenix, which manages 6,300 homes in the Downham, Bellingham and Whitefoot wards of Lewisham, will shortly be writing to all its 1,000 leaseholders to advise them of options for selling back their properties and the associated benefits of saving on estate agents fees.

The programme particularly focuses on two-bedroom homes, which are needed by around 4,000 Lewisham households on housing waiting list.

Phoenix has already started rolling out its new programme of development in south Lewisham, following a £60m investment earlier this year, and will fund around 200 new homes.

Since 2008, Phoenix has sold 160 properties through Right to Buy, with all receipts reserved for the purchase of properties or land on which to develop new homes.

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