An update on voluntary Right to Buy09/05/16
Following our recent article, “Voluntary Right to Buy: getting ready” we have received an update from the NHF on the following points:
1. The Timing
The fact that the Housing and Planning Bill is now in “ping-pong” between the Lords and the Commons makes it hard to estimate when the VRtB will be introduced. Whilst there are rumours about late 2016, there is no official start date confirmed for VRtB yet. The NHF have confirmed that a start date will be announced when possible.
2. Repayment of discounts
Repayment of discounts is fundamental to the VRtB deal. The details are being considered by the one-for-one replacement working group. Whether some of the discount will be held until replacements are delivered, and the timescales around this, are still under discussion. The same working group is also looking at the timing for when the remaining 30% discount will be paid in circumstances where replacements have not been delivered.
3. Timescales for delivery of replacements
Again, timescales for delivery of replacements is being considered by the one-for-one replacement working group and has not yet been confirmed. Consideration is also being given to the date from which replacements can be taken into account – e.g. can you start counting replacements before tenants are able to take up the VRtB? You should bear this in mind whether looking at how/when to deliver one-for-one replacements but, although clarity is still needed on the detail, you should start planning how to deliver replacements now.
In summary, the real flesh of the VRtB will be confirmed in due course, once the Sounding Board has been able to report to the DCLG, and the DCLG have considered their proposals. You should, however, start laying the groundwork now, so that you are able to develop your final policies quickly once guidance is issued this summer. The Federation will shortly publish two documents to help members prepare for VRTB: a briefing, on key areas where you can take action now to prepare for the onset of VRTB; a policy update document, which outlines recommendations made by the Sounding Board to date, and points to be considered further.
This information will be made available on the Voluntary Right to Buy website.