Research by Lambeth People’s Audit has uncovered a huge sell-off of council housing by the London Borough of Lambeth.
In the seven years from 2010/11 to 2017/18 Lambeth Council sold off more than 300 council homes. This is in addition to nearly 600 properties already sold off in the ten years to 2010 and does not include properties bought by council tenants under Right-To-Buy.
Using land registry data and other sources, Lambeth People’s Audit  has found the seven-year sell-off raised £150 million for the borough – and cost over £1.5 million in staff and legal fees to implement.
These capital receipts have not, however, led to a boom in building new council homes. The People’s Audit found only nine new council homes were built between 2014 and 2018.
A new People’s Audit report published on Monday 21st October 2019 , The Great Lambeth Housing Sell-Off, details the fate of individual properties, including:
- Almost £100 million raised from selling former short-life properties in areas such as Clapham, Brixton and Crystal Palace, which had been owned by the council but maintained by their residents since the 1970s.
- £50 million raised from the sale of other properties in areas such as Camberwell, Kennington, West Norwood, Stockwell, Brixton and West Dulwich.
It demonstrates the hand-over of what were once public assets to property developers (some of whom are based off-shore), buy-to-let private landlords and a number of wealthy individuals. After refurbishment some of these ex-council properties are home to some well off people including two members of the aristocracy and the heiress to a multi-million-pound fortune.
It illustrates how many of the properties bought cheaply from Lambeth have since been sold on by their new owners for considerably higher sums
Attempts by Lambeth People’s Audit to find out how the council has spent the money raised by the sell-off have been frustrated by the council’s refusal to answer repeated Freedom of Information requests. From publically available data, however, it appears very little has gone to fund new housing; capital spending has gone predominantly to schools and resurfacing roads and pavements.
Meanwhile, Lambeth Council announced in 2018 it will borrow £300 million from the government to fund a new home-building programme.
- Who are the People’s Audit: http://www.thepeoplesaudit.info/about-2/
- Read The Great Lambeth Housing Sell-Off here: