CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Sales of street properties by housing associations raise serious questions

22 January, 2021

• HOUSING association sales of street properties receive little attention, certainly not in proportion to the need for homes at social rents in Islington and other inner-London boroughs.

Over the past year Islington Homes for All has compiled a list of all the street properties sold by Peabody (usually by auction) London-wide and in Islington.

London-wide, Peabody sold 112 street properties; in Islington, 15 – seven with one bedroom, four with two bedrooms, two with three bedrooms, one with four bedrooms, another with five bedrooms.

Meanwhile boroughs such as Islington have been suffering one of the worst housing crises for decades.

Can seven flats for the single homeless really be spared? And how many families in Islington are desperate for flats at council rents with three, four, or five bedrooms?

These homes were sold at knock-down prices in the 1970s and 1980s to the predecessors of our current housing associations who received substantial grants of public money from the Housing Corporation.

They were let at social rents for about 40 years and, when sold off, have often been in a state of disrepair, indicating that little was spent on maintenance work.

The total value of London sales exceeded £40million; Islington sales were in excess of £6million.

These sales of London properties for inflated prices, together with grants of public money and income from rents and sales of new builds, mean that Peabody and other housing associations, who started life as social providers of housing, are in line for super profits.

The Tories’ Housing and Planning Act of 2016 rubber-stamped the profit motive for housing associations without affecting public grants.

Now, with Tory plans to introduce homes for sale in the “affordable” category of housing, I suspect many property developers soon will be seeking to become housing associations.

JENNY KASSMAN
Islington Homes for All

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