North Lanarkshire Council increases home buying scheme
North Lanarkshire Council’s ground-breaking scheme to buy homes on the open sale market is going from strength to strength.
The Open Market purchase scheme was launched in April this year and so far 66 properties have been bought from private sellers, with another 35 already in the pipeline.
Pamela Humphries, head of the council’s housing programme, explained: “We initially set ambitious plans to buy 100 new homes in the first year of this programme but as we have progressed, we have managed to up that target to around 130 in the first year.
“Since we announced this scheme, we have been inundated with people interested in taking part and we have identified and bought many good properties which we can rent out to families and individuals in our local communities. We have set aside a budget of £13m in the first year which enables us to buy homes on sale in the local housing market and bring them up to the high standards our tenants would expect to live in.
“Although no two purchases are the same, as buying prices and the condition of the homes can vary considerably, we have been greatly encouraged by the success of the scheme so far and look forward to developing it further in the future.”
The main criteria for the purchase of homes on the open market is:
- There is demand for the type and size of property in that area
- The combined cost of buying the property and bringing it up to letting standards would represent value for money to the council
- Where the purchase of a property will enable the council to take complete, or majority, ownership of blocks of flats making communal repairs much easier to complete
- Homes purchased would meet the particular needs of households not currently available in the council stock, e.g. homes suitable for people with disabilities
Ms Humphries added: “By purchasing good quality homes on the open market, many of which will be ex-council properties, we can help meet people’s housing requirements and increase local housing supply.
“The purchase of some of these homes also removes homes which have sometimes been considered a blight in local communities as they may have been lying empty or derelict for a considerable period of time and we then bring them back into proper use. The buying of some properties also helps us to us progress common refurbishment works within mixed tenure blocks of flats.”