One in four Right to Buy housing applications are fraudulent in Greenwich borough

Figures from Greenwich Council show that 47 fraudulent right to buy applications were made over a recent three month period.

In total, excluding fraudulent applications, 167 public homes were sold in the last quarter.

Back in January I covered how over the previous quarter 140 homes were sold alone – which totaled more homes than the entire number of new council properties built from 2011 to 2018.

Right to Buy was introduced by the Thatcher government in the 1980s. New Labour did not abolish the policy during 13 years of power though did tighten it up. However they built very few council homes alongside.

The Coalition Government of Conservatives and Lib Dems then greatly relaxed the rules on Right to Buy and increased discounts on offer inducing more homes to be lost. A one-for-one replacement policy never came close to being achieved.

Abbey Wood estate

Councils could for the first time keep income from sales after 2012 but spend no more than 30% directly on building replacements. Authorities must work alongside other agencies such as Housing Associations or in Greenwich’s case could use arms-length housing company Meridian Homes.

However much of the money has instead gone towards buying homes off the market at very high cost (and little oversight) and not building new homes.

The same report reveals the housing waiting list is rising sharply and now at 19,500.

At least 42% of former council homes sold are now let by buy-to-let landlords in London.


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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

6 thoughts on “One in four Right to Buy housing applications are fraudulent in Greenwich borough

  • I am puzzled how council’s housing department is working.

    Council bought 3 local houses that were on the market for quite a while. First took about 9 months from purchase for new tenants to move in, bought in June 2018, renovation started around Sep/Oct 2019 tenants moved in Feb 2019. The other 2 were bought back in March 2019 but still staying empty, even though both are in habitable condition.

    No surprises that waiting list is rising sharply, when even those off the market bought properties staying empty for months.

    • If they were on the market some time price was likely high. I wondered if they paid asking price or negotiated. Possibly overpaid. It’s why we need transparency with spending huge amounts of public money on this.

      • To be fair, they did buy below asking price, with discount about 10% below inflated asking price. Though this £1.1m perhaps could have been spent better elsewhere. Build to rent would be much better investment than buying off the market, renovate, allocate new council tenants and eventually sell it with discount under Right to Buy…

  • Another problem is two many people are coming to Greenwich to be housed in social housing from all over London and the Country. A lot of homeless people I work with have come from outside the Royal Borough of Greenwich and have never previously lived in the Borough. I do agree however, more homes need to built for rent.

  • Too many accomodation allocated for little or nothing. There is abuse of social housing hence it will never be enough. Within greater london there should be a re-distribution of the homes already allocated. More “affordable housing ” and rentals and less homes for free to “parassites” that are enabled to work and pay a rent as others.

  • How apt that such phraseology is brought up in the comments on an article that highlights a practice that is, in itself, ‘parasitical.’ Then also, there’s the ennui inducing inevitably of other entomological specimens creeping out of the woodwork to issue their dejecta on it.


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