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Council House Sales

Volume 21: debated on Friday 2 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied with the progress of all the London boroughs in assisting tenants to exercise their rights under the right-to-buy provisions of the Housing Act 1980; what serious difficulties have been reported to him; and whether in the case of blocks of flats, he is satisfied with the progress to allow tenants to become home owners.

Mr. right hon. Friend is not satisfied with progress in all London boroughs. The main difficulties reported to him are of undue delay, and problems relating to service charges, valuations and the terms of conveyances. Completion of sales of flats under the right -to-buy has now taken place in a number of London boroughs, but in many authorities progress with flat sales needs to accelerate.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will advertise in selected local papers and national papers the rights of tenants under the right-to-buy provisions of the Housing Act 1980; and, in the case of those authorities known to obstruct tenants, what action tenants may take to overcome such obstruction.

Advertising in the national press and on television has been undertaken to inform tenants about the right-to-buy provisions of the Housing Act 1980, and to help them obtain copies of the Department's booklet "The Right to Buy". Where tenants are facing difficulty in exercising their legal rights they should write to me or to my Department providing details whilst continuing to pursue the purchase of their home with their local authority.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many tenants of London housing associations registered with the Housing Corporation, where the right-to-buy provisions of the Housing Act 1980 apply, have submitted the right to buy claim form; and how many have succeeded in exchanging contracts.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many tenants in each London borough have, under the right-to-buy provisions of the Housing Act 1980, submitted the right-to-buy claim form; and how many have succeeded in exchanging contracts.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Mr. Proctor) on 10 March 1982. —[Vol. 19, c. 454–55.] There is no provision under the right-to-buy for exchange of contracts, but my answer of 10 March refers to information on sales completed.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those local authorities known to him which are refusing to sell garages to tenants purchasing their homes under the right-to-buy legislation.

By virtue of section 50(2) of the Housing Act 1980, where the right-to-buy is exercised, a landlord is not entitled to seek to exclude from a sale a garage or other land which is "let together with the dwelling-house" which the tenant occupies under his secure tenancy. Whether a garage or other land is so let will depend on the facts of each case but the mere fact that it is let on a separate tenancy does not itself establish that it is not let together with the dwelling-house. Where such land is not let together with the dwelling-house but is used for the purpose of the dwelling-house, the Act provides that it may be included in the sale if the landlord and tenant agree.The Department is in correspondence with the councils of the London borough of Greenwich and Sheffield about their interpretation of the Act as it applies to land let together with the dwelling-house.