The Housing (Sale of Local Authority Houses) Regulations 2015, provide the basis for the current Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme, which came into operation on 1 January 2016, which allows local authorities to sell local authority owned dwellings to existing social housing tenants. The Scheme does not extend to houses owned by Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) as the ownership of these properties remains with the AHB concerned.
Under the terms of the various funding schemes supporting the delivery of social housing by AHBs, AHBs are the legal owners of the properties and must make them available for social renting for the duration of the mortgage or, as the case may be, the availability agreement. My Department cannot unilaterally make provision for their sale to tenants. Any such decision would have to involve the AHB and have regard to the mortgage on the property. On expiry of the mortgage period and subject to compliance with the terms of the funding agreement, the AHB becomes the owner of the property.
However, Section 45 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 does provide for the sale by local authorities and AHBs of designated new houses to eligible households, subject to specified terms and conditions set down in the Act and associated Regulations (The Housing (Incremental Purchase) Regulations 2010- S.I 252 of 2010). However, any such sales would have to be progressed by the AHBs in conjunction with the relevant local authority concerned. Neither my Department or myself has any role in the process.
There are currently no plans to introduce a general tenant purchase scheme, analogous to the 2015 Scheme in operation for local authority tenants, for tenants of houses owned by AHBs.