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The city council is to invest £5 million buying properties in Nottingham, so they can be rented out again as social housing.

It is hoped the scheme will help alleviate the current demand for social housing in the city, and could see around 50 houses all over the city brought back into public ownership.

Already, in the first tranche of the project, £2.85 million has been spent on buying 30 properties.

Now, after the Conservative Government lifted a long-opposed borrowing cap for buying social housing, Nottingham City Council has taken advantage and approved plans for the £5 million scheme.

The houses the city council buy will be former council houses which have been bought by tenants under right-to-buy.

Currently, people who live in council-owned housing have the right to buy their house from the council.

But if the private tenants later sell that property, the council is offered the first right of refusal to buy that house back.

The £5 million will be used to take up that offer, and then make any necessary improvements, in order to rent out the houses.

It will add to more than 500 new-build houses which the city council has built in the last five years with housing association Nottingham City Homes.

Councillor Jon Collins is the leader of the city council and represents the St Ann’s ward for Labour.

He said: “We had already begun buying homes in this way, spending £2.85m on over 30 properties to bring them back into our housing stock – and the lifting of the borrowing cap allows us to continue with the second phase of this programme.

“With an ever-growing waiting list and the increasing problem of homelessness, we’re looking at every way possible to increase the number of affordable homes in the city. We have a legal duty to accommodate homeless people.

“We want to make sure we’re not housing these people in bed and breakfast because it’s four times more expensive than a normal rented house. Keeping people in bed and breakfast is incredibly expensive and it’s damaging to families and children.

“Buying houses in this way allows us to provide better accommodation much more quickly and cost-effectively than building from scratch, but having said that, we have completed 500 new homes in the last five years in partnership with Nottingham City Homes.

“Our Building a Better Nottingham programme is the biggest council house building programme for a generation, introducing new, high-quality homes in areas of high demand.”

“We also work alongside all social housing providers to enable more affordable homes to be built all over the city, and require developers of larger schemes to include affordable homes.”

Source: West Bridgford Wire

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