London

London Right to Buy tenants 'forced out' of city

Aylesbury Estate
Image caption Ten homeowners on the Aylesbury Estate say they could be forced out of the capital

For developers, businesses and local authorities, regeneration can lead to big profits, but Inside Out London has discovered that for some homeowners, who bought under the Right to Buy scheme, it can lead to the loss of their homes.

All over London, dozens of ageing council estates, past their prime, are being demolished to make way for redevelopments.

It means that leaseholders who bought their homes on these sites under the Right to Buy scheme are being hit with Compulsory Purchase Orders and forced to move out.

Local authorities are legally bound to reimburse these homeowners but Inside Out has uncovered evidence that shows some are being pressured to accept sums that are below market value.

'Fair price'

Ten homeowners on the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark say the council has priced their properties at such low rates it will leave them financially ruined and force them out of the capital.

But when the leaseholders hired independent valuers they came up with figures far higher than the council's.

Beverley Robinson, who bought her home on the estate over a decade ago, claims the local authority valued her flat at £117,000 while two independent valuers priced it at about £300,000.

Ms Robinson said if she accepts the council's offer she will have no choice but to move out of the capital.

Image caption Beverley Robinson fears the banks would not grant her a mortgage if she applied for one

"You can't buy a home in London for under £140,000 which means I will have to start again, finding a mortgage, and at my age that's not an option. I will be turned down by the banks," she said.

Agnes Kabuto, who lives on the same estate, said the council had offered her £145,000 for her three-bedroom home while similar-sized properties in the area were going for about £385,000.

She said swapping her rent account for a mortgage was a mistake.

"I regret buying under Right to Buy. I worked hard to pay for this property. It was meant to be my nest egg for old age but now I feel like the council has robbed me of my home," she said.

But Southwark's Cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Mark Williams, said leaseholders are being offered a fair price.

Legal action

He said: "We are doing everything we can to work with homeowners who are required to move out.

"They are being offered market values for their properties... plus 10% for the inconvenience of moving."

The council also claims leaseholders who wish to remain on the estate will be able to move into new homes under shared ownership or shared equity.

Several of the affected residents are now considering legal action against Southwark Council.

But Southwark is not the only London borough where a row has erupted over a regeneration estate.

Inside Out has discovered that homeowners in Hackney, Hendon and Lambeth are also challenging the compulsory purchase amounts being offered by their local authority.

You can see more about this story on Inside Out London on BBC One at 20:00 BST on 8 September and on BBC iPlayer for the next week.

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