Conservatives call for Tenant’s "Right to Move"


The Conservative party has called for greater freedom for social tenants to move around the country to seek jobs or move nearer to relatives whilst retaining their social housing rights. The Conservatives believe that this would carry a number of benefits such as reducing social polarisation, enabling social tenants to move nearer to jobs and leading to a greater variation in the mix of tenants.

In a Green Paper the Conservatives have said the right should apply to all local authority tenants who can demonstrate a good history as a tenant.

The proposals would mean that a local authority would be under an obligation to sell the existing property and use the proceeds, less any transaction costs, to purchase a new property anywhere in England. This would, however, be subject to some restrictions, such as a prohibition on moving from an expensive area to a cheaper area in order to obtain a property with more bedrooms.

The Conservative Shadow Housing Minister Grant Shapps advocated the benefits of the scheme, saying “we need social housing that promotes opportunity and social mobility, rather than reinforcing welfare dependency”. The Conservative Leader David Cameron also believes that this, along with the setting up of local housing trusts to allow local areas to have more power to determine the need for additional housing, would potentially bring an end to house price volatility.

The Conservatives propose, should they come into power, to pilot the scheme in 5 areas, but if successful, to introduce the scheme nationally.

However, the proposals were criticised by Labour Housing Minister Iain Wright as being “old ideas rehashed to sound new” and dismissed them as lacking detail and information on financing. The Minister also criticised the Conservative Party’s history on social housing, accusing them of slashing spending in this area and leaving a generation condemned to inadequate housing.

This article was written by Mark Kelly, Conveyancing Team.

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