London's mayor Sadiq Khan has urged private landlords who are planning to exit the private rented market to sell their properties to local councils instead of other landlords.
Khan made the comments within a self-congratulatory statement on his website lauding the success of his '�Right to Buy-back' initiative.
It has seen some �152 million given to 14 participating boroughs across London on buying 1,577 privately-owned homes and converting them into affordable housing '� either council houses let at below-market rents or as accommodation for homeless people.
Khan pitched the initiative as a way to increase council-owned housing stock in the capital after the Conservative's 1980s Right to Buy initiative prompted some 300,000 London council homes sold to their tenant at a discounted rate, with many later entering the private rented sector.
'While the number of Right to Buy sales has been declining in recent years, the policy continues to have a negative impact on the overall number of council homes in London,'� says Khan.
'It also doesn't appear to be fulfilling its original mandate of boosting owner occupation, with recent research finding four in ten go on to be rented on the private market '� sometimes back to the very council that was forced to sell the home in order to house homeless families.'�
In his statement, Khan says that as more and more small landlords sell or plan to sell their properties due to changes in tax laws, the Mayor believes it is far better for these homes to be sold back to the council than to other private landlords.
'These [council] homes were built for the public good and it has been painful to watch them disappear into private portfolios,'� says Khan.
'Returning these homes to public ownership is a key part of my plan to build a better London for everyone '� a city that is greener, fairer and more prosperous for all.'�