East Lothian Council Cabinet members have approved a decision for the council to buy a discounted home and change the tenure to mid-market rent to ensure the unit remained affordable.
Since 2015, the council has secured a number of properties in new developments across East Lothian for low cost home ownership. Applicants meeting certain criteria can apply to buy these properties at a discounted price to allow them the opportunity to own a home that they would not have been able to buy at full market price.
If and when these properties are sold on, they must be sold under the same conditions i.e. at a discounted price to someone who meets the council’s criteria. However, if they are not sold within 13 weeks of going on the market, East Lothian Council then has the option to buy the property at the same discounted percentage. If the council does not pursue this option, the property is sold at full market value and is essentially ‘lost’ as an affordable housing unit.
Approval was granted to set up a new not-for-profit company, East Lothian Mid Market Homes LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) to deliver homes at a rent below market rents. This company was established in 2019 and to date has delivered 50 homes at mid-market rent. The company hopes to increase its stock and will continue to explore new opportunities to do so.
The property was acquired at a sum of £147,155 through a grant to East Lothian Mid Market Homes LLP from the Second Homes Council Tax budget. The two bedroom property in Haddington was successfully let in December 2020. Cabinet Members formally endorsed the decision to acquire the property at today’s meeting.
Councillor Jim Goodfellow, the council’s spokesperson for Housing said: “This decision has ensured that this home has not been lost as an affordable unit. Buying properties for mid market rent increases the affordable housing options in East Lothian for those in need of affordable housing. It also helps to ensure we are promoting sustainable and mixed communities, developing a range of affordable housing to match local needs. As set out in our Affordable Housing Policy, increasing the supply of social rented properties in East Lothian Council remains the priority, however the council acknowledges that there is a need to increase choice for those in need of affordable housing and deliver other affordable tenures such as mid-market rent and this decision helps to achieve this.”