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Could Leeds City Council buyback of sold-off homes help plug social housing shortage?

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LEEDS City Council is buying back homes that it sold off under the Right to Buy scheme, as it bids to plug a massive social housing gap.

The authority - which has a housing waiting list of 27,000 - has recently been handed a £2m Government funding pot to help it “re-introduce” ex-council homes into its own stock.

Among the homes targeted, and detailed in a new report, is an ex local authority flat in Gilbert Mount, Kirkstall, which was sold to the then-tenant in 1990.

The owner moved away from the area due to ill health and put the flat on sale.

They passed away before it was sold, and the property has stood empty for some time.

The report just approved by the city’s chief asset management and regeneration officer says buying the flat will “assist in meeting the council’s priorities through the provision of additional housing stock”. It says the council has recently received funding to “repurchase ex local authority residential properties that have stood empty for longer than six months with a view to reintroducing these into the council’s housing stock”.

“Given that the demand for social housing is very high cross the whole city, [it is] likely that a new tenant would be available as soon as the property is ready,” the report adds.

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