The Housing Act 1980 was an Act of Parliament passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom that gave five million council house tenants in England and Wales the Right to Buy their house from their local authority. The Act came into force on the 3rd October 1980 and is seen as a defining policy of Thatcherism. In Scotland the Right to Buy was provided by the Tenants' Rights, Etc. (Scotland) Act 1980 and for Northern Ireland it was left to the Housing Executive.

The Vital Statistics Edit

The Act allowed tenants who had lived in their homes for at least three years to buy at 33 % discount of the market price and 44 % for a flat. If one was a tenant for over 20 years they got a 50 % discount. Those not allowed to buy were tenants of charitable housing associations. Mortgage-interest tax relief was also in operation and the Act provided the right to a mortgage from the local authority. The Act introduced the concept known as a 'secure tenancy' which restricted local authorities power to recover possession from their tenants. The Secretary of State had reserve powers to intervene with local authorities if they did not comply with the Act. The Act also gave those who paid a £100 deposit the right to buy their home at a fixed price in a period of two years after paying the deposit. If the tenant was to sell the home they bought under the Act within five years of purchasing it they would have to share the capital gain between themselves and the local authority.

Who supported it Edit

The Act was introduced by the Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher and so was supported by the Tories. It was also supported by Labour and the Liberals.

The Background Edit

Since the Addison Act 1919 the number of council houses had steadily risen for over fifty years and council tenants could only buy their home with the permission of their local authority. The Conservative party under Margaret Thatcher had promised in their manifesto for the general election of 1979 to give council house tenants the 'legal right to buy their homes'.

What it did generally Edit

  • Allowed British subjects to buy their homes from local authorities.
  • Boosted home ownership to 55 % of the population

Criticism Edit

Many of the houses sold were built in the 1950s and 1960s and some are of poor quality. Many have serious structural defects and were designated defective. The Act has also meant a fall in the building of new council properties.

Further Developments Edit

The current Environment Secretary Zachariah Fleming remains committed to the principles of the 1980 Act and it is anticipated that further measures will be brought forward to encourage further transfer of housing stock.

For More Information Edit