Whose home is it anyway?

8 Jul

Back in 2014 the council announced NewShare – an “exciting new Shared Equity scheme that offers potential home owners, who are currently frozen out of the London housing market, a helping hand onto the property ladder.”

The plan was to offer 1,220 homes for sale, in three categories: “new homes built by the council, street properties acquired by the council and empty council properties.”

According to the marketing guff

All homes available have undergone a comprehensive and high standard refurbishment to ensure that they are ready to move in to. The refurbishment includes refitted kitchens, with brand new appliances, refitted bathrooms, new carpets and redecoration in a neutral colour scheme throughout.

Despite the obvious objection that selling off council houses was a strange way to deal with a shortage of affordable homes in the borough, Labour councillors voted the scheme through.

They believed Sir Robin when he said that helping residents into home ownership would “…encourage them to settle in the borough and really get involved in the life of the community.”

Now that the scheme has launched a number of them are surprised to find that the earnings ceiling has been set at a whopping £90,000 per annum. That’s more than three times the average household income for the borough. Even with house prices at their current ludicrous levels it’s hard to describe anyone earning that much as “frozen out of the market.” 

So, two years on, how’s it going?

According to a recent Freedom of Information request a total of 70 homes have been sold through the scheme so far.

And one of them was sold to a member of the council.

The councillor was not named in the FOI response, but a quick check on the register of interests reveals the lucky man to be Cllr Forhad Hussain, cabinet member for Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour and Deputy Cabinet Member for Building Communities. One of the mayor’s most trusted lieutenants.

He ran for council in 2006 on the Respect ticket and was elected for Labour in 2010. He’s been in the cabinet since 2012. So you’d think he was already pretty well settled in the borough and “involved in the life of the community.” And being the recipient of close to £45,000 a year in allowances should be encouragement enough to stay.

The comprehensively refurbished home Cllr Hussain now owns was previously an empty Council property. 

8 Responses to “Whose home is it anyway?”

  1. JM. July 8, 2016 at 15:26 #

    What an astonishingly lucky man that Councillor Hussain is!

  2. q July 8, 2016 at 18:23 #

    Does he own any other property inside newham?.

    • Martin Warne July 27, 2016 at 09:39 #

      Not according to the previous versions of his register of interests, which are once again available to view on the council website.

  3. The Real Thing. July 9, 2016 at 10:16 #

    Would not suprise me according to many sources Cllr Hussain intends to rent the property, and is not currently living there.

    • d July 9, 2016 at 14:35 #

      Renting the property out maybe against the terms of his morgage or the sale in the first place. If he bought the property with a ‘buy to let’ morgage, the council should know about it when the sale was going though, which would possible be against the spirit of the scheme in the first place?.

      • terry ball July 21, 2016 at 07:50 #

        i am sure they will blame peopleon the bottom of the ladder as opposed to those who have their snouts in the trough or members ,there is always someone to blame beside the best paid in newham ,probably the tea boy or a cleaner .

  4. terry ball July 10, 2016 at 10:56 #

    is it taking anything away or profiting from others ?,he is hardly on a scale with councillors like noor who is suspended for profiting from council without a license to do so, that is abuse .

  5. Marg August 4, 2016 at 14:08 #

    I think this is a disgrace! I cannot believe that locally elected Councillors think that this sort of scheme is appropriate, especially when you consider the levels of those waiting for Social housing, in Newham.

    I’m a locally based Newhamnite. Have lived in and worked in the borough most of my life. I’m a local council tenant of a one bed-roomed flat in East Ham, where I waited to be rehoused for 9 years under the ‘choice based lettings scheme’.

    Recently, I’ve just watched Newham Council get a 2/3 bed-roomed flat back from an ‘absent’ tenant, after 5 years. Then they refurbished it to the highest standard and quality, which must of cost enough. (and I mean the highest level of refurbishment I’ve seen from the London borough of Newham at all, garden included).
    Since then, its taken 8 weeks to do the refurb, inside and out. we even got our communal area painted too. I continue to witness ‘the posh folks’ (my term) come to see whether they would like to buy an ex council property, and I’m not sure that they know that they that the scheme is to encourage them to stay and become involved in our local community.

    So the sale of this once council property, will soon become the property of some less fortunate “potential home owners, who are currently frozen out of the London housing market”. So here, I now read, that the “that the earnings ceiling has been set at a whopping £90,000 per annum.” and according to the above blog…..”That’s more than three times the average household income for the borough. Even with house prices at their current ludicrous levels it’s hard to describe anyone earning that much as “frozen out of the market.”

    Mean while the funds from the sale, go to the councils coffers. So those waiting on social housing lists continue to wait for housing, endlessly, amongst chaos and confusion about the updated Choice based lettings scheme. and the likes of our locally elected Councillors think its still ok to buy, council properties and in some cases multiple properties in the borough.

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