Residents on the Aylesbury Estate are being warned about the perils of Right to Buy from leaseholders who are going through the “nightmare” of selling their homes back to the council for demolition.
Those who previously bought their homes off Southwark Council at a significant discount through the government-subsidised scheme, now have to sell them back so the Aylesbury can be knocked down and more than 3,000 new homes built in its place.
Some leaseholders are currently in a legal battle with Southwark over the offers they have received for their homes, which they say are under what they should be.
Valuations are usually arrived at by looking at the sale prices of similar properties in the area, but as there is nothing comparable to the Aylesbury in the borough, surveyors for the council and the leaseholders choose different examples, which produce disparate valuations.
“It’s a very stressful process to go through,” said Sandy Stewart, a leaseholder on Northchurch who is due to move out of her home of more than twenty years next week. As a trustee of the Creation Trust, a charity set up to support residents on the Aylesbury, Sandy has helped to set up a ‘Buyers Beware’ meeting this month, to inform residents who may not have to move for up to ten years, about the pitfalls of becoming a leaseholder on an estate earmarked for demolition.
“We want to be sure they understand the process,” said Sandy, who says the property valuations are “never what people expect.”
“It’s not all the great deal it may seem. The leaseholders in the early phases have been living with this nightmare for four years or more,” she added, though Sandy is satisfied with the deal she got and is happy to be moving into Notting Hill Housing Trust’s Camberwell Fields development as soon as she gets an exchange date.
Cllr Mark Williams, Southwark’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, previously told the News any leaseholder could take their case to the tribunal if they did not agree with the council’s valuation and Southwark would make revised offers based on the court’s conclusion.
The meeting to advise Aylesbury residents on the Right to Buy process will be held on September 23 at Thurlow Lodge from 7pm.