What should we know about buying ex-coucil house in London?

Former local authority housing in the right area is good value now that buy-to-let investors are no longer bidding. Here’s where and how to look.

Now that stamp duty hikes and the removal of tax relief on mortgage interest have largely driven buy-to-let investors from the market for ex-local authority homes, the choice for first-time buyers has widened.

Ex-council homes in London come in many shapes and sizes but in all their incarnations they have one thing in common: value for money.


Not all mortgage lenders will loan on ex-local authority homes, particularly buildings which have “deck access” to front doors via a vulnerable long communal balcony.

Some council estates do still have serious social problems, so high-risk estates are to be avoided.

Many are undergoing regeneration which could mean enormous disruption — and potentially huge bills — for people who own their homes. And leaseholders regularly complain about the service charges, which need to be checked out at the start.

The Metropolitan Policepublish detailed crime data but when considering buying in a specific neighbourhood you should walk through it at different times of the day and night, talk to local people and find out if it’s the kind of place you would like to live in.

Well-maintained, good-looking flats suggest residents are invested in their community.

The local council will be able to tell you if it has any major works planned, and you should also find out whether there is a healthy sinking fund to pay for major repairs.


As a general rule, homes on small, low-density developments with on-street positions are the safest bet.

Maintenance costs will be lower — lifts are notoriously prone to breakdowns and expensive to keep running — and your home will be knitted into the local area, rather than isolated on a large estate.

Buyng agent Nina Harrison, from Haringtons, says: “The smaller the block the better. The small block on the corner of Gloucester Walk and Hornton Street [in Kensington] is a classic example.”

For buyers who can’t consider a prime central London property, ex-council or otherwise, there are still some great locations to seek out a good-value flat or house.

Fore more information about the areas check the full article.


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