It has recently come to light that Portsmouth City Council has been selling off empty council houses at property auctions instead of re-letting them to new council tenants. On one date in July 2020 a total of 10 Portsmouth council homes were listed at a residential property auction of the type primarily attended by property developers.
Despite the significant sums of money involved this has not been reported at any public meeting and Portsmouth Labour only became aware when passed information about the listings on the auction house website.
In a letter sent to the Liberal Democrat Cabinet Member for Housing, cllr Darren Sanders, the Labour housing spokesperson cllr Cal Corkery said:
“At a time when the council has hundreds of homeless people accommodated in temporary accommodation, and thousands more families on the waiting list desperate for a move, it cannot be right for council homes to be sold off to property developers in this way.
The council regularly bemoans the number of council houses it is legally required to sell off through Right to Buy, so why then would it choose to voluntarily sell off other homes that can and should be used to house people in need?”
The Labour Group has challenged the administration to report publicly on the selling off of empty council homes on the open market and will be campaigning for an end to the practice.
Portsmouth Labour believes strongly that we need more council houses, not less, and the council should be doing all it can to ensure access to decent affordable housing for all who need it.