Social housing association tenants across the Birmingham and the Black Country are among the first in the UK being given the chance to buy their homes.
The long established Right to Buy policy for council houses is being extended to housing association tenants across the Midlands under a £200 million Government pilot scheme being launched today.
They will be able to register for the chance to purchase their property at a discounted rate and take that first step on the property ladder.
But unlike the council house scheme, the Government has pledge to replace every home sold with a new affordable home.
Birmingham landlords such as the Bournville Village Trust, Midland Heart, Bromford Housing, Castle Vale Community Housing, Optima and Aspire are among dozens to be included in the pilot scheme.
There is a strict limit on the funding and therefore if the pilot is oversubscribed places will be awarded via a ballot of all tenants who registered.
Housing and communities secretary James Brokenshire said: “ This government is committed to providing opportunities for people to get a foot on the property ladder and to have a place they can call their own.
“Our £200m investment into the Midlands Voluntary Right to Buy Pilot is the first step in helping housing association tenants realise their dream of home ownership.”
The trade group for social landlords, the National Housing Federation, has worked on the scheme with the Government.
It's chief executive David Orr said: " Over the past three years, we have worked closely with the Government on its proposal to extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants. Of course, this pilot is not the finished product. We want to take the time to get this major endeavour right.
“It will be a success for everyone involved only if every home that is sold is replaced with a new affordable home, and if the application process is as smooth as possible for tenants.
“Now, we are looking forward to working with tenants, with housing associations and with the Government to make this pilot a resounding success. This scheme must empower social housing tenants and meet our own ambitions to deliver the homes the country needs.”
Since the right to buy was introduced during the 1980s tens of thousands of Brummies have bought their properties. But the failure to replace them has been highlighted by critics as a key cause of the current housing crisis.
There were more than 120,000 council houses in Birmingham during the 1980s, now there are about 60,000 .
Places for the pilot right to buy, available in the East and West Midlands via the official registration website. The deadline to register is September 16 after which the ballot will be held.
The government says it will assess the impact of the pilot before deciding on the next steps for this policy.