council houses

What Is Right To Buy? Buying Your Council Home

January 3, 2020 11:22 am Published by

If you are currently live in a council house, then you may be able to purchase the property for a significantly discounted price under the Right to Buy scheme.

Who is eligible for Right to Buy?

Under the Right to Buy scheme, tenants of a council house can, in some cases, claim discounts worth up to 70% of the homes market value. The specific amount that an individual will receive depends on how long they have been a tenant in the public sector.

More specifically, you must have been a tenant of a housing association, council or NHS Trust for a total of at least three years. However, this period does not have to be consecutive or spent in the same property that you wish to buy. You are still eligible for the scheme, if you have accumulated the specified amount of time in any form of council housing throughout your life.

As of April 2019, the Right to Buy scheme is currently exclusive to those in England and Northern Ireland, with the schemes in Scotland and Wales having been abolished during the previous two years.

To be eligible for Right to Buy your home must also fit the following requirements:

  • The property must be your primary residence
  • The property must not have any shared facilities – (i.e. the kitchen, and bathroom are completely enclosed)
  • Your contract must be for a secure tenancy – (i.e. you will be living in the property for the rest of your life)

How do you register for Right to Buy?

In order to apply for this potential discount, you will be required to fill out a Right to Buy application form (RTB1). Once this has been completed, you will need to pass it on to your landlord.

Provided that the housing association agree to sell the home; your landlord will then make an offer. This will be based on a formal valuation and provide details of the amount you will be required to pay for the property.

Once you have received this, you have a total of 12 weeks to either accept the offer or challenge it.

When is a valuation required?

In the case that you accept the offer and proceed with purchase, it is worth considering that you will still be expected to deal with all the additional costs and one-off services.

First and foremost, you will still have to apply for a mortgage in the same manner as usual. This also means that, as the owner, you are now responsible for the maintenance of your property, including any potential repairs or defects.

What’s more, in addition to the mortgage, you will also want to be aware of the costs associated with the process of purchasing. These include solicitors’ fees, stamp duty tax and property surveys. At some point, you will likely be required to request an independent valuation from an RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) regulated surveyor.

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This post was written by Elizabeth Graney

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