Right to Buy

Right to Buy

You could have the right to buy your home if you've been a tenant of a council home for at least three years.

Your tenancy doesn't have to have been with this council, or in your present home, to qualify.

Time spent as a tenant of another council or housing association may count towards your qualifying time. 

You can apply for the right to buy jointly with members of your family who have lived with you for the past 12 months, or with someone who is a joint tenant with you.

 

Before you decide

Other costs to consider

Applying for the right to buy

Exclusions from the right to buy

Finding a Mortgage

Right to buy discount

Selling your property on

 

Before you decide

Before you make any decisions about buying your home, take some time to consider whether it is the right choice for you.

Buying your home is probably the biggest financial decision you will ever make. Once you have bought your home you will become responsible for all the costs in maintaining it, including routine repairs, major structural repairs and any improvements to it.

If you become a leaseholder by buying a flat, you will be paying service charges each year, and also meet the costs of major repairs and refurbishments.

In addition to maintenance costs, there are payments on your mortgage to avoid your home being repossessed by your lender.

It is worthwhile to check that your budget can meet all the possible costs of home ownership. You should also bear in mind the prospects of your income changing and how that might affect the property's affordability in the future.

You can use this cost comparison to look at the costs of being a homeowner.

We also recommend you speak to a financial adviser that is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for some financial advice.

calculator, coins, piggy bank

Other costs to consider

We recommend you employ a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to look after the legal side of buying your home. Legal fees vary depending on who you instruct.

It is always advisable to ask how much they will charge for doing your legal work, and get a few quotes, before instructing anybody.

Survey fees

You will need to arrange for a structural survey of your home.

Stamp duty

You may have to pay stamp duty, which is a tax that people pay when they buy a house. Stamp duty is calculated as a percentage on the price you pay for a property that is worth more than £120,000. You will pay 1% of the purchase price for a sale between £120,000 and £250,000 as stamp duty or 3% if the sale is in excess of £250,000.  You can find out more about stamp duty on the government website.

Valuation fees

A valuation report will be required by the mortgage company to confirm the value of the property and make sure it is suitable security for a mortgage.

Land registry fees

When your purchase is completed, you must pay the land registry to register you as the new owner.

Searches

There are various searches that you will need to have carried out on your home. Your solicitor will let you know which searches you will need.

 

Applying for the right to buy

If you would like to apply for the Right to Buy, please contact the Leasehold Services Team on 01954 713338 to find out more about buying your home.

Your right to buy application is dealt with within certain timescales set out by the government.  The process is set out in the step by step guide below.

Application form

If you think you are eligible and feel ready to apply for the Right to Buy, you need to fill out the RTB1 application form.  You can request a copy from us or it can be downloaded from the government right to buy website.  They also have advisers that can help you through the application process.

You will need to print the form, sign it in all relevant sections and take or send it by recorded delivery to us. It is also advisable to keep a copy of the completed form.

Once we have received your application, we will send you either an RTB2 Admittance or Denial notice within four weeks (or eight weeks if you have previously been a tenant of another landlord) of us receiving your application.

Offer Notice

If your right to buy is admitted, we will contact you to arrange an inspection of your home for a valuation.  We then have eight weeks if your property is a house, or twelve weeks if your property is a flat, to send you your Section 125 Offer Notice.

This Offer Notice will describe the property, tell you the price of the property and the discount you are entitled to.

If your home is a flat, the notice will also contain estimates of the service charges and maintenance costs you will have to pay as a leaseholder.

Your Offer Notice will also contain a structural defects sheet that will detail any structural defects that were noted at the time of inspection.  However, please note that we do not carry out a survey of your home - you will need to arrange this yourself.

Stating your intentions

Once you have received your Offer Notice, you have 12 weeks from the date of your offer to let us know of your intentions.  If you want to purchase the property, return your Right to Buy Acceptance Form, giving us your solicitors details.

Alternatively, if you want to withdraw your application you return your Withdrawal Notice.

If we do not receive a response from you within the 12 weeks, then you will be issued with a 28-Day Notice requiring the service of either a Notice of Intention to Proceed or a Withdrawal Notice.  If you do not reply within the 28 days then your application will be withdrawn and your application will be cancelled.

When you return your Acceptance Form, your file will be passed to our legal team, who will then be dealing with your purchase directly with your solicitor.

We have the discretion to serve a Notice to Complete your purchase, three months after you serve your Acceptance Form to Proceed on the Council.  If you do not complete the purchase within the time stated on the notice, then your application will be withdrawn.

advice, house for sale, paperwork

 

Exclusions from the Right to Buy

There are some circumstances that mean you may not be able to apply for the Right to Buy.   You will not be able to buy your home if a court makes a possession order against you, which says that you must leave your home.

There are also some dwellings excluded from the right to buy:

  • sheltered housing for the elderly
  • homes used for temporary housing
  • homes let in connection with your employment, for example, a caretaker's house
  • homes that are particularly suitable for elderly persons

A home may also be excluded if the property was first let to you for occupation at aged 60 or over.

Finding a Mortgage

There are many lenders providing different types of mortgages and deals, it is therefore vital that you shop around and consider all the options so you can choose the best type of mortgage to suit your personal circumstances.

You may be required to pay an arrangement fee, but the cost of this will depend on your chosen lender.

Taking advice from an independent financial advisor is recommended.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) provides helpful advice for purchasers.

 

Right to Buy discount

Your home will be valued and the discount that you are entitled to is deducted from the value of your home to calculate the purchase price.

The longer you have been a tenant, the bigger the discount you get off the market value of your home.  Discount levels for houses and flats are worked out differently, and start at three years of eligible tenancy, increasing to a maximum of 70% of the property value, depending how long you’ve been a tenant.

You can use this Right to buy calculator

If you do not agree with the valuation that you receive from us you can appeal to the district valuer for a redetermination of the value of your home within the first three months.  You need to put your request in writing to us and we will then refer it to the district valuer.

Please note, the district valuer's decision will be final - even if it is higher than our own valuation.

If you have purchased a property through the right to buy scheme before, the amount of discount you received then, will be deducted from your discount when you buy again.

 

Selling your property on

If you sell your home within the first five years of purchasing through the right to buy scheme, you will have to repay some or all of your discount.

A sale in the first year will result in 100% of the discount being repayable. This reduces by 20% for each full year of ownership, so that a sale during the fifth year of ownership results in only 20% of the discount being repayable.

  • 80% of the discount in the second year
  • 60% of the discount in the third year
  • 40% of the discount in the fourth year
  • 20% of the discount in the fifth year

Example: You bought your home worth £100,000 and got a 40% discount (£40,000). You then sold your home after 18 months for £120,000.

40% of £120,000 is £48,000. As you’re in the second year, you would repay 80% of £48,000 (£38,400).

 

The amount you pay back depends on the value of your home when you sell it.

 

Back to top

 If you need any more information about the Right to Buy, you can download the government booklet Your Right to Buy Your Home.  The governments Right to Buy agent service offers free and impartial advice on Right to Buy.

 

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