The Right to Buy scheme is to help tenants in England buy their council home at a discount.
You are probably eligible if you:
- live in a council property
- have been a council or housing association tenant for at least 3 years
Family members who have lived with you in your home throughout the last 12 months may also be able to join you in the right to buy. The longer you have been a tenant the more discount you will get. The maximum discount referred to is currently £87,200 however this figure is reviewed annually.
Costs to consider
You will need to speak to a lender or advisor early on to make sure they are willing to lend you the money. Make sure you understand the deals available and the costs involved before signing. The Money Advice service and other housing advice centres can help you.
Other costs to consider include:
- stamp duty
- building survey
- independent financial advice
- legal advice and solicitor's fees
- ongoing repairs and improvement costs
- insurance for buildings and contents
- life insurance
Buying a flat
We, as your landlord, will be responsible for maintaining the outside of the flat and the building and surrounding area, you will pay your share of these costs, these are known as service charges.
You will also pay your share of major repairs or maintenance costs. This can be several thousand pounds. We, as your landlord, will supply you with an estimate of the charges you must pay during the first 5 years.
Applying to buy
If you are eligible and have decided to apply to buy your home, you should download copies of the Right to Buy Application Form and the Additional Information Form. Completed copies of both forms should be sent to us by post.
When we receive your form we will reply to you within 4 weeks to tell you if you have been accepted on the scheme. If you are not accepted we will let you know why.
Bungalows & ground floor flats
You cannot buy your home if it is a bungalow or ground floor flat that is particularly suitable for an elderly person to live in. However, you have the right to ask the Residential Property Tribunal to decide if this applies to your home.
We will arrange for your home to be valued and we will send you an offer notice showing the value of your home, the discount you receive and the price at which you may buy your home:
- if your home is a house this notice will be sent to you within 8 weeks of our notice saying that you are accepted on the scheme
- if your home is a flat you will receive this notice within 12 weeks
Deciding to buy & completing the purchase
You will have up to 12 weeks to make up your mind if you want to go ahead and buy. If we have not heard from you within 12 weeks we will send you a letter and give you a further 28 days to decide.
If we do not hear from you after this further 28 days we will assume you do not want to go ahead and we will close down your right to buy application.
Completing the purchase
When you tell us you want to go ahead we will arrange for plans of your property to be drawn up, this will take about 5 weeks.
The plans will be sent to our legal department who will prepare the transfer documents or lease and send them on to your solicitor; your purchase should then be completed within about 9 weeks.
Be careful if any person or company offers to help you buy your home
Talk to us first - the company may be offering you a deal which is better for them than for you - remember we will give you free advice about the Right to Buy process.
Selling or transferring your home later
You may sell your home whenever you want but if you sell it within 5 years you will have to repay the discount to us.
The amount you repay depends on the price you sell at and how long you have owned the property. This also applies if you agree to transfer ownership of the property to someone else in the future.
If you sell or transfer ownership of your property within 10 years you must offer your former landlord the first refusal to buy it back. If your former landlord does not want to buy it back you may sell it on the open market.