You may have the right to buy if you are one of our secure tenants. To qualify you must have been a tenant for three years
The time spent as a secure tenant does not have to be continuous. If you have held a 12 month introductory tenancy and it has been transferred to a secure tenancy, this time will also count towards the three year qualifying period.
You cannot share the right to buy with members of your family who don't live with you, but you may be able to exercise the right to buy jointly with -
- your husband or wife
- civil partner
- members of your family who have lived with you for the last 12 months
- someone who is a joint tenant
The right to buy scheme gives you a discount on the market value of your home. The longer you have been a tenant, the bigger the discount you could get, up to a maximum cash discount of £84,600. This amount increases every April with inflation.
All discounts start at three years of eligible tenancy. Discount levels for houses and flats are different.
If you live in a house, discount starts at 35 per cent for three years tenancy. The discount remains at 35 per cent for the fourth and fifth year. It then increases by one per cent for each extra year of the tenancy, up to a maximum of 70 per cent for 40 years of tenancy.
If you live in a flat, discounts start at 50 per cent for three years tenancy. The discount remains at 50 per cent for the fourth and fifth year. It then increases by one per cent for each extra year of tenancy, up to a maximum of 70 per cent for the 15 years of tenancy.
If you have bought a council property in the past under the right to buy scheme, the amount of discount you received for that property will be deducted from the amount of discount you are entitled to for your current property.
The cost floor rule
Your discount may also be reduced by a special rule called the cost floor. The cost floor rule may apply if your home has recently been purchased or built by the council or we have spent money on repairing or maintaining it. Under the cost the floor rule, the discount you receive must not reduce the price you pay below what has been spent on it by -
If the cost of works carried out over the ten year period is greater than the market value of your home, you will not receive any discount. This period is 15 years if your home was built or acquired by us after Monday 2 April 2012.
Tenants who are not eligible for the right to buy scheme
You are not eligible to buy your home if -
- you are an introductory or demoted tenant
- a court makes a possession order which says that you must leave your home
- a court has made an order suspending your right to buy because of anti-social behavior
- you are an undischarged bankrupt, have a bankruptcy petition pending against you, or have made arrangements with creditors and you still owe money to them
- we have served a demolition notice. We do not have to complete a right to buy purchase while the notice is in force
- the property is within a sheltered housing scheme for older people
Most of the homes we let are available to buy, however there are certain homes which cannot be bought such as those within sheltered housing schemes for the elderly. Other homes which we do not normally sell include bungalows and ground floor flats which are particularly suitable for older people which were allocated to someone aged 60 or over and were first let before 1 January 1990.
If you are told that your home is not available to buy because it is particularly suitable for an elderly person, you can appeal against this decision by contacting the Residential Property Tribunal. There is no right of appeal if your home is not available to buy for any other reason.
Costs to consider
If you are thinking of buying your home, it may be useful for you to work out your current monthly outgoings as a tenant and compare that with the costs of being a homeowner.
The Money Advice Service is an independent organisation set up by the Government. They provide free, impartial advice on a range of financial matters. This includes tips and tools to help you budget, choose a mortgage and work out whether you can afford monthly repayments.
Buying a flat
If you buy a flat or maisonette you become a ‘leaseholder’ which means that you purchase the property on a long term lease. This allows you and your family to live in the property for a fixed time, usually 125 years. We own the building and are responsible for the upkeep of it and the communal areas and facilities, but not the inside of your home. As a leaseholder you pay your share of these costs, these are known as service charges. There are two kinds of service charges
- annual charges are for services provided and day to day maintenance
- major works service charges are for when a lot of repair or refurbishment work is needed. You may have to pay for major works service charges whenever your block is repaired or refurbished. Sometimes these charges can be as much as several hundred pounds each year or even several thousand pounds if your block needs major repairs
If you would like to apply to buy your home or find out more information, visit the Government's dedicated Right to Buy website which enables you to download an application form and guides you through the claim process.
If you are unable to print off your own copy of the form, you can get an application pack by -
- emailing your name and full address to firstname.lastname@example.org
- telephoning 01482 300 300
- visiting one of our customer service centres or information points
During your right to buy application process, you are entitled to essential and emergency repairs only. We are obliged to keep your property wind and watertight and to adequately maintain the services, for example -
- electrical installations
We will not carry out -
- door replacements
- external painting
- central heating installations
- any other major works
You can apply to buy your home if you have rent arrears but your rent account must be clear on the day of completion. If your rent account is still in arrears on the purchase day the sale won’t complete.
If you sell your home
All new right to buy applications are subject to a five year discount repayment period. If you sell your home within five years of buying it, you must pay back an amount of the discount. The amount you must repay is a percentage of the amount you sell the property for (less the value of any improvements you made since purchasing your home). Also, if you sell your home within the first 10 years, you must give us the right of first refusal.
Right to first refusal and buying back ex council properties
Owners who wish to sell or dispose of the property within ten years of buying it must offer it back to the council at full market value under the right of first refusal. The council does not as a rule, re-purchase properties which have been sold under the right to buy provisions . However, in some circumstances, the council has re-purchased properties where the property is included in an area scheduled for demolition or redevelopment.
If you have any further queries regarding this matter please call 01482 300 300.
Advice and support
We can provide specialist information and advice on the processes involved in buying your home. We cannot recommend particular services, such as -
- mortgage lenders
We can offer general advice and guidance at every stage. Our aim is to support you through the entire purchase process, which is likely to take between four and six months.
We deal with all sales of our homes and our services are free. Beware of anyone knocking on your door offering services to help you buy your home and asking for a fee. If you are approached by a person or company offering to help you buy your council home, talk to us before signing up to anything. If you do decide to let them into your home, ask to see their identity card and if you are still in doubt, contact 01482 300 300.
The personal information you supply will be treated as confidential and processed in accordance with your rights under the Data Protection Act. We share this information with other organisations where it is necessary to progress your Right to Buy application. We are also required to share information with central government departments to support anti-fraud work in accordance with Part 2A of the Audit Commission Act 1998.