Buying your Council home
Most Council tenants are able to buy their home under the Right to Buy Scheme.
There are a number of companies offering help with buying your council home please see this information before you sign anything.
Can I buy my home?
Most Council tenants have the right to buy their home, whether it is a house or a flat. You need to fulfil two main requirements:
- That you are the legal tenant of the property
- That you have been a tenant for at least five years of this council, another council or another 'Right to Buy' landlord
You cannot buy your home if:
- It is 'sheltered' housing for the elderly or disabled
- It is a dwelling particularly suitable for the elderly and let to an elderly person
- It is housing for the physically disabled that is purpose built or has been substantially adapted
- You are an employee of the council and your home comes as part of your job
Can someone else buy with me?
Yes, anyone who is a joint tenant with you can buy with you. Also, other members of your family who have lived with you for the last 12 months and it is their only or principle home can buy with you.
How much will I have to pay?
Your house will be valued at current open market value. If you have carried out any of your own improvements the value of these will be deducted. You will then receive a discount on the market value and this discount depends on the length of time you have been a tenant of this or any other council or of another 'Right To Buy' landlord even if there are gaps between tenancies. The discount is different for houses and flats or maisonettes. For houses, after 5 years of tenancy the discount is 35% with an additional 1% for each extra year up to a maximum of 60%. For flats the discount is 50% after 5 years of tenancy with an additional 2% for each extra year up to a maximum of 70% discount. However, this discount does have a limit of £16,000.
Are there any other charges if I live in a flat?
If you are buying a flat you will buy the leasehold of the property. You do not own the land or the building but have bought the right to live in your home for a fixed period of time. There will be extra charges and you will have to pay an annual service charge which covers maintenance to the structure and exterior of the block you live in.
The leaseholding pages have more information.
What costs are involved in buying my home?
When you buy a property you have to pay Land Registry fees, the solicitor's fees, surveyor's fees, mortgage arrangement fees, valuation fees and the mortgage itself.
What repairs will be carried out if I apply to buy my home?
After you apply to buy your home only certain repairs will be carried out until purchase. Improvement programmes such as upvc window replacement will not be carried out on your home.
Can I later sell the property?
You can sell whenever you like. However, if you applied for the Right to Buy before 18th January 2005 you will have to pay back a proportion of the discount you received if you sell within 3 years of buying. If you applied for the Right to Buy on or after 18th January 2005 you will have to pay back a proportion of the discount received if you sell within 5 years of buying.
How do I apply?
Contact your local District Housing Office or the Right to Buy team on 01792 635011 and ask for the application form 'Notice Claiming The Right To Buy' RTB1, complete it carefully, make a copy for yourself and return it to your local District Housing Office or the Right to Buy team. Alternatively, you can download the form here.
The Council will investigate whether you have the right to buy and reply to you within 4 week, or within 8 weeks if you have not been a tenant of this landlord for 2 years.
The property will then be inspected to assess what is included in the sale and assess its value.
You will then be notified (you will receive a Section 125 Notice) of the price you have to pay, including any discount and of any terms and conditions attached to the sale eg service charge if leased.
Following this you should arrange for a solicitor to oversee the sale and a surveyor to survey your home to advise you on its structural condition and value. You will also need to arrange a mortgage. Remember that you will probably need to provide some of the money yourself as a deposit.
Completing the sale
When everything has been arranged and you are happy to go ahead with the purchase, notify your solicitor and the Council. Your solicitor will then arrange for you to complete the legal documents and make payment for your purchase. The completion of this can take some weeks.
Remember following purchase:
- You are responsible for all maintenance and upkeep of your home
- Your mortgage repayments must be kept up as the lender can go to court and ask to take over your home - if you get into problems with repaying your mortgage you must contact your lender. Your old landlord does not have to give you another tenancy if you lose your home in this way.
- To arrange buildings insurance to ensure the full value of your home is protected against fire, flood or other accidents.
There is information available about the Right To Buy on the Gov.UK website, however the details relating to discount amounts do not apply for tenants in Wales. The maximum discount in Wales is £16,000. Here is the link to the website - https://www.gov.uk/right-to-buy-buying-your-council-home