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Can I buy my council home?

Am I eligible?

Under the Right to Buy scheme, you may be eligible to purchase your council home. Before making an application, you should check you meet the following criteria:

  • The property must be your only or main home
  • The property is self-contained
  • You are a secure tenant
  • You have been a public sector tenant (for example, a tenant of a council, housing association or NHS trust) for 3 years

You can use an eligibility calculator to check whether you can apply.

 

Council home

 

What discount can I obtain?

If you are eligible under the Right to Buy scheme, you can obtain a discount on the market value. The maximum discount is £96,000 across England, or £127,900 if you live in a London borough.

Several factors are used to calculate the discount, including how long you have been a tenant, whether you are buying a house or a flat and the value of the property. You can use an eligibility calculator to help you work out what discount you may be entitled to.

 

How to apply

To apply for the Right to Buy scheme you need to complete the application form (RTB1 notice), which can be found on the government website, and send it to your landlord.

Your landlord must respond with a decision within 4 weeks of receiving your application. If they say no, they must give you a reason why. If they say yes, they will send you an offer within 8 weeks if you are buying a freehold property or 12 weeks if you are buying a leasehold property. The offer will include information such as:

  • the price they think you should pay for the property and how it was worked out
  • your discount and how it was worked out
  • a description of the property and any land included in the price
  • estimates of any service charges (for a flat or maisonette) for the first 5 years
  • any known problems with the property’s structure, for example, subsidence

 

Accepting your offer

If you decide to proceed, it is important you accept the offer within 12 weeks. Failure to accept within 12 weeks may result in your application being closed.

Once accepted you will need to instruct a conveyancer and, if you need a mortgage, you should start an application as soon as possible. If you intend to borrow a little more for home improvements, you should be mindful that your landlord will request quotes for the home improvements before approving the additional borrowing.

 

Selling your council home

Properties purchased until the Right to Buy scheme are subject to some restrictions, which you should consider carefully as they will affect you when you come to sell the property.

Firstly, if you sell the property within 5 years of purchasing it you will be required to repay a percentage of the discount given by your landlord. This is applied on a sliding scale, with the repayment decreasing for every year you have owned the property. A charge will be registered against the property for a period of 5 years to secure the discount.

Secondly, if you decide to sell the property within 10 years of purchasing you must offer the property back to your former landlord before agreeing to sell to a third party. This is known as a right of first refusal. They may decide to purchase it from you at market value. Alternatively, they will inform you they do not wish to purchase it and you can then market the property in the usual way.

If you would like to instruct us to act in the purchase of your council home, please contact us for a quote on 0113 218 5727.

 

Further reading

Purchases – Oakwood Property Solicitors

 

WHAT TO DO NEXT

To make a start on the next step in your property journey, get in touch today to book a consultation with a member of our team. Call us on 0113 218 5727 to find out how we can help you.

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