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FAQ - RIGHT TO BUY
What is the Right to Buy?
Who has the Right to Buy?
What exactly am I buying?
If I decide not to exercise my RTB, does my tenancy transfer to my next of kin?
What discounts can I expect to receive if I exercise my Right to Buy?
What if I want to buy my home but cannot afford the whole purchase price?
Can members of my family buy with me?
How do I go about buying my property?
What if I do not have the Right to Buy?
What points should I consider when deciding whether or not to buy my council home?
I have bought a % of my property on Rent to Mortgage Scheme, how can I buy the remaining from the council?
It is hard to get a mortgage, as most mortgage companies do not lend for ex-local authority properties
Where can I go if I need further advice?
 What is the Right To Buy?
The RTB scheme enables council tenants to buy their current home at a discounted price - far less than they would expect to pay if they were buying it on the open market.
 Who has the Right to Buy?
If you are a secure tenant of a District Council, a London borough Council, a registered Social Landlord such as a registered non-charitable Housing Association or a Housing Action Trust, or another similar body, you will probably have the legal right to buy your home. Exceptions would be those living in sheltered housing or homes particularly suitable for the elderly or disabled, as well as properties that are being used as temporary housing or are being rented by the council from somebody else. To be eligible for this right, you must have spent a total of at least two years as a secure tenant, with your house or flat being your only home or at the very least your main principle home.
 What exactly am I buying?
If you are buying a council house, you will generally be buying the freehold of the property, namely the house itself and the ground that it stands on. Flats are not usually sold freehold but are generally sold on a long lease, often 125 years, which sets out your obligations to the Landlord and your rights to living there during this period. If you buy a flat from the Council, a Housing Association or another Social Landlord, they will normally own the land and building and will be your Landlord.
 If I decide not to exercise my RTB, does my tenancy transfer to my next of kin?
The usual rule is that when a secure tenant dies, a member of his family may succeed him as tenant as long as that person has been living there for 12 months. A member of the family can include a nephew or a niece. This is known as the Right of Succession.
 What discounts can I expect to receive if I exercise my Right to Buy?
If you live in a house, you can expect to receive a discount of between 32% and 60% off the market price of your house. If you live in a flat, your discount will be between 44% and 70%. Both are subject to maximum cash limits. The level of discount you receive depends on your qualifying period, namely the time that you have spent, in total, as a public-sector tenant of a house or a flat. If you decide to sell your property within three years of buying your home, you will probably have to repay some or all of the given discount.
 What if I want to buy my home but cannot afford the whole purchase price?
Whilst the RTB scheme allows secure tenants to buy their homes outright, if a tenant cannot afford the full purchase price at once (even with the discount), the tenant may be able to buy through a Rent to Mortgage scheme, which lets the tenant buy their home on a mortgage, with repayments that cost about the same as their rent.
 Can members of my family buy with me?
Yes, any member of your family who is a joint tenant can buy with you as long as at least one of you lives in your home most of the time. You can also share the RTB or RTM with up to three family members who are not joint tenants, as long as they all live with you.
 How do I go about buying my property?
If you are interested in buying your property, you should ask your Landlord for the RTB claim form (Form RTB1) which you should complete and return to your Landlord. The Landlord will then send you a notice (RTB2) telling you whether or not you have the RTB. If your council agrees that you do have the RTB your home and you ask to buy it, the council must sell it to you. The local council will then send you another notice (known as section 125 notice) which tells you the market value of the property, the price you would have to pay with your qualifying discount and the terms and conditions of sale. If you disagree with the price quoted by the council, you have the right to appeal to the District Valuer. If you are buying a council flat, the Landlord is also obliged to provide you with estimates for the costs of any repairs or improvements which it may carry out during the first five years of your lease, which are binding and can only be increased in line with inflation. Estimates for service charges, other than repairs and improvements, (i.e. caretaking or hot water) can be changed even during the first five years.
 What if I do not have the Right to Buy?

For details of all such schemes and incentives, you should contact your Council or Housing Association.

 What points should I consider when deciding whether or not to buy my council home?
When deciding to buy your council home, you should always keep in mind the other costs involved (other than the purchase price itself) in buying the property, such as the legal costs and valuation fees, the land registry fee, in some cases stamp duty and also the yearly council tax bills and water charges that were previously included as part of your rent. You should also check your property for any structural defects or unusual features or materials which could involve you later in repair costs, or which could affect your health or your ability to resell at a later date. It is always worth checking with other people who may have bought a flat in the same block or area as you, or you could contact your Local Residents' or Leaseholders' Association.
If you are planning to buy your property on RTM terms, you will have to research those mortgage companies who are willing to lend for Council Right to Buys. Whilst most banks and building societies would have little problem lending for brick built houses, there will be many who will not lend on high-rise blocks or large estates for fear of structural and maintenance problems. When applying for your mortgage, you should also check if the bank or building society would lend the full (non-discounted) purchase price to anyone who wanted to buy it from you later on, in order to ensure that you do not have problems when you want to resell.
Finally, when arranging your mortgage application, it is imperative that you ensure that you will be able to keep up with the mortgage repayments as if you fall behind and your lender goes to court to ask to take over your home, your old Landlord does not have to give you another tenancy if you lose your home in this way.
 I have bought a % of my property on Rent to Mortgage Scheme, how can I buy the remaining from the council?
You can find information about Rent to Mortgage scheme. There are also some useful addresses about this issue. Should you wish to receive more information on Mortgages, you can contact "London Mortgages Direct" on 0800 091 2242 who may be able to help you
  It is hard to get a mortgage, as most mortgage companies do not lend for ex-local authority properties?
There are a number of lenders who would offer mortgages provided you have a sufficient amount of deposit to put down (usually 50%). However these conditions vary constantly and it may also depend on other factors. You can contact "London Mortgages Direct" on 0800 091 2242 who may be able to help you
 Where can I go if I need further advice?

Comprehensive information about RTB schemes and other incentives can be found on the web site of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

Other sources of information about Ex-council Flats and Ex-council Houses.

 

The following links will also take you to Government Publications, which have an impact on the RTB: For further information, e-mail , or telephone
Diana Chad on 020 7944 3423



All materials contained on these pages are provided for guidance purposes only. While every measure is taken to ensure that the information is accurate, ex-localauthority.com accepts no responsibility for their accuracy nor for the direct or indirect consequences resulting from the use of the site. We strongly suggest that you carry out your own checks and seek professional advice before taking any action. Content on the ex-localauthority.com site is intended for the personal, non-commercial use of consumers using the site. It may not be reproduced, redistributed, retransmitted or otherwise disseminated without the express written permission of ex-localauthority.com.

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