Right to Buy Conveyancing Solicitors
‘Right to buy’ is a scheme that allows eligible council and housing association tenants to buy the house they have been living in at a specific discount.
Here at AWH Solicitors we know that buying your first home can be stressful and complex, especially when you are looking to buy your council or housing association home through the right to buy scheme.
Our solicitors will be able to guide you through the buying process, taking care of all your conveyancing needs so you can feel safe in the knowledge that all legal matters are handled swiftly and accurately.
Right to Buy Discounts
Right to buy discounts depend on multiple factors and can reach up to 70 percent of the property value but cannot exceed a total sum of £108,000 in the London area or £80,900 outside of the London area.
Right to buy discounts increase yearly in the month of April; in line with movement in the Consumer Price Index, otherwise known as the CPI.
Applying for your Right to Buy
Our expert conveyancing solicitors can advice and guide you throughout the buying process, ensuring you are always fully aware of your legal options and eligibility.
We can advise you on RTB mortgages and handle all your conveyancing needs; including all the searches that will need to be carried out.
Right to Buy Process
With the entire process managed by our experts buying your property through the right to buy scheme will be a smooth and painless experience.
Our competitively priced service packages are available to anyone in the UK looking to purchase their property under the right to buy scheme.
Are you eligible for the right to buy scheme?
Most council tenants are eligible for the right to buy scheme if they meet the minimum requirements as set out below.
Housing association tenants are only allowed access to this scheme if they were living in the home whilst the council sold the property to the housing association.
You may be eligible for the right to buy scheme if:
- The house or flat is your only or main home, and
- The home is self-contained; it can be used as a separate living accommodation, and
- You are a secure tenant, and
- You have been living in public sector tenancy for at least three years
Prior to May 2015 tenants couldn't qualify for the right to buy unless they were in public sector tenancy for five or more years. On this date the minimum required public sector tenancy time was reduced to three years.
How right to buy discounts are calculated
The right to buy scheme allows most council tenants and some housing association tenants to buy the property they have been living in at a discounted rate.
The discount is based on a combination of factors, which include:
- How long you have been living as a public sector tenant, and
- The type of property you have been living in; a flat or a house, and
- The value of your house
If you sell the house or flat within five years of the purchase you will have to pay some or all of the discount back. This will mainly depend on the years between the purchase and sale.
If you have been living in a house between three to five years you will get a discount of 35 percent. For each additional year after your five year tenancy you will receive an additional one percent discount. The maximum discount you can get is 70 percent.
If you have been living in a flat between three to five years you will get a discount of 50 percent. For each additional year after your five year tenancy you will receive an additional two percent discount. The maximum discount you can get is 70 percent.
If landlord works took place
If your landlord (likely the council) spend money on your property for maintenance or improvements this could be taken into consideration during your discount calculations.
Depending on what the landlord spend and how long ago the maintenance or improvements were made your discount may be reduced.
You may see a reduction on your discount if:
- The landlord spend money on the property within the last ten years and bought the property before 2 April 2012, or
- The landlord spend money on the property within the last 15 years and bought the property before 2 April 2012, and you are buying through the preserved to buy scheme
If the landlord spend more money on the property than its actual value you will likely not qualify for a discount at all.
The source of the funds to buy the property
If you are unable to pay for the deposit yourself you can have the funding provided to you by third parties; such as family members or friends. However, legal ownership of the property can only be given to the eligible tenants.
If for example a friend provides you with the deposit for the purchase, they will not be able to claim any legal ownership. They can only be included if they were a part of a joint application with you and meet the eligibility requirements.
You may be able to make a joint application if you are currently sharing a tenancy with the person you wish to make an application with, if they are your spouse or civil partner, or if they are family members that have been living with you for a minimum of 12 months.
You can make a joint application with up to three family members, granted they have been living with you for the minimum qualifying period of 12 months.
The period of time a person has lived in social housing will have an effect on the total discount that will be applied. With joint applications the person that has been living in social housing the longest will have their years of tenancy included in their discount calculation.
Preserved right to buy
In addition to the right to buy scheme there is also a 'preserved right to buy'. You may have a preserved right to buy if you are living in a property that was sold to a housing association during your occupancy of the property.
To find out if you have a preserved right to buy you will need to contact your landlord.
Voluntary right to buy pilot
In 2016 the voluntary right to buy pilot was rolled out in the Midlands area in collaboration with L&Q, Riverside, Saffron, Sovereign and Thames Valley Housing.
Within this pilot housing association tenants who were not living in their home when the house was transferred from the council may still be able to buy their property at a discounted rate, even though they would not qualify for a preserved right to buy.
The voluntary right to buy pilot has now closed, however the government has announced a further pilot in the same area during the autumn budget of 2017. Further announcements are yet to follow.
Both you and your landlord will have to meet specific time limits during each stage of the buying process.
If you fail to respond within the set time frames your offer will likely expire and in order to buy you would have to start the process again.
If the landlord fails to respond within the set time frames you can apply for an additional discount, depending on the circumstances.
In some cases your rent may become deductible from the sale price, if the landlords failings result in additional rent payments from you.
Receiving the Right to Buy Offer from your Landlord
After you have requested the right to buy your property from your landlord and you meet the eligibility requirements the landlord will make you an offer.
This offer will show the following information:
- The price of the property and how that price was calculated
- The discount applied to the price and how that discount was calculated
- A clear description of the land and property you are applying to buy
- Any known problems with the structure of the property
- (For flats only) An estimate of the service charges for the next five years
After you receive your offer from the landlord you have up to 12 weeks to make a decision. If you do not reply to the offer within this time frame the offer will expire and you will need to request a new offer.
Appealing your Landlords’ Offer
You may not be happy with the offer your landlord has given you and believe that certain calculations and prices are incorrect.
If this happens to you then you can request a independent valuation completed by a valuer from HM Revenue and Customers. They will visit the property and make an independent assessment on the value of the property which will be the basis of your new offer.
If you are denied the ability to buy due to reasons other than not meeting the eligibility requirements you may also be able to appeal. For example if you were denied the right to buy because the property is suitable for elderly people.
How our Right to Buy Solicitors Can Help
Our expert conveyancing solicitors are ready to help you with any aspect of your right to buy process.
We can guide you through the buying process with ease and manage all communication and potential appeals for you. Our solicitors will be by your side and support you gathering and completing the required documentation and ensure you are purchasing your property at the best price.
For more information about our right to buy services call us today on 0844 414 0667 or request a callback for a time that suits you best.
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