What Are Right to Buy Purchases?
Right to Buy permits a council tenant to purchase his council home at a discount in England. Different rules apply for Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. You can apply to buy a council home if it is your primary residence, it is self-contained, you are a secure tenant, and you have had a public sector landlord for at least three years.
The Introductory Period of a Tenancy
With respect to tenancy, new council tenants may be offered a trial period as an introductory tenancy. This trial period usually lasts 12 months unless the council extends the time another six months or have started action to evict you. You automatically become a secure or flexible tenant after the introductory period.
Your Rights as a Secure Tenant
A secure tenant can usually live on a property for the remainder of his or her life if none of the conditions of the tenancy are broken. As a secure tenant, you can rent out rooms as long as you do not sublet the whole property. You can also buy your property, as stated, through a Right to Buy type scheme.
You may also swap your residence with another council tenant with the council’s permission. In some instances, you may transfer your tenancy to another party. To make improvements to your home, you need permission from your council for certain types of work.
Securing the services of conveyancing solicitors in London can make a Right to Buy Purchase a streamlined, much easier process. In some cases, purchasers make joint applications for Right to Buy transactions.
Therefore, you can make a joint application with family members who have lived with you in the past year, even if they do not share your tenancy. You can jointly apply with up to three members in your family, or alternatively, apply with someone who shares your tenancy.
If your home was once owned by the council but they sold it to a housing association or another landlord, you may have what is called a Preserved Right to Buy.
Right to Buy Discounts
If you do qualify for a Right to Buy, you can get a discount on the market value for the property. This discount is based on three key factors:
- The length of time you have been a tenant with a public sector landlord
- The type of property who wish to purchase – i.e., a house or flat
- The current value of your home
If you are buying the property with someone else, you count the years of whoever has been a public sector tenant longer. You generally have to repay a part or all of your discount if you sell the home within five years. You also may get a smaller discount if you have formerly used Right to Buy. Also, you are not eligible for a discount if your current landlord has spent in excess of what the home is worth.
Different discount levels are available for flats and houses, so you can go over all the details if you retain a solicitor to assist you in the process.