Extension of the right to buy will enable millions more individuals to own homes
To finally own your home – the goal of so many renters and tenants. The proposed extension to the Right to Buy scheme is welcomed by numerous housing association tenants. Although a date has not yet been fixed, the government is keen to “deliver on the long-standing commitment, made by several governments, to extend the right to buy to housing associations”. So the future looks bright for the many who will benefit from the extension of this scheme.
With the 1500 housing associations in the UK, agents all over including the Sittingbourne letting agents are going to be kept extra busy once the extension law is passed.
The Right To Buy scheme offers the purchase of your home at a discounted price, lower than the full market value. The longer you have stayed there, the more discount is offered. It is available to secure tenants of local authorities and housing associations (non-charitable) and to assure tenants of housing associations, who moved from a local authority to a housing association during a transfer of ownership.
Some of the conditions when applying to buy your council home are:
- it is your only or main home,
- you should be a secure tenant on the property
- at least 3 years should have been spent as a public sector tenant,
- your suspended possession order should not have been violated.
Assured tenants of housing associations who do not have a statutory right to buy their homes can apply for purchase at a discount under the “Right to Acquire” scheme. The property should either have been built or bought by a housing association after 31 March 1997. They should have occupied the home for at least 3 years. Other regulations can be clarified by the estate agent or local authority.
Joint applications are allowed with
- up to 3 family members who have lived with the applicant for the last 12 months (even if the tenancy is not shared),
- someone who shares the tenancy,
- the spouse or shared partner.
Preserved Right to Buy:
If the home was owned by the council but sold to a housing association while the tenant was still living in it, he/she may have the right to buy under “Preserved Right to Buy”. This will need to be clarified with the landlord or agent.
It is advisable to get professional help when applying for your Right to Buy. The main steps to complete the application are:
- Completion and submission of the RTB1 form (Notice claiming the Right to Buy application form) to the Home Ownership Office,
- Obtain the acceptance or refusal of your application,
- Obtain a valuation of the property: A valuer from your landlord will inspect and calculate the value of the property. This will include an energy-efficient assessment as well. An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) will have to be obtained. Once the discount entitlement and the final purchase price are decided, a formal Landlord’s Offer Notice (Section 125 notice) will be given.
- If the offer is accepted, then arrangements for a mortgage and full structural survey need to be made. A solicitor will have to be chosen.
- If the price quoted is disagreeable, then an appeal can be made and an independent valuation conducted. This decision will have to be accepted, even if it is higher than the original figure.
- The offer should be accepted or refused within 12 weeks of receiving the Section 125 notice.
Creating communities and care of property:
The scheme offers an opportunity to create groups of different social classes, where social exclusion is then reduced. Also, when people own the property they live in, automatically more care is taken for the upkeep of the property and surrounding areas.
Issues to consider:
Before the desire to become a homeowner envelops you, there are some factors to be considered. There are various responsibilities, besides the asset of having your own home.
- You may need to obtain a mortgage.
- You will need to bear the costs of maintaining your home, including major structural repairs, minor repairs and any renovations.
- If you become a leaseholder, service charges will be entailed which may involve your share of major repair costs.
- Insurance on the building will have to be obtained.
- As a homeowner, there will be no housing benefit.
If you still feel the Right to Buy scheme is “just right” for you, we hope the information given above will be helpful. However, there is one major factor to be considered – the stock of available homes. Yes, the extension of the right to buy will enable millions more individuals to own homes, but where are the “millions more” homes to accommodate them? If the government keeps to its pledge in June 2022 https://lordslibrary.parliament.uk/right-to-buy-past-present-and-future, to “build a new social home for every property sold” it will help ensure that Generation Rent does turn to Generation Buy.