How to buy or sell the council house you live in.
Council Housing: The Right to Buy
You have a right to buy a council home at a discounted price under the right to buy for secure tenants. If you qualify you can buy your house by yourself, with a spouse or civil partner or other joint tenant, you also have the option to share this with up to three family members who have lived in your home for a more than 12 months.
Who qualifies for the right to buy? You must be either a secure tenant or a flexible tenant. You must have been in council housing for at least three years in total. It doesn’t have to be continuous or in the same property as time spent in the armed forces accommodation also counts.
Other homes also may not qualify for your right to buy such as sheltered or adapted properties or homes that are due to be demolished within two years.
The Maximum Discounts
If the property is a house or a flat and when the landlord has spent money building or refurbishing your home in the last 15 years the maximum discounts available are £82,800 in most areas and £110,500 in London. This maximum discount increases every April in line with the consumer price index.
There are different discount levels for houses and flats. (credit: gov.uk)
You get a 35% discount if you’ve been a public sector tenant for between 3 and 5 years.
After 5 years, the discount goes up by 1% for every extra year you’ve been a public sector tenant, up to a maximum of 70% – or £82,800 across England and £110,500 in London boroughs (whichever is lower).
You get a 50% discount if you’ve been a public sector tenant for between 3 and 5 years.
After 5 years, the discount goes up by 2% for every extra year you’ve been a public sector tenant, up to a maximum of 70% – or £82,800 across England and £110,500 in London boroughs (whichever is lower).
You can use your discount against your deposit.
Many mortgage lenders will now accept this discount as a deposit, meaning you won`t necessarily need to save up as a private purchase would.
You can borrow extra funds for home improvements under the right to buy scheme.
Housing association: The Right to Acquire
Housing association tenants also have the right to buy under the right to acquire their home under a different scheme with smaller discounts and this can be checked with your landlord. Valuation and discounts underwritten by your landlord will assess the value of your home and therefore work out the discount you are entitled to and this depends on how long you’ve been in a council or housing station home as a tenant.
Your landlord has four weeks to respond to your application if you’ve been attended for more than three years and eight weeks to respond if you’ve been attended for less than three years and they also must give you reasons if they say you do not have a right to buy.
The maximum discount for a housing association – right to acquire is usually £9000. You need to check with your housing association to confirm discount available.
You can use your discount against your deposit.
The right to sell your home.
If you are selling a council home within ten years of buying it through a right to buy a scheme you must offer it first either to your old landlord or to a social landlord in the area. They may accept your offer or refuse to buy it from you, in which case you can offer the property for sale on the open market. The property should be sold at full market price agreed between you and your landlord.
If you cannot agree this, a valuer will say how much your home is worth and set the price. You will not have to pay their valuation.
You’ll have to pay some or all of your discount back if you sell your home within five years of buying it through a right to buy scheme.
You must pay all of the discount back if you sell it within a year after that it’s totally amount reduces back to the following:
80% of the discount for the second year
60% of the discount for the third year
40% of the discount for the fourth year
20% of the discount for the fifth year
Costs of buying properties under Right to Buy or Right to Acquire.
Solicitor fee which also includes Searches and Land Registry Fees. Depending on type of property and solicitor it can range from around £1,000 to £2,000. Some lenders allow to borrow up to £500 to help with legal costs.
Mortgage arrangement fee – This depending on lender and your circumstances but typical cost is £995 which can be usually added to the mortgage.
Broker fee- Our cost is usually £699
How to apply for Right to Buy or Acquire?
You need to obtain the application form from your landlord and bring it together with proof of ID and address as well as mortgage in principle at appointment arranged with the landlord. This is usual process in most housing associations and councils. To be in best position speak to our mortgage advisers for guidance.
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