The government’s Right to Buy scheme was brought in by Margret Thatcher in 1980. The scheme allows most council house tenants to buy their property at a discounted rate. Some ex-council houses also qualify for the scheme if they have a ‘preserved right to buy.’ You will have to consult with your landlord to find out whether this is the case for you. The discount you receive when you use the Right to Buy scheme assumes you will stay in the property for the next five years. If you sell the property on in less than five years you may have to pay back some or all of the discount. To qualify to be part of the Right to Buy Scheme in England:
– the property must be your only residence
– your landlord must have been public sector for 5 years it total, note – in total – these years do not need to be consecutive
– you must hold a secure tenancy
Public sector means authorities such as an NHS trust, local council or housing association. Most tenancies provided by council are secure tenancies. A secure tenancy means you can stay in the property until you die as long as you do not break the terms of the tenancy. Different qualification criteria apply to Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish residents.
You do not need to buy your council house alone. If you share the house with a family member, and they have lived with you for a year or more, you can apply to buy the house together. Also if someone shares your tenancy agreement they can apply with you.
When you buy your home via the Right to Buy scheme you get to buy the property at a discounted rate. This discount can be anywhere up to £75,000. Your discount will be calculated depending on how long you have been in the property, the market value of your at the time of purchase and whether you are buying a council flat or a council house. For houses, the discount rate is set at 35% and for flats the discount rate is set at 50%. These rates are the base rate for individuals who have been public sector tenants for 5 years. For each subsequent year the discount rate for houses goes up by 1% and the discount rate goes up by 2% for flats. The maximum amount of discount you can get is capped at £75,000 for both types of property.
Roskell Davies are specialist conveyancing solicitors. Contact us today if you require advice about buying your council house. Either phone us on 0800 142 2901 or fill in this online enquiry. All initial enquiries are completely free and no obligation.