Right to Buy

Right to Buy

You have the right to buy your council home after 3 years.

You can apply:

  • jointly with family members over 18 years old who have lived with you for at least 12 months
  • if you are currently receiving Housing Benefit or have in the past

The scheme allows council and housing association tenants to buy their home at a discount.

Once you have completed an application form, you will need to return it, in person, to the council offices, at Watling House, along with original photo ID.

Acceptable forms of ID are:

  • current passport
  • current driving licence or ID card
  • proof of previous tenancies
  • proof that you are living at the property

We may request further documentary evidence and you may be invited to attend an interview at our council offices.

There are 7 steps in the process:

  1. check eligibility
  2. read the Right to Buy information pack
  3. complete application form
  4. landlord confirms eligibility
  5. receive an offer
  6. over to you – mortgage, etc.
  7. complete the purchase

Property exemptions

Certain types of property are exempt from Right to Buy:

  • elderly persons' dwelling
  • dwelling houses for persons of pensionable age
  • dwellings for disabled persons
  • dwellings for people suffering from a mental disorder
  • properties scheduled for demolition

Eligibility

Your current tenancy status must be secure in order to be eligible for the Right to Buy. Certain types of tenancies are not considered as secure for the purposes of Right to Buy - see Section 79 (2) and Schedule 1 amended of the Housing Act 1985 (link opens in new window) for a full list.

Where a tenancy is in joint names, both tenants must be named and sign the application form regardless of whether they wish to join in the purchase or not.

Any tenant who is subject to one of the following orders will not be allowed to join in the scheme:

  • possession order with a fixed date - including Suspended Possession Order
  • Ground 2 criminal nuisance order
  • Right to Buy suspension order
  • bankruptcy order
  • demotion order
  • eligibility of family members

Certain family members have the right to join in an application, even if they are not tenants.

In order for a family member to exercise their right to join in the scheme, they must satisfy all 3 of the following requirements. They must:

  • be the spouse or civil partner of the tenant; or the tenant and that person live together as if they were husband and wife or civil partners, or the tenant’s parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece
  • live at the property as their only or principal home
  • have been living at the property for 12 months immediately preceding the date of application

Family members are automatically excluded from the scheme if they are subject to any of the Court Orders detailed in the ‘Eligibility of Tenants’ section.

The qualifying period

The tenant will need to have been a public sector tenant for a minimum of 3 years (this does not have to be 3 years in a row).

The discount

The longer you have been a tenant, the bigger the discount you get off the market value of the property, up to a maximum discount of £77,900.

Discount levels for houses and flats start at 3 years of eligible tenancy, increasing after 5 years from the starting point of 35% for houses and 50% for a flat, up to the maximum of 70% for both.

Examples of discounts

Buying a house

Discounts start at 35% for 3 to 5 years, at year 6 add 1% for each extra year of tenancy up to 70% or the cash maximum of £77,900.

Current house value: £120,000
Years as a tenant: 10
Eligible discount: 40%
Discount value: £48,000
Price you pay for house: £72,000

Buying a flat

Discounts start at 50% for 3 to 5 years, at year 6 add 2% for each extra year of tenancy up to 70% or the cash maximum of £77,900.

Current flat value: £100,00
Years as a tenant: 10
Eligible discount: 60%
Discount value: £60,000
Price you pay for house: £40,000

Valuation of a property

Valuation of a property
Type of property
Dunstable
Leighton Buzzard
Villages
1 bedroom flat
£125,000 *
No valuation available
No valuation available
2 bedroom flat£180,000 *£210,000 *£240,000 *
3 bedroom flat£210,000 *£250,000 *£300,000 *

* Valuations of Council Housing stock carried out between April 2016 and July 2016.

We will instruct an independent external valuer to value the property.

Only improvements made by you to the property will be disregarded in the valuation.

Things to consider

Once we have received your application we will only carry out essential repairs and the property will be excluded from any planned maintenance projects, such as bathroom and kitchen replacements.

Once the sale of the property is complete, you will be responsible for all repairs and maintenance.

You might find the checklist below useful in comparing costs as a homeowner and a tenant.

Costs for tenants and homeowners
One-off costs
Homeowner
Tenant
Legal fees
Yes
No
Stamp duty
Yes
No
Mortgage fees
Yes
No
Other costs
Yes
No
Ongoing costs
Homeowner
Tenant
Mortgage
Yes
No
Rent
No
Yes
Utility bills
Yes
Yes
Insurance
Yes
Yes
Life insurance
Yes
Yes
Major repairs
Yes
No
Service charge
If applicable
If applicable
Other living costs
Yes
Yes

Buying a home can be a long process and can take several months

We must process your application within certain timescales as below:

  • confirmation of eligibility – up to 4 weeks to reply (8 weeks if you have been with us for less than 5 years)
  • sending out an offer letter – 8 weeks for a house and 12 weeks for a flat

If we do not meet these timescales, or delay without reason, you could get a reduction in the sale price.

Applying for a reduction

Fill in an initial notice of delay form (RTB6) (link opens in new window) and send it to back to us.

We must either move the sale along within 1 month or send you a ‘counter notice’. The counter notice will say that we have already replied or explained why they cannot speed things up.

If you do not get a response to your first notice within 1 month, you should complete an operative notice of delay form (RTB8) (link opens in new window) and send it to us. Once you have sent that, we may have to refund rent monies paid during the delay period – you must continue to pay rent. Any amount relevant to the delay period(s) will be deducted when the sale is completed.

To find out more about delay notices please visit dealing with delays (link opens in new window)

Risks

Do not forget that if you fail to make repayments towards your mortgage there is a risk that your property will be repossessed.

Useful contacts

The government’s ‘Right to Buy Agent’ offers free and impartial advice. If you visit the Right to Buy (link opens in new window) website you can download an application form, or call 0300 123 0913 for more information.

To speak to someone at Central Bedfordshire Council regarding Right to Buy, or to request an application form please contact:

Kim Perry - Housing Rents Officer on 0300 300 5541 or email housingrentsteam@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

For more information, you can download the Your Right to Buy Your Home (PDF 480.9KB) guide.

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