Right to Buy Solicitors 

Buying a home is hard. 

Not only is the move itself stressful, you also have the worry of making the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make to deal with. And when you’re using the Right to Buy scheme, which comes with extra legal implications, the process can become even more stressful. Our specialist team of Right to Buy Solicitors can provide you with all the help you need to make the process as simple as possible. 

What is Right to Buy? 

The Right to Buy scheme is a government policy which gives secure tenants of councils and local authorities in England the legal right to purchase their council property at a significant discount.  

If you are purchasing the home in London, you could receive a discount of up to £110,500, outside London you may still be able to purchase your home at a discount of up to £82,800. These savings make taking advantage of the Right to Buy scheme an incredible opportunity for social tenants who feel ready to own their own home. 

Right to Acquire conveyancing 

The Right to Acquire scheme is similar to Right to Buy. Where the Right to Buy scheme gives council tenants the opportunity to buy their home, Right to Acquire allows housing association tenants to purchase the home they live in at a reduced price. 

If your social landlord takes part in the Right to Acquire scheme and it was purchased or built by your landlord after April 1997 you will have the opportunity to buy your property at below the full market value. 

Am I eligible for Right to Buy? 

In order to be eligible for Right to Buy, you must meet the following criteria: 

  • The house is your only or main home 
  • It’s a self-contained home 
  • You’re a secure tenant 
  • You’ve had a public sector landlord for at least three years
  • You don’t live in sheltered housing or homes suitable for the elderly or disabled. 

Should you meet these requirements, you will almost certainly be able to take advantage of the Right to Buy scheme. 

What are the Right to Buy discounts? 

Currently, the maximum discount obtainable through Right to Buy purchases is £82,800 outside London and £110,500 in London. This increases every year in-line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). 

The discount you are eligible to take advantage of depends on how long you have been a public sector tenant, the type of property you’re looking to buy and the value of the property. 

Right to Buy discounts for houses 

If you have been living in the house you’re looking to buy for three-to-five years you will receive a discount on the market price of 35%. For example, if the market value for your house is £100,000 and you have lived there for three years, Right to Buy will give you a discount of £35,000, meaning you only pay £65,000. 

After five years, the discount increases by 1% each year you’re a public sector tenant to a maximum of 70% or the current maximum cash discount. 

Right to Buy discounts for flats 

Alternatively, if you have lived in a flat for three-to-five years and you're looking to purchase it through Right to Buy, you will receive a discount on the market price of 50%. Meaning if your flat is worth £100,000, the Right to Buy purchase cost will be £50,000. 

After five years, the discount on flats increases by 2% each year you’re a public sector tenant to a maximum of 70% or the current maximum cash discount. 

All discounts could be decreased if the landlord has spent money building or maintaining the property in recent times. Meaning if your landlord has spent £3,000 maintaining the home in the last year, your discount will decrease by that amount. This does have a maximum time limit attached, however. 

If the home was purchased or built before 2nd April 2012, all money spent in the last 10 years will be deducted from your discount. Houses built or bought after 2nd April 2012 will see all money spent on maintenance in the last 15 years deducted from your discount. This is an important factor you should consider when establishing the affordability of the home. 

Right to Buy timescales 

Your landlord is required to process your Right to Buy application within a set timeframe, failure to do so without a valid reason could result in you seeing a further discount on the sale price. 

However, you can pull out and continue renting at any point during the purchase process. 

The landlord must reply to your initial application within four weeks, or eight if you’ve been with the landlord for less than three years. If they choose to reject your application, they must give reasons why. 

Should your application be accepted, your landlord will then have eight weeks to send their purchase price offer if you’re buying the freehold or 12 weeks if you’re buying a leasehold property. You will then have 12 weeks to decide whether you accept their offer. 

Once you accept their offer, the legal purchase process will begin. The length of time required for this process varies depending on several factors, you should expect at least 90 days.  

We will be able to advise you of this and ensure you’re fully prepared upon receiving all details of your enquiry. 

Right to Buy valuation appeals 

Your initial offer letter (also known as a Section 125 notice) details your landlord’s valuation of the property, your discount amount, the total purchase price, any structural problems and the terms and conditions of the sale. 

If you disagree with the landlord’s valuation, you are required to let them know in writing within three months. The duty of valuing the property will then be referred to the District Valuer, who will conduct an independent valuation you and the landlord are required to abide by. 

Before rejecting, it’s important to remember the District valuer may set a higher value than your landlord, meaning you should take time to research accepted values of similar properties in the area and inform the Valuer of any information relevant to the value of the property before the valuation. You may even decide to pay for your own valuation before making the decision to appeal. 

Once a new value has been decided you will receive a new offer letter and have 12 weeks to decide whether you want to accept the offer or continue renting. 

Selling your Right to Buy home 

Although purchasing a Right to Buy home does allow you to buy your home at a significant discount, it does place limitations on your ability to sell.  

If you sell your home within five years, you will be required to pay back a portion of the discount. Selling within the first year will require you to pay back 100% of your discount, with this decreasing each year following this. 

  • You owe 80% of the discount if selling in the second year 
  • 60% of the discount in the third year 
  • 40% of the discount in the fourth year 
  • 20% of the discount in the fifth year 

The percentage is also deducted from the value of the home when you sell it, rather than the purchase price. For example, if you buy your flat for £100,000 and receive a 35% (£35,000) discount and sell it in the fourth year for £120,000 you will be required to pay back 40% of £120,000, or £48,000. 

Naturally, this can have a significant impact, making it vital you take all your finances into account before making this decision. 

Additionally, should you sell your home within ten years, you must first offer it to your old landlord or another social landlord in the area before putting it onto the open market. If you’re living in a competitive property market, this could have a large impact on your sale price. 

Free residential conveyancing quote 

If you’re looking to purchase a home under Right to Buy or Right to Acquire, our team of solicitors will be able to provide the assistance you need to make the process as stress-free as possible. 

Contact us today on 0161 446 1122 or fill in the contact form below to speak to a member of our conveyancing team today. 

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