This page provides information regarding the details of the Right to Buy scheme which is available to council tenants and includes information about the responsibilities of home ownership.
To apply for the right to buy, you will need to fill in an application form RTB1; these are available from the Council's Customer Service centres.
Only secure tenants can apply - the scheme is not open to introductory tenants. However, there are a number of secure tenants who are not entitled to buy their homes. In particular this includes tenants of sheltered housing schemes for the elderly with a warden. It also includes some properties that have been specially adapted for people with disabilities.
You may also be unable to buy your home if a court makes a possession order that says you must leave your home or if you have been served a notice saying the Council intends to demolish your home. If you think one of the reasons above may apply to you, you should seek further advice.
The price you pay for your home will be based on the current market value but discounted to take into account the amount of time you have spent as a public sector tenant. You should also be aware that in 1999 the Government introduced a cap on the maximum discount that tenants may receive. From 2 April 2012, the Government have brought in some new proposals and these are summarised separately see 'Home ownership service - right to buy'.
If you apply for the right to buy there are strict time-scales regarding how much time you have to decide whether to continue with your application. If you do not respond in time you will need to reapply and if the value of your home has gone up in the meantime then the amount you have to pay may also have gone up. Once you have received an offer letter you have three months to decide if you wish to continue. If you do not reply in this time you will be served a Prior Notice to Complete giving you 56 days to complete your purchase. If you do not respond to this a Final Notice to Complete will be served giving you a further 56 days. If you do not reply within this time then your application will be cancelled, but you may choose to apply again.
It is important to remember that if you do buy your home there will be a number of expenses to consider both as part of the house-buying process and also ongoing costs as a result of home ownership. These include:
- your mortgage (which will probably be more than your current rent if you are borrowing most of the money to buy your house),
- buildings and contents insurance, life assurance and mortgage payment protection insurance,
- Council Tax and
- water, sewerage, gas, electricity and other utility services.
If you are unable to maintain the repayments on your mortgage you are at risk of having your property repossessed.
As an owner of a property, you will be responsible for ensuring that it is suitably maintained and this may result in significant expenditure. If you buy a flat you will also be responsible to pay the ground rent and a service charge which may include a payment for major works to the whole block.
Last updated: Wednesday, 3 June 2015 3:17 pm