Buying your home
This page explains the difference between Right to Buy and Right to Acquire.
What is the Right to Buy?
The Right to Buy enables secure tenants to buy their own home at a discount.
This applies to those tenants who have a secure tenancy and have spent at least five years as a public sector tenant.
You may be able to buy jointly with members of your family who have lived with you for at least 12 months, or with someone who is a joint tenant. Your home must be their only/principal home. Proof of residency will be required for anyone looking to share the right to buy with you.
If you have lived in your home before it was managed by us, you may have what’s known as a ‘Preserved Right to Buy’. This could mean you qualify for a discount if you decided to buy your home. The amount of discount is capped at £75,000 and the amount of discount you receive is dependent on the length of your tenancy.
What is the Right To Acquire?
The Right to Acquire enables assured tenants to buy their own home at a discount. The amount of discount will vary dependent on location.
Who has the Right to Acquire?
Assured tenants who have held their tenancy for two years if the tenancy started before 18 January 2005 or five years if the tenancy started on or after 18 January 2005.
Joint tenants and up to three members of the family can share the Right to Acquire. This is provided they live with them or have lived with them for 12 months before applying for the Right to Acquire. The home must be their only/principal home.
Which properties does the Right to Acquire apply to?
It does not apply to all of our properties. It only applies to properties built or purchased with public funds or transferred by a Local Authority after 1 April 1997, but there are further exemptions; the main two being:
Properties in certain rural parishes identified by the Government (we have a list of those parishes that are included/exempt from the Right to Acquire
The property is designed, or has special features, for the physically disabled, those with a mental disorder, special needs or the over 60s
How to apply
Right to Buy application forms can be downloaded from the Right to Buy website. Please include proof of photographic identification for each person looking to share the Right to Buy, and if a family member (who is not on the tenancy) wants to share the Right to Buy, please send in proof of their residency at the address.
Right to Acquire forms can be downloaded from Gov.uk website
Forms should be completed and then sent to us.
When do I not have the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire
- You do not occupy your home as your only or principal home
- You live in a home specially designed for elderly people or people with special needs
- Your home is part of a sheltered scheme for the elderly, the physically disabled or people with mental illness
- Your tenancy was granted to you as a homeless person under section 193 of the Housing Act 1996
- You used to be a squatter but have been given a licence to occupy your home
- You were allocated the property you are living in on a temporary letting basis (whilst your own home is being improved/repaired)
- A court has made a possession order telling you to leave your home
- A court has made an order suspending your right to buy because of antisocial behaviour
- Your home is to be demolished
- You are classed as a ‘tolerated trespasser’ (you have breached an order made by the court)
- The property is on land that has been bought for development and is being used as temporary housing
- You have outstanding rent arrears
- Other exceptions may also apply depending on your individual circumstances
What are the costs of buying of my home?
In making the decision to buy your home, you should take into account all the costs you are likely to have to meet, initially as part of the purchase and in the longer term as a home owner. Remember you will be responsible for all costs of maintaining your home – this includes general repairs and major structural repairs. Also, if you currently pay a service charge, you will continue to pay this as this covers the cost of maintaining and managing the communal (shared) parts of the block/or estate.
We recommend you take advice from a reputable high street bank, building society or independent mortgage advisor before you make a commitment.
Likely purchase related costs
Conveyancing fees and solicitors. These are fees payable to a solicitor or licensed conveyancer, to handle the legal parts of your purchase.
Mortgage arrangement fees. Unless you were going to buy your home with cash, you would need a loan (mortgage). A mortgage lender may charge mortgage arrangement fees to cover its costs in setting up the mortgage.
Survey fees. Given the size of the purchase you would be making, you may want to have a more comprehensive survey completed. This is likely to cost between £250-£500.
Stamp Duty. You may have to pay this, dependent on how much you buy your home for. If the purchase price is over £125,000, you are likely to pay Stamp Duty of £1,250.
Land Registry Fees. When you complete the purchase you will have to register yourself as the new owner with the Land Registry. The amount of this cost will depend on the purchase price.
Ongoing costs after you have bought your home
Although you will no longer pay rent, you will have other regular financial commitments. As a home owner, there are a number of costs you may need to meet that as a tenant you don’t have to worry about. Also, as a tenant you may be able to claim housing benefit to help with your rent. As a home owner, you would not receive any housing benefit to help with your mortgage costs.
Mortgage Repayments (if applicable)
You would have to pay back your mortgage plus interest. Also remember that the amount you would have to repay may vary with interest rate changes. A typical mortgage lasts 25 years and requires regular payments, usually every month.
IF YOU CANNOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE, YOUR LENDER MAY TAKE POSSESSION PROCEEDINGS AND YOU COULD LOSE YOUR HOME.
Repairs and Maintenance
If you buy your home, we would no longer do repairs to it, or offer any out of hours service for emergencies like burst pipes. You would need to arrange your own repairs and maintenance including servicing equipment in your home like gas fires and boilers. These costs should be properly considered and it would be advisable to allow for larger expenses from time to time, like replacing boilers, re-roofing etc.
Flats and Maisonettes – Service charge
You would own a long lease. Under the terms of that lease, we would retain responsibility for maintaining the structure, exterior and common parts of your home and the block it is in.
We would recover your share of our costs for this through the service charge you would pay. There would be an ongoing charge, likely to be several hundred pounds a year. There would also be occasional costs as major works are carried out to your block, like renewing the roof or lifts, which can result in several thousand pounds for each property. We would consult you about these works, but you would not have the right to choose not to have works done. Details of expected service charges and major works programmed for the next five years would be available prior to completion.
Service charges are a big expense, which you should take fully into account when working out the ongoing costs of owning your home.
Houses – Responsible for your own repairs
You would become the freehold owner and be responsible for the costs of repairs and maintenance. This includes those listed above for flats, plus external maintenance such as roof repairs.
If you have a mortgage, this ensures you can pay off your mortgage if you die before the end of the mortgage period.
Mortgage payment protection insurance
If you have a mortgage, this could protect you by paying the mortgage if you lost your income, such as through ill health or unemployment.
Buildings and contents insurance
We currently pay for the buildings insurance on your home. If you were buying a house, you would need to arrange this yourself. You must have buildings insurance. If you were buying a flat or maisonette, we would provide buildings insurance cover, but would recover a share of the cost of this as part of the service charge you would pay. You would also need to insure the contents of your home.
Council Tax, water, sewerage, gas, electricity & other utility charges
You would still be responsible for paying these charges, where appropriate.
Other things to consider
Buying your own home is probably the biggest financial decision you will ever make. You must consider the information above and carefully consider whether it is the right choice for you.
Along with the costs mentioned above, if you are elderly and own your own home, its value may be taken into account in assessing whether you are eligible for financial help should you require residential care. It is possible that your home would have to be sold to fund the cost of residential care.
Selling or transferring your home later
You can sell your home at any time following completion, but if you do within the first five years you will have to repay some or all of the discount. The same applies if you wanted transfer ownership to somebody else in the future.
There are legal timescales for the completion of a Right to Buy application, to which we and the applicant are bound. We can issue legal notices requiring completion of a purchase within a set time if the purchase does not complete within the timescales.
Where can I find out more?
www.direct.gov.uk will give you all the latest information along with all the forms you need.
We recommend you request independent, professional advice when thinking about buying your home. The Money Advice Service has been set up by Government to give free impartial advice about money. Give them a call on 0300 500 5000 or go to www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk.
The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) is another body set up by Government that provide free advice on buying a flat and on service charges. Give them a call on 0207 383 9800, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.lease-advice.org
You can seek Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs). Always make sure that you ask what they are charging you, and check they are registered with the Financial Services Authority by looking on www.fca.org.uk or call 0845 606 1234.
There are other schemes to help you buy a home. If you would like to find out more about the Right to Buy, Right to Acquire or Shared Ownership, please contact the Sales Team on 01525 844460 or email email@example.com .