Right to Buy
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(ask for 'Right to Buy')
The Right to Buy (RtB) is a government scheme, processed and administered by NFDC, that allows some council tenants to purchase the property that they rent from us. For eligible tenants the price of the property will be offered at a price lower than the full market value.
An information booklet produced by the government is available and covers important issues that individuals should consider if they are thinking about purchasing a home using the RtB. It is recommended that this information is read in full prior to making any RtB application.
The government has also created a Right to Buy Agent service to assist tenants who are interested in understanding and taking up the RtB. Prior to contacting the council or applying to buy your home, we recommend the use of this service as it offers free and impartial advice and the Agent service can help you with any questions you may have throughout the whole of your RtB application.
The council has a small team dedicated to administering the RtB scheme. This gives applicants one point of contact from when they first apply for the RtB and all the way through until a solicitor is instructed to complete a purchase, at which point all communication passes to our Legal Services team. The contact details for our RtB team are shown above.
Things to consider
Before deciding to purchase your home, it is important to remember that there are a lot of costs and new bills that you will be liable to pay. Once you own your property, you will have to consider mortgage repayments, any service charges that may apply, building insurance and repairs and maintenance costs.
As part of the buying process, you will need to have fees for a solicitor, surveyors and also you may have to pay stamp duty.
If you were in receipt of housing benefit, you will no longer be able to claim this to pay your mortgage.
Who is eligible?
If you are a secure tenant and have been a tenant with us, another social landlord or the armed forces for at least three years and you meet the eligibility criteria, you may be able to purchase the property that you live in through the RtB. Family members can share the RtB, but they must have been living at the property for at least a year.
Who cannot buy?
The main exclusions are if your home is deemed to be particularly suitable for occupation by an elderly person, if you do not have a secure tenancy with the Council or if you are not a council tenant. Other exclusions do apply. The eligibility criteria provides more information.
RtB should not be confused with Right to Acquire which applies to tenants of Housing Associations (Registered Providers) and has different criteria regarding eligibility and discount entitlements. If you are not a council tenant and wish to exercise your right, you need to contact your own landlord. NFDC cannot advise you regarding the Right to Acquire scheme.
What discount will I receive?
You could receive a maximum cash discount of up to £77,900 dependant upon the valuation of your property and the amount of time that you have been a tenant, whether with NFDC or another Registered Social Landlord.
The maximum cash discount reflects the increase to £77,000 that came into effect on 21st July 2014 and the annual inflationary increase applied in April, which is determined by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) as calculated in September of the previous year. As CPI was negative in September 2015, there was no increase applied effective from April 2016.
The maximum percentage discount for houses is the same as for flats. Both are now set to a maximum 70% discount based upon the valuation of the property, but with the total cash amount still being limited to that mentioned above.
If you want to sell your property within ten years of buying it, you are obliged to first offer it for sale to the council.
Applying for the RtB
Having considered all of the information available and having discussed any queries you have with the Right to Buy Agent service, if you decide that you would like to apply to purchase the property that you rent from the council, you can download an application form now.
What we do once an application has been received
The information booklet contains a step by step guide that outlines our actions and the length of time we have to complete these tasks. We will check your application thoroughly and complete background checks to determine the eligibility for you or those with whom you are sharing the right to buy. We seek to detect and prevent fraud, so to do this we liaise with other departments and landlords where necessary, we review each applicant's credit report and we may need to meet with you to complete our checks.
Where a property has been sold under RtB the council does not retain the title deeds. If you have bought the property with a mortgage or loan the deeds will be retained by your lender. Your title deeds are important documents. If you hold the deeds to your property yourself, you should ensure that they are kept in a secure place.
How we use your information
Information about your application will be held securely on NFDC's Housing Systems and will be used to administer your application. NFDC is under a duty to protect the public funds it administers and to this end may share information internally and with other public landlords or government agencies including those responsible for auditing or administering public funds, for the prevention and detection of fraud.