Right to Buy

Most Council tenants are able to apply to purchase the property in which they live at a discounted price, this is called the “Right to Buy”. To do this they must apply by completing a form and submitting it to the Council. They will then be informed whether or not they are eligible to buy. If they are, the property will be valued and the purchase price calculated based on the discount allowed.

If the property in which the tenant lives is a flat then the tenant would become a leaseholder, whereby the tenant would own the flat, but be liable to pay annual service charges to the Council in respect of communal facilities such as communal repairs, lighting, grounds maintenance and insurance. This is because the structure of the building and any communal passageways or grounds remain the property of the Council. 
 
Further information for leaseholders can be found in the Leaseholder Handbook [pdf] 605KB
 

Can I buy my home?

Under the “Right to Buy” scheme, all secure tenants have the legal right to buy their home. However, the following tenants are unable to buy their home: -
  • Tenants of sheltered housing schemes.
  • Tenants occupying some of our properties that are suitable for occupation by elderly or disabled tenants.
  • Non-secure tenants (generally those occupying properties on a temporary basis or those who have a broken court order).
  • Tenants of properties which the Council intends to demolish.

Can members of my family buy my home with me?

Any member of your family who is a joint tenant can buy with you as long as at least one of you is permanently resident at the property.

In addition, if a member of your family has lived with you for the last 12 months and it has been their only and principal home, they are can also be entitled to exercise the “Right to Buy” with you. 

 

Am I entitled to a discount on the purchase price?

If you are eligible to buy your home the level of discount you will receive will depend on your “qualifying period”, but the maximum discount you can receive is set annually at a nationally level. For 2014/2015 this is  £77,000.

Your “qualifying period” is the time you have spent in total as a public sector tenant of a house or flat. It can also include time spent in other types of accommodation such as that provided by the armed forces; further examples are given below of eligible accommodation.

You can also count time spent with different landlords at different times and there is no need for continuous occupation. This eligible accommodation includes: -
  • Castle Point Borough Council
  • Any other “Right to Buy” landlord i.e. another Council, a registered social landlord (housing association) and a number of other landlords who let accommodation on secure tenancies.
  • A large number of other public bodies, including the Commission for New Towns, Housing Action Trusts, police authorities, fire authorities, etc.

How much discount will I get?

You must have been a tenant in qualifying accommodation for a period of 5 years to be able to buy your home. This will entitle you to a basic discount of 35% for houses and 50% for flats. After the initial 5 year qualifying period you get additional discount for each extra year.

If you are buying a house, you will get 1% more discount for each extra year up to a limit of 70%. If you are buying a flat, you will get 2% more discount for each extra year up to a limit of 70%.

The table below provides examples of how this might be calculated on a property worth £120,000:

 

Discount examples
Qualifying period in years
House Discount
House Discount
Flat Discount
Flat Discount
5
35%
£42,000
50%
£60,000
10
40%
£48,000
60%
£72,000
15
45%
£54,000
70% (Maximum)
£84,000 (limited to £77,000)
20
50%
£60,000
70% (Maximum)
£84,000 (limited to £77,000)
25
55%
£66,000
70% (Maximum)
£84,000 (limited to £77,000)
30
60%
£72,000
70% (Maximum)
£84,000 (limited to £77,000)
35 65% £78,000 (limited to £77,000)
70% (Maximum)
£84,000 (limited to £77,000)
40 70% (Maximum) £84,000 (limited to £77,000)
70% (Maximum)
£84,000 (limited to £77,000)

 

 Some limits to the discount may apply if your home has had improvements made to it by us in the last 10 years, this period increases to 15 years if your property was built or acquired by us since 2nd April 2012.

Please note that if you sell your home within 5 years of buying it from us, you will have to pay back some of the discount that was given.   The discount repayable is calculated based upon the the actual discount given, thus if you received a discount of £75,000 on a property valued at £120,000 on the date of sale, you received a discount of 62.5%, this amount is then applied to any onward sale. If the property is sold in the first year for £150,000 the discount repayable at 62.5% would be £93,750, the impact in future years is shown below.

 

Discounts Repayable
Period since sale
Sale price
Discount repayable
Percentage of discount repayable
Amount to be repaid
Up to 1 year
£150,000
£93,750
100%
£93,750
Up to 2 years
£150,000
£93,750
80%
£75,000
Up to 3 years
£150,000
£93,750
60%
£56,250
Up to 4 years
£150,000
£93,750
40%
£37,500
Up to 5 years
£150,000
£93,750
20%
£18,750

 

 What costs are involved in buying my home?

You should think very carefully before deciding to buy your home and you should be aware of the following costs: -
  • Legal costs (solicitor’s fees for conveyancing).
  • Structural survey fees.
  • Valuation fee.
  • Land Registry fee.
  • Stamp Duty.
  • The cost of a mortgage.
  • Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance.
  • Building Insurance
  • Repairs and maintenance.
  • Council Tax, water charges and heating charges.
  • Service charges (tenants buying a flat).

The government introduced a new service in August 2014 to assist potential and existing applicants called the Right to Buy Agent Service. The aim of the Agent service is to compliment the service which landlords currently provide by giving tenants who request it information on Right to Buy, enabling them to make informed choices. They will try to help tenants to understand and assess the potential costs of home ownership as well as the benefits.  Further information on this service can be found at:


http://righttobuy.communities.gov.uk/agent-service/

What do I need to do if I want to buy my home?

Full information is available in the following booklets
 

You should complete and return a  right to buy claim form [pdf] 239KB, contact the Financial Services Section by telephoning 01268 882348 or request that a form be sent to you by post.


You can get further information from the  Department of Communities and Local Government website.

Once we have considered the information you provided on the “Right to Buy” Claim Form, you will be sent a Landlord’s Response Notice (RTB2). This will tell you if you have the right to buy your home. You should receive this notice within 4 weeks (or within 8 weeks if you have not been a tenant of Castle Point Borough Council for 2 years).

If the Landlord’s Response Notice states that you do not have the right to buy your home, you will be told why and you will be entitled to get independent advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or from a solicitor. In some circumstances you can ask the Department of Communities and Local Government to decide if our decision is correct or not.

If your “Right to Buy” application is accepted you will no longer be able to receive non-emergency repairs to your home as this could affect any valuation. If at any time you withdraw your “Right to Buy” application in writing, your right to repairs and maintenance of your home will be reinstated from the date of receipt of your letter.

If you are able to buy your home, we will send you a Section 125 Notice. This will tell you the following information:-
 
  • A description of the property which you have the right to buy.
  • The price you will have to pay i.e. the market valuation less any discount.
  • Any terms and conditions of the sale.
  • A description of any structural defects we are aware of.
  • Estimated service charges and improvement costs (tenants buying a flat).
You should receive this notice within 8 weeks if your home is a house and you are buying it freehold or within 12 weeks if your home is a flat and you are buying it leasehold.

If you disagree with our valuation of your home, you have the right to an independent valuation from the District Valuer as long as you tell us in writing within 3 months of receiving your Section 125 Notice. You then have 4 weeks to put your case to the District Valuer. The District Valuer’s valuation supersedes our valuation even if this turns out to be higher than the original valuation you were given.

Before you decide to buy your home, you should get an independent survey from a qualified surveyor, a structural engineer or architect. When you apply for a mortgage, your building society or bank will have a survey done to value your home but this may not identify any structural problems.

Once you have considered the information in the Section 125 Notice, you need to decide whether or not you want to buy your home and let us know within 12 weeks. If you do not let us know we will send you a reminder and if, after a further 28 days, we have still not heard from you, we will assume you do not want to buy your home and your application will be withdrawn.

If you do decide to buy your home, you will need to get legal advice and obtain a mortgage. Once you are ready to buy, you should let us know in writing in order that we can ask our solicitors to complete the purchase.

If you take a long time to complete the purchase, we may send you a warning notice after 3 months asking you to either complete within 8 weeks or to write and tell us that you disagree with the terms of the sale.

It is very important that any instructions that will progress or cease the purchase of you home are provided in writing to the Financial Services Section at the address below:

Resources Department, Council Offices, Kiln Road, Benfleet, Essex, SS7 1TF.