The Welsh Assembly Government has issued an Order that states that we must produce and provide certain information to all our secure tenants regarding the present rules for the Right to Buy.
The Housing Services Right to Buy Administrator can provide you with all the necessary forms, booklets, advice and assistance and will coordinate and deal with your application free of charge.
The process of applying and dealing with the Right to Buy can be complicated and important decisions have to be made within set time periods by you and the Council and you may not agree with some of decisions the Council makes. You are advised to seek independent advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or from a solicitor with regard to all aspects of the process.
A right to buy can be exercised by any secure tenant who has been a public sector tenant for 2 years or more if they were secure tenants before the 18th January 2005 or 5 years for those whose tenancy commenced on or after the 18th January 2005.You can exercise the Right to Buy with family members who have resided with you for 12 months or more or with joint tenants.
Certain exceptions apply for example if properties have been supplied in connection with your employment and housing provided for older persons and people with disabilities (in certain cases). You cannot buy your home if a court makes a possession order which states that you must leave your home or if you are an undischarged bankrupt, have a bankruptcy petition pending or you have made arrangements with creditors and you still owe them money. You can only purchase if the house or flat is a separate home and is your only home.
The first step to apply to buy your home is to complete the Right to Buy claim form. You should be wary of other organisations or people offering you form’s especially if they ask you to pay for them. Once the Council has received the form we must send you a notice advising whether you have the Right to Buy or not, and if not an explanation why not, within a prescribed time period. Any response you may wish to make has to be made within certain time periods.
If the Council agrees to sell your home we must send you an offer notice or Section 125 Notice, which tells you the price and the terms and conditions of sale. We must send you this within a specific time period. This Notice is very important and you should pay particular attention to it. If the Council does not respond to your application within prescribed time periods you may be entitled to a reduction in the purchase price. There are also time periods in which the tenant must respond to the Council. Failure to do so may result tin the application being withdrawn.
The scheme allows a discount on the market value of your home. The longer you have been a right to buy landlords tenant, the more discount you get up to a maximum discount of £16,000. For those eligible after 2 years the discount is 32% for houses and 44% for flats. The discount for those eligible after 5 years is 35% for houses and 50% for flats. The discount rises by 1% for each extra year, up to a maximum of 60% but the discount cannot exceed the maximum of £16,000.
The discount may be reduced by a special rule called the cost floor. This will apply if your home has been purchased or built recently or we have spent money repairing or maintaining it. The discount must not reduce the price paid below what has been spent by the Council.
When considering exercising the Right to Buy you should be aware that there are costs which you may incur. Some costs will be associated with dealing and processing the Right to Buy. These may include legal and survey fees, valuations fees and costs associated with taking out a mortgage. You may also have to pay stamp duty.
Once you have purchased your home you may then have to make regular payments in respect of any mortgage or charge on the property including any increases in interest rates, building insurance, life assurance and mortgage payment protection insurance.
Costs associated in maintaining your home in good repair which may include the payment of service charges both annual and in respect of major works where appropriate. There may be additional ongoing expenditure in respect of council tax, water, sewerage, gas, electricity and other utility services.
Failure to pay some of these regular ongoing payments may result in legal action against you that may in the case of failing to make mortgage payments result in the repossession of your home. The Council may not provide you with another tenancy if your home is repossessed.
Once you have bought your home and you wish to sell it you may have to repay some or all of the discount. The amount you repay will depend on when you made your application. If you wish to sell your home within 10 years of purchase you must first offer it to the Council (or other body as prescribed by the assembly) at market value. In some rural areas, particularly in Powys, owners may be required to resell to persons who have lived or worked locally for at least 3 years.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Welsh Assembly Government produce a series of guides/leaflets that are available from them, or Citizens Advice Bureau, or Housing Advice Centres, or the Council or alternatively you may contact:
PO Box No 236
Wetherby LS23 7NB
Tel: 0870 1226236
Fax: 0870 1226237