Buying your rented property
Under the 'Right to Buy' and 'Right to Acquire' scheme, you could be eligible to buy your home at a price lower than the full market value. This is because the length of time you have spent as a tenant entitles you to a discount.
If you are thinking of applying to buy your home, we suggest you get independent legal and financial advice first.
Things to consider before deciding to buy your home
Buying your home is a big decision for you and your family. Your home can be an asset for you and your family in future years, and home ownership can give you more freedom, such as being able to make some changes to your home without needing your landlord’s permission, if you are the freeholder. A leaseholder will still need the permission of their landlord to make any changes to the property.
Owning a home also brings some added responsibilities and you need to be sure this is the right choice for you and your family. For example, you may need to get a loan or mortgage to enable you to take up this scheme. You will also become responsible for all the costs of maintaining your home (including routine repairs and major structural repairs), improvements to it and any estate and grounds maintenance costs. If you become a leaseholder by buying your flat or leasehold house, you will still have to pay service charges each year, and may also have to meet the costs of major repairs and refurbishment which can be substantial.
The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) provides free, independent information and advice on being a leaseholder. As a tenant, you may be able to claim housing benefit to help with your rent. You cannot claim this to help with a mortgage. You may be entitled to 'Support for mortgage interest' (SMI) to help with your mortgage costs and service charges. You will need to satisfy the conditions of entitlement, and there are restrictions on the help available.
If your circumstances change and you fail to keep up mortgage or loan payments, you could lose your home. You also need to think about what would happen if you buy your home with other people, such as family, and their circumstances change.
Who has the Right to Buy/Right to Acquire?
You probably have the Right to Buy if you are a protected assured tenant who has moved with your home from a local authority to us as part of a stock transfer. You may have the Right to Acquire if your property was built, purchased or funded on or after 1st April 1997 through a social housing grant. There are some properties which are excluded from the Right to Buy and Right to Aquire schemes such as supported or sheltered housing.
You will only be able to buy under the scheme if your house or flat is your only or main home and is self-contained, and you have been a public-sector tenant for five consecutive years. You cannot buy your home if a court makes a possession order which says that you must leave your home. Neither can you buy your home if you are an undischarged bankrupt, have a bankruptcy petition pending against you, or have made an arrangement with creditors (people you owe money to) and you still owe them money.
You may be able to exercise the Right to Buy/ Right to Acquire jointly with members of your family who have lived with you for the past 12 months, or with someone who is a joint tenant with you. Any land let together with your home (for example a private garden or garage) will usually be treated as part of your home, though there can be exceptions
The discount rules
These schemes give tenants a discount on the full market value of their home. The longer you have been a tenant, the more discount you may be entitled to. The Right to Buy scheme gives a maximum discount of up to £77,900 and the Right to Acquire scheme up to a maximum discount of £16,000.
To find out more about buying your home, and if you are eligible for either the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire, phone our Sales team on 01932 235 801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org