The Right to Buy was a scheme initially introduced in 1980 where council and some housing association tenants were given the chance to buy their homes at a reduced price. The deductions depend on the type of property you want to buy and your length of stay. If you are a council tenant and have lived in the same house for three years, you can get a 35% discount off the purchase price. The discount increases after five years by 1% annually to a maximum of 70% for those who have been a council tenant for 40 years or longer. But, if you have been living in a flat for three years, 50% is deducted from the buying price. The value increases by 2% annually after 5 years to a maximum of 70%.
The duration of stay doesn’t have to be continuous, though, if you’ve moved from your previous residence, you can still avail of the program if you’ve lived in the same place you’ve transferred to for at least 12 months, plus the time you’ve stayed in your former home.
You can also buy your home jointly with a partner or a co-tenant or with up to three members of your family as long as they have been in residence in the same property given the same duration of time as earlier stated.
The Right to Buy scheme is currently being offered to tenants in England only and those with a clean debt slate. And if you decide to sell the property within 5 years from the date of purchase, you will be required to reimburse the discount.
Most people dream of owning a home, but it comes with responsibilities. Financially, you are looking at mortgage payments. Failure to pay means repossession. Once you’ve bought your property, you are responsible for its maintenance and repairs, the council will no longer cover for these. You may also be responsible for the upkeep of communal areas. Your expenses will also include a building insurance to cover for unforeseen damages, and is usually a requirement by mortgage lenders.
If you are interested in the Right to Buy program, you’d have to complete the government’s online application form. Once the form is submitted,your landlord has four weeks to confirm that you have the right to buy. And if the application is successful, your landlord should send the purchase price, discount, and particulars of any structural issues of the property. You, as the buyer, will be given 12 weeks to accept the offer.
If, however, you cannot afford to own your home through the Right to Buy scheme, the Social Home Buy is another alternative. This program allows the interested buyer to purchase a share of the property and pay rent for the remainder. A discount of £9,000-£16,000 is offered in this program.