Your eligibility to take part in the Right to Buy scheme is based on numerous criteria that must be met. You could be eligible to be a part of the scheme if you live in a council property, or lived in your current property when it was transferred from the council to another landlord.
Should you find that you qualify for the Right to Buy scheme, you can be entitled to a discount of up to 70 per cent on the purchase cost of your house. This discount can be increased each April, in order for it to keep in line with the rate of inflation.
As of 06 April 2016, the maximum discount available in London is £103,900, while it is £77,900 outside of the capital.
In order to be an eligible applicant, you will need to have been a tenant in a public-sector property for at least three years, however these do not need to be consecutive. Prior to changes in the law enacted in May 2015, applicants would have needed to have been a tenant for at least five years.
To be considered a public-sector tenant, the property in which you live must be a public body, such as a council, government department or a housing association.
You will not be eligible if you have any legal problems involving debt, nor if you have any outstanding possession orders against you.
You must be in a secure financial position, meaning that you must ensure that you are able to obtain a mortgage and meet the monthly repayments.
The property must have none of the rooms shared with people outside of your household.
The property that you are looking to buy must also be your primary or only home, and should not be due to be demolished.
Exceptions to Right to Buy
Aside from the personal factors that may make a person unsuitable for being a part of the Right to Buy scheme, there are a number of exceptions based on the kind of property that an applicant is looking to purchase. These exceptions to the Right to Buy scheme are usually homes that are suitable for disabled or elderly residents.
Your landlord has the right to refuse to sell a property through Right to Buy if it is deemed to be particularly suitable for elderly people, or was let to you for use by a person aged 60 years or over.
Other exceptions include a property that is:
- Not your main home
- Owned by a private charity and not a council
- Rented as a condition of your employment, e.g. you work for the fire service
- Rented to you so you can study full time at university
- Rented to you as a temporary home, e.g. for less than three months
- Situated in the grounds of a public building
- On land that has been bought for development
- Let as part of a business, e.g. a shop, or has been let from a private landlord
- Not self-contained (has a shared kitchen, living room or bathroom)
- Subject to demolition (see below)
Your landlord does not have to make your home available under the Right to Buy scheme if it has been issued with an initial demolition notice, i.e. it is due to be demolished.
An initial demolition notice lasts for seven years. In the time during the initial demolition notice period, you can still apply to be a part of the Right to Buy scheme, and your landlord may still accept the application. However, once a final demolition notice is served, all Right to Buy applications, whether new or ongoing, will become invalid.
If a demolition notice is served after you have started your application, you will be entitled to compensation for any money that you have spent on property surveys, legal fees, mortgage arrangement fees; you will have up to three months to claim this back.
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