The government has recently extended the right-to-buy scheme available to local authority tenants, to include tenants of housing associations, which will allow them to buy their property at a discount in the same way that local authority tenants currently can. Previously, tenants of housing associations did not have the same right to buy their property as tenants of a local authority. The new regulations ensure that housing association tenants will now have the opportunity to become home owners. To find out if you are eligible you can use the eligibility checker at www.righttobuycommunities.gov.uk/am-i-eligible/eligibility-quiz/.
If your property is your only or main home, is self contained, and you have had a public sector landlord for at least 3 years, you can apply to buy your home. If your landlord agrees to sell it to you, they will provide you with an offer letter setting out the price that they think you should pay for the property, and the discount being offered, together with information as to how they have worked these figures out. They should also give details of any known structural problems.
The maximum discount that you can receive in England is £77,900.00 (except in some London boroughs where the figure may be higher), and is based upon how long you have been a tenant with a public sector landlord, the type of property and the value of it. If you sell your home within a specific period (usually 5 years) you may have to repay some or all of this discount. You can use the right to buy calculator at http://righttobuy.communites.gove.uk/can-i-afford-it/ to find out what sort of discount you may receive.
There are other things to consider before deciding to apply to buy your home. Whilst it may allow you to make some changes to your home without needing to ask for permission, there are added responsibilities, for example, you will become responsible for the costs of maintaining your home, including structural work and repairs if it is a freehold property. If it is a leasehold property, you will become responsible for any maintenance and service charges and may have to contribute towards the costs of repairs to the main building itself. Buying your home is a major financial commitment, but it can become an asset for you and your family for many years to come.
For further information and advice on right to buy across Dorset and South Wiltshire please contact our Residential Property Team.