You may have the right to buy your council home after three years.

You can apply:

  • jointly with family members over 18 years old who’ve lived with you for at least 12 months;
  • if you’re currently receiving Housing Benefit or have in the past.

The scheme allows council tenants to buy their home at a discount.

Once you’ve completed an application form, you’ll need to return it to:

Finance & Performance
Housing Services
Mid Devon District Council
Phoenix House
Phoenix Lane
Tiverton
Devon
EX16 6PP

At some stage during the process you’ll have to provide two forms of ID. Acceptable forms of ID are:

  • Current passport
  • Current driving license or ID card
  • Proof of previous tenancies
  • Proof that you’re living at the property

We may request further documentary evidence and you may be invited to attend an interview at our council offices.

There are 7 steps in the process:

  1. Check eligibility
  2. Read the Right to Buy information pack
  3. Complete application form
  4. Landlord confirms eligibility
  5. Receive an offer
  6. Over to you – mortgage, etc.
  7. Complete the purchase

Certain types of property are exempt from the Right to Buy scheme:

  • Elderly persons' dwelling
  • Dwelling houses for persons of pensionable age
  • Dwellings for disabled persons
  • Dwellings for people suffering from a mental disorder
  • Properties scheduled for demolition

Your current tenancy status must be secure in order to be eligible for the Right to Buy. Certain types of tenancies are not considered as secure/flexible for the purposes of Right to Buy, see Section 79, Schedule 1 of the Housing Act 1985.

Where a tenancy is in joint names, both tenants must be named and sign the application form regardless of whether they wish to join in the purchase or not.

Any tenant who is subject to one of the following orders will not be allowed to join in the scheme:

  • Possession order with a fixed date - including Suspended Possession Order
  • Ground 2 criminal nuisance order
  • Right to Buy suspension order
  • Bankruptcy order – including where a bankruptcy petition is pending or where a composition or arrangement has been made with his/her creditors and the terms remain to be fulfilled
  • Demotion order
  • Eligibility of family members

Certain family members have the right to join in an application, even if they’re not tenants. In order for a family member to exercise their right to join in the scheme, they must satisfy all three of the following requirements. They must:

  • be the spouse or civil partner of the tenant; or the tenant and that person live together as if they were husband and wife or civil partners, or the tenant’s parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece;
  • live at the property as their only or principal home, and;
  • have been living at the property for 12 months immediately preceding the date of application.

Family members are automatically excluded from the scheme if they’re subject to any of the Court Orders detailed in the How do I know if I’m eligible? section above.

The tenant will need to have been a public sector tenant for a minimum of three years (this does not have to be three years in a row).

The longer you’ve been a tenant, the bigger the discount you get off the market value of the property, up to a maximum discount of £80,900.

Discount levels for houses and flats start at three years of eligible tenancy, increasing after five years from the starting point of 35% for houses and 50% for a flat, up to the maximum of 70% for both.

Examples of discounts

Buying a house

Discounts start at 35% for three to five years, at year six add 1% for each extra year of tenancy up to 70% or the cash maximum of £80,900.

Current house value: £120,000
Years as a tenant: 10
Eligible discount: 40%
Discount value: £48,000
Price you pay for house: £72,000

Buying a flat

Discounts start at 50% for three to five years, at year six add 2% for each extra year of tenancy up to 70% or the cash maximum of £80,900.

Current flat value: £100,00
Years as a tenant: 10
Eligible discount: 60%
Discount value: £60,000
Price you pay for house: £40,000

We’ll instruct an independent external valuer to value the property.

Any improvements made by you to the property will be disregarded in the valuation.

Once we’ve received your application we’ll only carry out essential repairs and the property will be excluded from any planned maintenance projects, such as bathroom and kitchen replacements.

Once the sale of the property is complete, you’ll be responsible for all repairs and maintenance. The following checklist may be useful in comparing costs as a homeowner and a tenant:

One-off costs

Homeowner

Tenant

Legal fees

Yes

No

Stamp duty

Yes

No

Mortgage fees

Yes

No

Other costs

Yes

No

 

Ongoing costs

Homeowner

Tenant

Mortgage

Yes

No

Rent

No

Yes

Utility bills

Yes

Yes

Insurance

Yes

Yes

Life insurance

Yes

Yes

Major repairs

Yes

No

Service charge

If applicable

If applicable

Other living costs

Yes

Yes

If, after purchasing your home, you sell within the first five years you’ll be required to repay your discount as follows:

Sell within first year 100% of discount repaid
2 years 80% of discount repaid
3 years 60% of discount repaid
4 years 40% of discount repaid
5 years 20% of discount repaid
Over 5 years no discount to be repaid

There may also be restrictions for certain periods of time on who you can sell the property to or a first right of refusal for us to buy back the property.

From the date we receive your application we have four weeks (eight weeks if you’ve been with us for less than five years) to confirm your eligibility.

From this date, we have eight weeks (twelve weeks for a flat) in which to send you an Offer Document detailing what we're offering to sell you and the price, after discount, you will have to pay.

From the date of this Offer Document you have twelve weeks to decide if you wish to proceed with the purchase.

If you decide to go ahead we'll pass all the information to the Council’s Legal Department who will work with your solicitor towards the sale.  This can take between three and twelve months depending on various factors.

Don’t forget that if you fail to make repayments towards your mortgage there is a risk that your property will be repossessed.

The Government’s ‘Right to Buy Agent’ offers free and impartial advice. For more information, visit righttobuy.gov.uk or call the Government’s Right to Buy enquiry number on 0300 123 0913.

To speak to one of our officers regarding the Right to Buy scheme, please contact the Finance & Performance Officer on 01884 234282 / 234297 or email housingfpt@middevon.gov.uk.

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