The following is a guide to how to buy your council house but first, we need to understand the basics. Before you qualify for the right to buy your council house, you must be a flexible or secure tenant. This means that you must have been a tenant in a council, housing association or armed forces accommodation for a minimum period of three years. This right can be suspended or lost if the landlord files a court case to strip you of your tenancy or evict you from your house. Also, homes that are supposed to be demolished in two years’ time do not count.
If you are qualified to buy a council home, you can do so individually, or with your joint tenant or spouse. In addition, you can share with up to three relatives the right to buy, as long as those relatives have stayed in your house for the last one year. That being said, once you are eligible, your landlord will assess the market value of your house and determine the discounts you ought to receive. This discount is affected by factors such as:
The period you have spent as a tenant in the council house.
The type of property, a flat or a house.
If your landlord has renovated your house in the past fifteen years.
To apply, you can ask your landlord to give you the application form. Also, you can visit Gov.uk council finder to access the website of your council so as to apply. Subsequently, your landlord will write to you informing whether or not you are eligible to purchase the house.
The landlord should respond within four weeks, that is if you have been a tenant for over three years or eight weeks if you have been a tenant for three years and below. Also, if the landlord says you are not eligible, he/she should indicate the reasons why.
After the landlord grants you the right to buy, he/she should write you a formal notice in a period of eight weeks stating:
The selling price
The discount you are allowed and how it was arrived at
An approximation of service charges you incurred in your first five years.
Information about any structural defects
Lastly, the terms and conditions for the transaction.
On your side, you will have to reply to the landlord for not more than 12 weeks informing the landlord if or not you are still interested in buying the property. If you think the landlord’s offer is too high, you can seek an independent valuation from HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs).
To buy the house, you need to pay the deposit, pay for legal and surveyors reports and lastly, get a mortgage from a construction society or bank. In addition, once the house is yours, you will be responsible for making repairs. Also, you may be required to pay communal service charges if you are a leaseholder. Your council is mandated to inform you of repair or improvement costs before you purchase a leasehold flat.
Purchasing a council house may become a headache if one is not well-informed of the process required. Therefore, above is a guide to how to buy your council house. If you understand these procedures, buying a council house will not be a problem any more.