Who can buy their council home?
Most of the Council’s secure tenants have the right to buy their home providing the following requirements are met:
- You must be a secure council tenant.
- If you were a public sector tenant before 18th January 2005, you must have at least two qualifying tenancy years (qualifying tenancy years are public sector tenancies, which include tenancies with Right to Buy landlords, with registered housing associations, or time spent in armed forces accommodation). If your public sector tenancy started after the 18th January 2005, you must wait until you have at least five qualifying tenancy years.
- You must not have broken the terms of any suspended possession order made by the court.
- You will not be eligible if you are an un-discharged bankrupt, have a bankruptcy petition pending against you, or you have made an arrangement with creditors, which is still outstanding.
- You may apply with members of your family who are not joint tenants, but they must occupy your home as their only or principal home and must have done so for the 12 months prior to your application.
Do all properties qualify to be purchased under the Right to Buy scheme?
Even if you satisfy the basic criteria above, the following types of property are not suitable for the scheme:
- A property suitable for occupation by people of pensionable age or who are physically disabled, which has been let particularly with these people in mind.
- Retirement Living (Sheltered) housing for the elderly, physically disabled, mentally ill or mentally disabled.
- Houses and flats on land which has been bought for development and which are being used as temporary housing.
- A property owned by an employer, let to an employee, so that they can be near their work.
- A property forming part of, or within the enclosure of a building which is held mainly for purposes other than housing; or situated in a cemetery.
- Homes which the Council has leased from someone else, and which have to be given up empty when the owner wants them back.
- Homes given to students so that they can follow certain full-time courses at a university or college (unless the tenancy continues for more than 6 months after the tenant stops attending the course).
- Homes where the tenants have been given the tenancy of the property temporarily while they look for a permanent home, unless the tenants are still there after one year.
- Homes which are not self-contained.
If you are a Council tenant and are interested in buying your home, then you need to take the following steps:
Step 1 – Information
View the Right to Buy: buying your council home information on GOV.uk (external link), where you can download an application form. You can also request an application form by contacting us using the contact information at the bottom of this page.
Step 2 – Application
Complete the application form and return it to the Housing Services Team at the Council.
Step 3 – Confirmation
Within 28 days of the receipt of the completed application the tenant will be told whether they have the Right to Buy their home.
Step 4 – Valuation & Offer
Within a further 8 weeks for a house, or 12 weeks for a flat, an independent valuation will have been carried out and an offer letter will have been sent to the tenant, who then has 12 weeks to decide whether or not to proceed with the purchase.
How long will the whole process take?
The length of time from application made to the completion of the purchase can vary depending on individual circumstances but on average most go through within about 6 months.
Right to Buy & Service Charges for Sold Flats
You are classed as a Leaseholder if you purchase your flat under Right to Buy or on the open market and the flat is within a building maintained by the Council. As a leaseholder you are required to pay an annual service charge for any services the Council provides to the building or land under the terms of your lease.
On initial sale of the property a Section 125 notice will be served and this will provide details regarding the service charges you will be required to pay.
The notice will also state any major works that are planned within the first five years to the property and details of your contribution.
Leaseholders must remember that if the service charge is not paid without good reason, the council may ask the court for a money judgement and this could affect your future ability to obtain credit.
Council flats are sold with a lease for a fixed term normally 125 years, and can be bought and sold during the term. The actual building your property resides in is owned by the Freeholder (Wealden District Council).
The lease is a legal document that contains your contractual rights and obligations as a leaseholder and the Councils contractual rights and obligations as the owner of the freehold, who maintains the structure and common areas of the block.
The Councils Leaseholder Handbook contains answers to many frequently asked questions and is available for download or alternatively contact our Leasehold Management & Right to Buy Officer using the contact details at the bottom of this page.
Right to Buy Website
There is now a dedicated website and telephone number for tenants to find out about Right to Buy. Please visit the Communities and Local Government Right to Buy website (external link) for more information.
Right to Buy Sales
View data relating to the of local authority dwellings including annual and quarterly sales including summary information on sales of Registered Provider stock (previously known as Registered Social Landlords or housing associations).
Right to Buy Handbook
View our Right To Buy Handbook (pdf)) which sets out your rights and responsibilities as a leaseholder of a flat purchased under the Right to Buy.