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Right to Buy
What is the Right to Buy?
The Right to Buy gives secure tenants of Medway
Council (and other social landlords) the legal ability to buy their
home directly from their landlord and at a lower price than its
current market value.
The Right to Buy is defined in legislation, particularly the
1985, which sets out who can buy their council home and the
It is important to make a distinction between buying a house and
a flat or
maisonette from the council. If you are buying a house, you
will be buying the property freehold or outright. If you are buying
a flat or maisonette, however, you will be buying a long-term
lease and the council will still own the freehold of the
Who has the Right to Buy?
To be eligible to buy your home from the council:
- you must be a secure tenant of Medway Council;
- you must you must have spent at least five years as a public
sector tenant (a public sector tenant is a tenant whose landlord is
either a local authority or registered social landlord).
- the house or flat you plan to buy must be your only or
principal home and is self contained;
You may be able to exercise the Right to Buy with someone who is
a joint tenant with you or with members of your family (they must
be over the age of 18 years and have lived with you for a minimum
of 12 months).
Exceptions to the Right to Buy
You cannot buy your home if:
- a court has made a possession order which says that you must
leave your home;
- you are an non discharged bankrupt;
- you have a bankruptcy petition pending against you;
- your home is particularly suitable for occupation by the
elderly (Under paragraph 11 of Schedule 5 to the Housing Act 1985
- taking into account its location, size, design, heating system
and other features;
- was let to the current or previous tenant for occupation by a
person aged 60 or over;
- whether they were the tenant or not was first let before 1
The Right to Buy discount
As a qualifying Right to Buy tenant, you will receive a discount
on the market value of your home. The amount of discount is linked
to the number of years you have spent as a secure tenant: the
longer you have been a tenant, the greater your discount will be.
Under law, this discount is set to an upper limit (dependant on
where you live).
For Medway Council tenants living in the south-east, the maximum
discount available is £75,000.
Please note, you may have to repay some or your entire discount
if you resell your property within your first five years of
ownership (for purchases after 18 January 2005).
The Right to Buy process
The following is a summary of the
Right to Buy process.
Council tenant submits a
Right to Buy application form (Form RTB1) to their
Your landlord must tell you within four weeks of receipt of
application if you have the Right to Buy your home and send you a
notice (Form RTB2).
What happens if I have been granted permission to buy?
Once you have been given the Right to Buy your home, your
property will be valued by an independent Estate Agent and you will
then receive your offer letter from your landlord (Section 125
notice). This offer letter tells you how much your landlord is
prepared to sell you your home for and the terms and conditions of
sale. The offer letter must reach you within eight weeks of your
receiving your RTB2 form, if your property is a house and 12 weeks
for a flat or maisonette.
As part of the Right to Buy process, you will be provided with
an Energy Performance Certificate – a document which tells you how
energy efficient and environmentally-friendly your home is.
To buy or not to buy?
You now have to decide whether to complete the purchase of your
home and you must tell your landlord of your decision, in writing,
within 12 weeks of receiving your Section 125 notice.
If you wish to complete your Right to Buy, your purchase should
be handled for you by your solicitor and your landlord’s legal
Once a tenant claims the Right to Buy, Medway Council removes
their home from any improvement programmes and the only work
undertaken will be those needed:
- to keep the property wind and water-tight;
- to address health and safety issues;
- to comply with Right to Repair regulations.
The cost of buying your council home
If you decide to buy your council home, there may be additional
costs to the purchase price for the following:
- maintenance costs to ensure your home is in good repair;
- running costs, such as utilities and Council Tax;
- you may have to pay stamp duty, which is a tax that people pay
when they buy property (Stamp duty is worked out as a percentage of
the price you pay for property);
- you will need a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to look after
the legal side of buying your home (before employing anyone, always
ask how much their advice will cost);
- you should have a survey of your home carried out (a Royal
Institute Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Home Buyers’ Survey and
Valuation is a report and valuation in a standardised format to
tell you of all significant defects and is likely to be adequate
for most properties and provides a guide to value);
- a building survey involves a detailed examination of all the
visible parts of the property (it is a good idea to have such a
survey done if the property is old or obviously in need of repair
of if you are considering making alterations and your lender may be
able to arrange for its valuer to carry out the survey, which could
save you paying for a separate valuation);
- if you take out a mortgage loan, you may have to pay for the
cost of arranging it and will also have to pay a valuation fee
(please note that as a tenant you may be able to claim housing
benefit to help with your rent, however housing benefit will not
help with mortgage costs);
- when a sale is completed, you must pay the Land Registry to register
you as the new owner.
There may be additional costs, terms and conditions relating to
your mortgage and you should ask your mortgage provider about
What are the differences from buying a house?
Buying a flat or maisonette (leasehold)
If you buy a house, you will purchase the freehold and will own
the property outright. If you buy a flat or maisonette, you will
usually purchase a long lease. This allows you and your successors
to live in it for a fixed time, usually 125 years. The landlord
will still own the block, and they will be responsible for the
upkeep of the building as a whole and of any communal areas and
As a leaseholder, you only have to pay the landlord a nominal
rent (known as a ‘ground rent’) of £10 a year. But you and other
leaseholders will also have to pay service
charges. These can be perhaps several hundred
pounds each year, or much more if the block needs major repairs or
maintenance, such as a new roof or new windows, and
Leaseholders can sell their properties at any point during the
lifetime of the lease. The person who buys it pays to take over the
remainder of the lease. So if you buy your home on a 125-year
lease, and sell it after 15 years, the buyer will get a 110-year
Visit our leaseholder pages for more
Where to go for further information
For further information on purchasing your council home, please
contact the council's Home Ownership Officer using the contact
details at the foot of the page.
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