Right to buy
By law most council tenants have the right to buy their council house or flat. To qualify for the right to buy you need to:
- Have been a tenant for at least three years
- The council property you want to buy should be your only or main home
If you qualify, you can buy your home jointly with up to three adults - as long as they have lived with you for at least a year and it is their only or main home.
When you buy a flat from West Lancashire Borough Council (WLBC) you buy a leasehold interest in your home. The council continues to own the freehold.
The maximum discount off the open market value of a property is 70% for a flat or house. The minimum discount is 50% for a flat and 35% for a house. The actual discount depends on how long you have been a tenant and is currently limited to a maximum of £78,600 in the North West.
There are certain homes which the council will not sell. These are:
- Sheltered accommodation
- Homes suitable for the elderly or especially adapted for the disabled
- Temporary accommodation and dwellings, which have been leased from other landlords by the Council
Some tenants are not permitted to buy their home. These are:
- Homeless people who have been given temporary accommodation
- Employees of the council who have accommodation as part of their job e.g. caretakers, wardens
- Tenants who have a possession order on their property
- Tenants who have an introductory tenancy
The cost floor rule
New properties built by local authorities from 1 April 2012 fall under the cost floor rule which means that they cannot be sold during the first 15 years for less than the cost to build.
If you buy your home you are responsible for all its maintenance. If you buy a flat we will continue to carry out certain maintenance tasks and will charge you an annual service charge. Your rights and obligations - and those of the Council - should be fully explained to you by your solicitor at the time of purchase.
Service charges for flats and maisonettes are payable annually, it is important that you consider these on-going costs before committing to the purchase.
Selling your home
If you apply for the Right to Buy (from 18 January 2005) and then sell your home within one year of buying it, you will have to repay the entire percentage discount you received.
If you sell your home in the second year you will have to repay four fifths; if you sell in the third year you pay back three fifths. If you sell in the fourth year you will pay back two fifths and if you sell in the fifth year you pay back one fifth. After five years you won't have to pay back any of the discount. The amount of discount to be repaid will be a percentage of the re–sale value.
Please get in touch to request a Right to Buy application pack or to find out more about home ownership. Contact details are in the contact panel on this page.