Right to Buy FAQs
How do I buy my home?
Start by completing an application form (RTB1) available by contacting the Right To Buy Team. Contact details are in the panel on the right of this page.
How do I know what the value of my home is?
If your landlord has agreed to allow you to buy your home you will receive notice of the price you will be required to pay and the terms and conditions of the sale. If you think your landlord has valued your home too highly, you have the right under section 128 of the Housing Act 1985 to an independent valuation from the District Valuer.
Do I have to pay for a valuation?
No, your landlord will arrange for your home to be valued.
Should I be paying full rent before I can apply to buy my home?
No, if you are claiming housing benefit you are still entitled to apply to buy your home.
Can I apply to buy my home if I am in arrears with my rent?
Yes, the application can be processed, however you will be expected to clear any arrears before completion of the sale.
What discount will I receive?
The longer you have been a tenant, the more discount you get on the market value of your home. The highest discount you can currently get is £77,900. If you live in a house, and have been a council tenant for 3 years, then you should get a discount of 35% on the market value of your house. For each extra year that you have lived there, over 5 years, you get another 1% discount, up to a limit of 70% - or £77,900 (whichever is the lower).
If you live in a flat, and you have been a council tenant for 3 years, then you should get a discount of 50% on the market value of your flat. For each extra year you have lived there, over 5 years, you get another 2% discount, up to a limit of 70% - or £77,900 (whichever is the lower).
You might get a slightly lower discount if you have taken up the opportunity of Right to Buy before on another home or if your landlord has recently spent some money on improving your home.
If I have made improvements to my home will it increase the value of the property?
When you apply to buy you will be asked what if any improvements you have made to your home. This information will be passed to the Valuer who will assess the value of the property as if the improvements had not taken place.
Who is responsible for repairs and maintenance to my home if I apply to purchase?
As soon as you apply to buy your home you will not be entitled to routine repairs or improvements (except for work required by law and to keep it weather-tight). Your home will be excluded from any planned modernisation works such as new windows etc.
If your home is a flat or maisonette it is likely that you will buy your home on a long lease (usually 125 years). Your landlord will be responsible for repairing and maintaining the external and communal areas of the building such as roof and lift areas. However, as an owner of your flat or maisonette you will be required to pay a service charge which will cover a reasonable share of the costs incurred by the landlord.
Service Charges for flats and maisonettes are payable annually, it is important that you consider these on-going costs before committing to the purchase.
Can I apply for a mortgage from the council?
No, West Lancashire Borough Council does not offer mortgage facilities.
How soon after I buy my home can I sell it?
You are entitled to sell your home straight away, but certain conditions apply.
If your Right to Buy application was made before 18 January 2005 and you sell within three years, you will be required to pay back one third of the discount. After three years you can sell without paying back any discount to your landlord.
If your Right to Buy application was made after 18 January 2005 and you want to sell your home within the first ten years of owning it, you must write to the Council first and find out if we want to buy the property back from you. If you sell within five years you will incur a penalty. The amount you pay back is determined on the price you sell it for, each year reduces by one fifth.
What will happen to my home if I die within 3 years of buying it?
If the property is sold, the same rules of paying back the discount applies as above. However, family members can take over the ownership of the property without paying back the discount as long as the property is not sold to the family members.
If the person who bought the property dies within the three or five year period (depending on when you bought the house - see above), the property can be left in a will to a relative without having to pay the discount back, but if the person who inherited then decided to sell and it was still within the 3 or 5 year period then they would have to pay the discount back.
Will the Council buy back my home?
The Council has the right to first refusal. If you purchased your home under the Right to Buy Scheme on or after 18th January 2005 and you wish to resell or dispose of it within 10 years, you will be required to offer it to either your former landlord or another social landlord in your area at full market value.
If your offer has not been accepted within 8 weeks you will be free to sell the property on the open market.
Can I buy my home in joint names with my son/daughter/partner?
Any adult family member who has lived in the home for more than 12 months and has no other permanent address has the right to buy the property jointly with the tenant. Family members who have not lived in the property cannot have their name included on the sale, however they are not prevented from assisting with private financial arrangements.