Information and advice for tenants who wish to apply to buy their Council home under the Right to Buy scheme.
We recommend that you get independent legal advice before committing to buying your home.
You can also download and print a copy of the Right to Buy handbook.
The Right to Buy was introduced in 1980 to provide eligible tenants with the opportunity to buy their Council home at a discounted price.
You may have the Right to Buy your Council home if:
However, you won’t have the Right to Buy your home if:
If you are not sure whether you are a secure tenant please contact the Homeownership Team on 0118 937 2092 who will be able to advise you.
If you think you qualify for the Right to Buy, please contact the Homeownership Team.
No – only the current tenant(s) have the Right to Buy. However, you may share the Right to Buy with up to 3 family members over the age of 18 who are not tenants, if the property has been their sole or principle home for the last 12 months. Family members include: Spouse, partner, civil partner, children, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces.
If only one of you wishes to buy your home then you can still apply, but the tenant who does not wish to buy must consent to this by completing section F of the Right to Buy application form.
However, we strongly advise that the tenant who does not wish to buy the property gets independent legal advice as they will be ending their secure tenancy and losing any associated tenancy rights.
In addition, if there comes a time when your relationship breaks down and you can no longer live together in the property, the tenant who does not own the property is unlikely to be eligible for social housing as they may have made themselves intentionally homeless by ending their secure tenancy voluntarily.
The Council will value your home – we will base our selling price on the market value of the property on the day you submitted your completed Right to Buy application.
We will take any improvements you have made to your home into consideration when we value the property.
If you think our valuation is incorrect, you can ask us to arrange for the District Valuer to carry out an independent valuation. However, their decision is final – this means if they value the property higher than we did you will have to pay the higher price
This depends on the type of property you live in and how long you have been a Social Housing Tenant. The maximum discount available is £87,200.
If you live in a house and have been a social housing tenant for 3-5 years, then you should get a discount of 35% on the market value of your house. For each extra full year on top of the initial 3-5 years that you have lived in social housing you get another 1% discount up to a limit of 70% or £87,200 (whichever is the lower).
Example 1: if your HOUSE is worth £200,000 and you have been a social housing tenant for a total of 5 years:
Example 2: if your house is worth £200,000 and you have been a social housing tenant for a total of 20 years:
If you live in a flat, and have been a social housing tenant for 3-5 years, then you should get a discount of 50% on the market value of your flat. For each extra full year on top of those initial 3-5 years that you have lived in social housing you get another 2% up to a limit of 70% or £87,200 (whichever is the lower).
Example 3: if your flat is worth £150,000 and you have been a social housing tenant for a total of 10 years:
Exceptions: If you have previously brought a social housing property under the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire, the discount you are now entitled to will be reduced by the amount of discount you received before.
Buying your home is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. Do not rush into it. We have enclosed an affordability checklist to help you work out the costs, and also the benefits and possible drawbacks of buying your home. It is important that you get independent financial and legal advice from a bank, building society or independent financial advisor before deciding whether to buy your home.
Your home can be an asset for you and your family in future years and home ownership can give you more freedom.
However, owning a home also brings some added responsibilities and you need to be sure this is the right choice for you and your family.
Buying your home is also a major financial commitment. Apart from repaying the money that you borrowed to fund the purchase you then have to consider the ongoing maintenance costs too.
The cost of buying your home includes a range of one off costs, administration fees and charges* including:
Fees and charges are correct at the time of publication.
If you need a mortgage or loan to buy your home make sure your lender is willing to lend you the money you need before you progress your application – once you commit to buying your home you will have to pay the fees and charges for any work carried out even if you can’t go through with the purchase.
Make sure you are absolutely clear about the terms and conditions you are agreeing to and any costs involved before signing any agreements.
Once the sale is complete you will have other regular financial responsibilities:
Use our affordability checklist to help you work out if you can afford to buy your home.
We strongly recommend that you get independent financial and legal advice from a bank, building society or independent financial advisor before making a decision about buying your home.
Beware of any family member, person or company offering to help you buy your home – their arrangements are normally more beneficial for them than you and normally means there is a risk involved for you. For example, a person or company may offer you money to finance the initial purchase in a deal where they end up owning the property and you then rent from them. They may then charge you a higher rent than we did when the Council was your landlord and they could also end your tenancy which means you would have to live elsewhere.
You also need to carefully consider any offers from friends or family members to finance the purchase for you. If they take out a mortgage or loan, the lender normally requires the tenant(s) to be named on the loan or mortgage application (as you are the owner) to secure repayment of the debt. Therefore if the debt is not repaid, they will repossess your home to repay the debt. You will then be homeless.
It is not just purchasing the property, you must also think about:
Both of these cases are known as “Deferred Resale Agreements”. If you enter into a Deferred Resale Agreement you will also have to repay the Council all or part of your Right to Buy discount.
Some tenants have found themselves homeless after agreeing to such offers listed above. In these circumstances the Council may not offer alternative accommodation as you will be seen to have made yourself intentionally homeless by entering into the agreement.
Always ask the Homeownership Team for FREE advice or talk to an independent legal advisor before you sign anything. Anything you discuss with the Homeownership Team is confidential.
Even if you don’t need a mortgage or a loan to fund your Right to Buy, it is worth checking with different mortgage lenders if they would be willing to offer a mortgage on the type of flat or house you live in.
Many lenders won’t consider giving loans for flats in high-rise blocks or properties which are not constructed in a traditional way.
If this applies to your home it could mean that you could have difficulty finding a buyer for your home if you decide to sell.
As a tenant you may currently be able to claim Housing Benefit to help pay your rent. However, you will not be able to claim this to help with a mortgage.
You may be eligible to claim “Support for Mortgage Interest” (which pays the interest part of your monthly mortgage payment, but not the loan itself) if you become unemployed. Check on www.gov.uk for terms and eligibility.
You must continue to pay your rent until the date the sale is complete. It essential you keep your payments up-to-date and your rent account clear to avoid any delays.
Once the sale is complete you can sell your home whenever you want. However, if you sell your home within 5 years of buying it from us you will have to repay some or all of your Right to Buy discount.
The amount you have to repay depends on the price you sell it at and how long you have been the owner. This also applies if you agree to transfer ownership to somebody else in the future.
If you sell in:
In addition to the above, the discount repayment will also reflect the percentage of discount you received disregarding any improvements you have since made.
If, for example, your home was valued at £100,000 when you bought it and you received 50% discount (£50,000) off the purchase price and the current resale value of your home is now £120,000. In:
If you sell within 10 years: You must always ask the Council if we want to buy the property back from you. You can only sell your property on the open market once you have received written confirmation from Reading Borough Council. We will respond to your request within 28 days.
After 10 years there are no further restrictions.
A right to buy purchaser who seeks further borrowing during the repayment period may be required to obtain a deed of postponement, a deed of postponement will only be granted for certain home improvements. Estimates for the work will need to be provided to Reading Borough Council who will inspect the works once completed.
Once you own the property you can sublet your home. If you decide to do this:
Always get independent advice about your rights and responsibilities of becoming a landlord or homeowner.
Think carefully about the pros and cons and use the enclosed checklist to help you do this. ALWAYS get good independent advice to help you decide if buying your home is the right choice for you.
We will send you an Offer Notice (Section 125) which includes:
Within 12 weeks of receiving the offer Notice you should either:
If you fail to contact us within the 12 weeks we will send you a reminder. You
have a further 4 weeks to give us your decision in writing. If we do not hear
from you within this time your application will automatically be cancelled.
Once you accept the terms set out in the offer notice, we aim to complete the sale of the property within 6 months.
Once you have confirmed in writing that you want to buy your home, we will ask our solicitors to write to your solicitors to sort out the legal aspects – this is known as conveyancing.
Once you have decided to go ahead with the sale, you should:
You can use the Right to Buy checklist to workout the costs of buying your home.