In the last few years, the UK government has been proactive in helping people to become homeowners. Part of this drive is the Right to Buy scheme, which you might qualify for if you’re a council or housing association tenant. Read on for some more information on what the incentive entails, the criteria you need to meet to take advantage of it, and some advice on how it can affect the conveyancing process.
What is Right to Buy?
Provided that you’re eligible for the scheme, you have the opportunity to buy your home with a discount of up to £78,600. If you live in London where house prices are higher, this figure rises to £104,900. This reduction in what it’d cost to buy your home could make a massive difference to whether you can afford it, and help you to secure a suitable mortgage.
Am I eligible for Right to Buy?
If you’ve been a council tenant for over three years, you could qualify for Right to Buy. This timeframe was reduced from five years in 2015, making the scheme even more accessible. The property you live in must be your only or main home, and you need to be free from legal problems with debt and possession orders.
There’s an eligibility quiz on the government’s website, which you can complete in a matter of moments. Simply submit a few basic details and you can sign up for more information on Right to Buy. If you’d rather speak to an adviser, there’s a telephone number to call along with an email address, contact form or call back option.
Usually you won’t have the Right to Buy if you’re a housing association tenant. However, if you were a secure council tenant living in your home when it was transferred from your council to another landlord such as a housing association, then you may still qualify for a Preserved Right to Buy.
There’s another quick quiz to help you determine your eligibility for this, but even if you don’t qualify then you may still be able to buy your house with a smaller discount through the Right to Acquire scheme. With options to explore and plans to expand Right to Buy to more housing association tenants, you can still have hope that you’ll be able to purchase your home someday.
How does Right to Buy affect conveyancing?
By the time you need a conveyancing solicitor, you’ll be well along with your Right to Buy purchase. After agreeing the terms of the offer notice you receive from your landlord, you’ll need to get your mortgage in place and instruct a conveyancer. Your legal professional will manage your purchase from here, so you need to choose a conveyancer who’s experienced in dealing with Right to Buy transactions.
There are some differences compared to regular purchases, but as you’re already living in your home they shouldn’t cause you any additional stress aside from the odd extra bit of paperwork. Your conveyancer will deal with the council to sort out things such as the title deeds on your home and advise you on certain rights and obligations.
You don’t have to exchange contracts with your Right to Buy purchase, so your conveyancer will work straight towards completion. They’ll arrange for you to sign the transfer deed, and help you to settle any issues regarding outstanding or overpaid rent. Your conveyancer can also explain what would happen if you decide to sell your home within five years of buying it through Right to Buy, as you’ll have to repay the council a portion of the discount you received.
For more information on purchasing a new home, take a look at our handy home buying process guide, full of useful information to help you every step of the journey. We also have useful guides that cover the mortgage process and some of the key costs you can expect to see when buying a new home.
Disclaimer: The article above is only a rough guide to give you some idea of what’s involved with the Right to Buy Schemes and conveyancing.