Right to Buy
This section contains a range of information to help you learn more about Right to Buy.
Right to Buy - Do I qualify?
The Right to Buy scheme allows most tenants the opportunity to buy their council home at a discount.
The commitment of owning your own home can be a big responsibility and there are many things that need to be considered in the first instance.
Do I qualify?
You can apply to buy your council home if:
- it’s your only or main home
- it’s self-contained
- you’re a secure tenant
- you’ve had a public sector landlord (eg Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, or another council, housing association or NHS trust) for 3 years - it doesn’t have to be 3 years in a row
- you don’t have any rent arrears, outstanding possessions orders or other legal problems with debt
You don’t have to do it alone, you can make a joint application. So if you’re eligible, you might be able to buy your home with:
- someone who shares your tenancy
- your spouse or civil partner
- up to 3 family members who’ve lived with you for the past 12 months. They don’t have to be on your tenancy agreement but it must be their main home.
Right to Buy - The costs of buying your home
The costs of buying your home
If you decide to buy your home you will become responsible for all the costs of maintaining your home, including major structural repairs, routine repairs and improvements. If you buy a flat you will also have to pay annual service charges.
£ You should employ a Solicitor or licensed conveyancer to look after the legal side of buying your home
£ You should have a survey of your home done
£ If you take out a mortgage you will usually have to pay an arrangement fee
£ Land Registry fee to register you as the new owner of the property
£ You may have to pay stamp duty (a tax that people pay when they become homeowners)
£ Mortgage/interest repayments
£ Council tax
£ Water charges
£ Buildings insurance
£ Contents insurance
£ Life assurance (needed to pay your mortgage if you die before it is repaid in full
£ Mortgage payment protection insurance (to help meet your mortgage payments if you lost your income through unemployment of ill health)
£ Repair and maintenance costs
£ Service charges if you purchase a leasehold property
Right To Buy - how much is the discount?
You can get a discount of up to £80,900 on the market value of your home depending on the following:
- how long you’ve been a tenant with a public sector landlord
- the type of property you’re buying- a flat or house
- the value of your home
Please note that you’ll usually have to repay some or all your discount if you sell your home within 5 years and you might get a smaller discount if you’ve used Right to Buy in the past.
Use the Right to Buy calculator to find out how much discount you could get.
There are different discount levels for houses and flats.
How is the discount calculated?
If you live in a house
If you have been a council tenant for three to five years you should get a discount of 35%. For each additional year you have lived there, over five years, you will get another 1% discount up to a maximum of 70% or £80,900 whichever is lower.
If you live in a flat
If you have been a council tenant for three to five years you should get a discount of 50%. For each additional year you have lived there, over five years, you will get another 2% discount up to a maximum of 70% or £80,900 whichever is lower.
Where can I find out more information?
Read more about buying your home on the Right to Buy website
Download the Right to buy your home leaflet.
Things to consider if you are buying a leasehold property
Flats and maisonettes are sold leasehold, usually on long leases of 125 years. Buying a lease on a property gives you the right to live in that property for the years remaining on the lease or sell the lease to another person/company. You will sign a lease when you purchase the property, the lease sets out the rights and obligations of both the leaseholder (you as the purchaser) and the freeholder (Southend-on-Sea Borough Council).
As a Leaseholder you will have to contribute towards the landlord’s costs for all services provided to the building. More information about service charges is available in the Leaseholder section of this website.
When you buy under the Right to Buy we will tell you in your offer documents, how much the property will cost and we will provide you with:
- Estimates of the costs of any major works which we are planning to carry out during the first five years. These estimates are binding and can only rise in line with inflation, plus applicable management charges. If any works are delayed until after the first five years then you will have to pay the full cost of the works.
- Estimates of any other service charges, for example caretaking, grounds maintenance, communal lighting etc. Estimates for these services are not binding and can increase above the rate of inflation, even during the first five years.
Right to Buy - How do I Apply?
If you are interested in buying your own home you will need to complete and submit both the Notice Claiming the Right to Buy (RTB1 form) [pdf] 356KB and the Right to Buy Supplementary Application Form.
Please complete the Right to Buy Application Checklist [pdf] 198KB and return the Notice Claiming the Right to Buy (RTB1 form) [pdf] 356KB form back to:
South Essex Homes
Southend on Sea
For free, impartial advice you can contact the Government’s Right to Buy Agent service Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm: 0300 123 0913
What happens next?
1. South Essex Homes will respond to your application with a decision within 4 weeks of receiving your application (8 weeks if your tenancy history needs to be verified with another public sector landlord).
If your application has been refused we will explain why. The decision will be sent in the form of a notice known as the RTB2 form.
2. If we can sell you your home we will instruct an independent agency to obtain a valuation of the property. The valuation agency will contact you to arrange an appointment to carry out the valuation.
3. Once the valuation has been completed we will send you an offer notice (known as the Section 125 Notice). This will tell you how much you have to pay and the terms and conditions of sale.
4. If you do not agree with the valuation you can apply to have the value of the property re-determined by the District Valuer. The decision of the District Valuer is final with respect to the value of the property whether it be higher or lower than the original valuation.
5. Now you know how much you will have to pay to buy your home you will need to contact a bank or building society if you need to borrow any money.
You are also advised to seek legal advice as it is important that you are legally aware of every part of your purchase.
6. Whether you decide to go ahead and buy your home or not you need to let us know. You will need to do this by returning the Sale Offer Supplement form which would have been included in the Section 125 Notice (offer of sale letter).
If you are proceeding with the purchase of your home you will need to advise us at this stage the details of your Solicitor and, if the purchase is being funded by a mortgage, the details of your mortgage provider.
7. At this stage the matter is passed over to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s legal team who will liaise with your Solicitor to complete the purchase of your home. These stage can take a few months to complete as there are important financial and legal formalities to be completed.
For more information or advice
South Essex Homes’ Leasehold and Right to Buy Officer:
0800 0234 057