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Buy your Home

Did you know you may be able to buy your Council home through the Right to Buy Scheme?

If you’re a Secure tenant and have been a Council tenant, Housing Association tenant or served in the Armed Forces for 3 years or more you may qualify. If you’re currently an introductory Tenant you are unable to qualify for Right to Buy at this time, however, if you are interested, please do contact us once you have been transferred to a secure tenancy.

  • The property you intend to buy must be your main and only home.
  • If you have a joint tenancy, both parties must indicate if they wish to buy the property and sign the form accordingly.
  • Other family members must have lived at the property for a full year before the date of the application if they wish to join the Right To Buy application and evidence will be requested.

If you get housing benefit, you can still apply to buy your home but please be aware, Housing Benefit may be informed that you applied and this benefit will stop once you own your home.

There are some reasons that prevent you from buying your home which are found below:

Reasons you may not be allowed to buy your home

You cannot buy your home if:

  • You are not a secure tenant or do not meet the qualifying period of 3 years
  • An applicant is not a member of the applying tenants immediate family
  • The property is suitable or adapted for an Elderly or disabled person
  • You do not use the home as your only or main home
  • You or your visitors behave antisocially
  • You are bankrupt
  • You have a pending bankruptcy petition against you

Suspended Possession Orders

If you have been served a Suspended Possession Order during your tenancy, you could still buy your home.

A Suspended Possession Order is something a judge grants. It is often done when a tenant owes us rent. In that case, the Order allows you to remain in your home – providing you keep to an agreement to pay back what you owe. If you break the terms, we can evict you without having to go court.

Types of Property You May Not Be Able to Buy

  • sheltered accommodation
  • accommodation especially for older people, for example, some bungalows
  • a property which has been specially adapted for disabled use
  • a home linked with your employment
  • any property on school grounds

If Your Home Is Due To Be Demolished

This can affect your right to buy your home.

If you have been served an Initial Demolition Notice, this suspends your right to buy your home for 5 years from the date of the notice. An Initial Demolition Notice is given when a council wants to demolish a home but has not set a date when it will take place.

If you have been served a Final Demolition Notice, which usually happens once a date for demolition has been set, this ends your right to buy your home.

RTB for Elderly persons’ dwellings (Bungalows)

If you live in a bungalow, you can still exercise your right to buy, however, unlike general needs houses and flats, bungalows come under Elderly Persons Dwellings and therefore are subject to certain criteria being met that will enable the Council to refuse the purchase of the property.

Unlike the other types of exempt dwellings, if the Council deny the Right to Buy on the basis that it meets the criteria set out for elderly persons’ dwellings, you will be entitled to appeal the Council’s decision within 56 days of the RTB2 date.

Elderly persons dwelling

 All 3 of the following criteria must be met before the Council can deny an application under this ruling. 

 The 3 Criteria is set out below.

  1. The property was let for occupation by a person aged 60 or over. This can be either the tenant/s or another person
  2. The property is an individual dwelling which is particularly suitable for an elderly person
  3. The property was first let before the 1 January 1990.

    If ALL of the above criteria are met the application will be denied under Part C of the RTB2.

Part C is only used where the application is denied because the property is considered suitable for elderly persons and meets ALL the criteria specified.

In this case, you, the tenant will be entitled to appeal the Council’s decision to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber – Residential Property) within 56 days of the RTB2 date.

 The Council will ensure that you are sent the appropriate information with the RTB2 explaining your right to appeal and the steps you will need to take if you decide to do this.

If the Council receives notification from the First-tier Tribunal that you are appealing the Council’s decision to deny you the Right to Buy under Part C, The Council will ensure that they will respond appropriately and within the timescales provided.

Discounts

The right to buy scheme allows you to buy your home at a discount:

  • The minimum qualifying period is three years

  • The Maximum discount allowed in Colchester is £96,000 (2022/2023) This increase takes effect on 6th April 2023.

  • If you have already received a discount under the Right to Buy scheme, this would be deducted from your new discount

  • We do not sell any properties for less that the Cost Floor (the cost of the upkeep of the building for the past 10-15 years). If you live in a new build property or a Council Buy Back (Housing Acquisition) property this will include the cost of building the property, cost of buying back the property and associated costs. This will affect the discount amount you may receive and the price at which you are offered the property.

Getting legal advice

Before deciding whether to buy, you should get legal advice, especially if you have any worries about taking such a big step. Click here to find a local solicitor. You should always find out how much a solicitor will cost before you employ them.

Mortgage Advice

We cannot offer you mortgage advice. However, you can click here for more information about the costs involved in buying your home.

Before You Decide To Buy Your Home

Buying your own home is the biggest financial decision you will ever make. If you buy your home, you will be responsible for:

  • The costs of maintaining your home
  • Any repairs, including major structural and routine repairs
  • Any improvements to the property

If you live in a flat you will be responsible for paying:

  • Your portion of any works carried out to maintain or improve the building.
  • Annual Service charges and Ground rent
  • For repairs that fall within the Leaseholders responsibility (Please see attachment “Who is responsible for repairs”.)

If you buy your home, it may affect any benefits you receive:

  • If you get Housing Benefit, this will stop once you own your home
  • You cannot get Housing Benefit to help pay your mortgage
  • You may be entitled to Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income-related Employment and Support Allowance to help with housing costs (mortgage interest), but this is not usually paid until three months after the date of your claim to benefit

We have produced a chart to help you make the decision.

Completing Your Purchase

If you are happy with our terms for buying your home and you have arranged to raise the money, you are ready to go ahead and buy. 

You need to tell us that you are ready by returning the yellow acceptance form included in your offer notice. Please ask your solicitor for advice on the legal documents and making your payment.

Buying any property can be a long and stressful period; however at Colchester Borough Homes we try to make this as smooth and easy as possible. We aim to complete the Right to Buy purchase of the property within one year from application, or sooner where possible.

What if you decide to sell after you have bought your home?

If you sell your home within 5 years, you will have to pay back between one fifth and the total amount of the discount.

If you want to sell within 10 years of the date you bought it, you will have to offer the property to Colchester City Council. The Council must be offered first refusal, however it is under no obligation to buy back your property. We will consider your request and notify you within 60 days.

For further information on repaying a discount and offering a property back to Colchester City Council, please contact Joanne.Wingate@cbhomes.org.uk or call 01206 508773.

How to apply for your Right To Buy

Check your eligibility for the Right To Buy scheme on the Communities and Local Government Right To Buy website.

You will need to complete a form called an RTB1. Go to the GOV.UK website and download a copy to complete and return to the address below.

Please read the accompanying documents about buying your home before proceeding with your enquiry. These can be found in the ‘Useful Information’ section below or in the Downloads section on the right hand side of this page.

If you have any questions regarding your Right To Buy application, complete our online Right to Buy Enquiry form or email: righttobuy@cbhomes.org.uk.

Send your completed application to:

RTB / Leasehold Department, Colchester Borough Homes, Rowan House, 33 Sheepen Road, Colchester, CO3 3WG.

What happens next?

Once you have sent in your form, we will send you a notice, called an RTB2, letting you know if you can buy home. We will send this to you within 4 weeks, unless we are waiting for evidence of previous tenancies with other landlords to calculate your qualifying period.

Once you have received this, you will then be sent what is called a Section 125 Notice (Offer Notice). This will be sent out within 8 weeks of the RTB2 if your home is a house, or 12 weeks if your home is a flat. You need to write to us within 12 weeks of getting your Offer Notice to let us know if you wish to buy your home or to withdraw your application.

The Section 125 notice is very important as the details on this form could help you decide whether you want to go ahead and buy your home.

It includes:

  • A description of the property
  • The price
  • Any structural defects
  • Terms and conditions of sale

If your home is a flat, it will include an estimate of the service charges, ground rent and potential major works invoices you will have to pay.

If you disagree with the value given to your home, you can appeal to the District Valuer by telling us within 12 weeks of receiving the Section 125 Notice and to request form HA5. You will need to complete this form and return it to us so that we can send this request to the District Valuer with the relevant forms.

Please note that the District Valuer could value your home at a higher, lower or equal amount to the Offer Notice. This will be the amount you will have to pay.

Have you been a Public Sector tenant for 3 years or more