Here are some frequently asked questions and answers regarding the Voluntary Right to Buy scheme.
That depends. We need to ask you a few questions to find out:
- You are over the age of 18
- You have the right to reside in the UK
- You have been a public sector tenant in social or affordable housing (usually of a council or a housing association) for at least three years (this need not have been with the same landlord, or continuous)
- You have been the tenant of the property that you would like to purchase for at least one year (and anyone hoping to buy your home with you has been living there for one year as well)
- You are not eligible for the Statutory Right to Buy or the Preserved Right to Buy scheme (which could be the case if your home was owned by your local council and was sold to us [or our predecessor organisation] while you were living in it)
- The property is your only home at the point of sale and you do not own another property anywhere else
- You (and anyone hoping to buy the home with you) occupy the whole property; that is, you are not occupying a room or rooms in a shared house or flat
- You do not owe any outstanding money to your housing association, and can keep clear accounts with them until you have bought the home in question
- You are not currently subject to the mortgage rescue scheme
- You don’t have any outstanding possession orders
- You are not subject to bankruptcy proceedings or unfulfilled credit arrangements, and nor is anyone else hoping to buy your home with you
- You are not subject to an anti-social behaviour order or notice of intent to seek possession for breach of tenancy conditions
- You are subject to any legal proceedings
- Your home is not let under the following tenancies:
o Rent to Buy/Shared Ownership
o Starter/one year fixed-term probationary
o Assured Shorthold Periodic Temporary
o Assured Shorthold (except Localism Act Fixed-Term Tenancies)
o Licence (i.e. you are a “Licensee”)
- Housing co-operatives
The LHP properties which are excluded from the scheme are as follows:
Please remember this scheme is only available to tenants in the south of the county – properties within South Holland District Council, East Lindsey District Council, South Kesteven District Council, Boston Borough District Council, West Lindsey District Council, North Kesteven District Council.
If your property is not eligible to purchase under the VRTB because it is excluded, we may still be able to work with you to identify another property which does qualify. This could be with LHP or another landlord in the Midlands. This process is called ‘porting’.
Remember to think very carefully about how you will afford this purchase. You need to make sure that you look at all the costs of home ownership, not just the purchase price and mortgage requirements.
If you are successful in the ballot, as part of the application process you will need to provide us with evidence of your current income and your ability to fund the purchase.
You will also need to think about the cost of stamp duty, legal fees and possible removal costs. And there will be ongoing costs for repairs and maintenance after you have bought. The Money Advice Service can help you work out what these costs might be for you.
If you purchase your home under the scheme, and then sell or sublet it within five years, you may have to re-pay all or some of your discount.
The timeline of a successful application is:
Submit application to LHP
Four – Eight weeks
Pay £250 fee
Offer price received
Appoint a solicitor
You are a home owner!
Unfortunately not - the number of sales in the pilot is limited and successful applicants for URNs were selected by a strictly random ballot.
Only ‘general needs’ housing is in the scope of the pilot. If you live in specialist housing for older people or those with additional needs, you may not be able to apply.
We are allowed to decline to sell other homes as well. You can find a list of the types of homes that we have chosen not to sell on our website above. These can include those built with charitable funding, those which have to remain affordable in perpetuity because of planning condition, and some properties in rural areas. Leasehold houses are also excluded.
If you are eligible but we have declined to sell you the home that you live in, we will offer you a portable discount to buy another property owned by us or another housing association in your area at a discount. This is called ‘porting’ your discount.
In our case, we will make available to you a list of available properties through our website which will be available to you to consider for a period of one week. If you do not decide within this time the list is withdrawn and the process will be repeated the following week for a period of three months. If you do not find a property within that time your application will be withdrawn.
You cannot appeal against the policies we have set up about exclusions and portability, but you can complain to the Housing Ombudsman if you think we haven’t properly followed those policies.
More information about the Housing Ombudsman is here.
All housing associations taking part in the pilot are charging a £250 administrative fee. This will be refunded either when the sale is completed or if we turn your down. You will not be refunded if you decide to stop proceeding with the sale – for example, due to difficulty of raising the funds.
There are no immediate plans to reopen the ballot. However, any decision by government on this would depend on the level of demand. You can sign up for more information on the Government’s website here and you will receive any new information.
The decision to allocate places on the scheme via a ballot was made by the government. Government are using a ballot because they believe this is the fairest way of allocating the limited number of places available in this pilot project.
The alternative would have been to allocate spaces on a first come, first served basis. Government felt that this would have disadvantaged tenants with accessibility issues or those who could not get onto the internet in the first few days of opening.
The discount is worked out in an identical way to the statutory Right to Buy.
You can get free information and advice from:
Think twice before getting advice from any agency that asks you for money to help you.
Lincolnshire Housing Partnership Limited registered as a charitable Community Benefit Society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 with registered number: 7748. Data Protection registration number: ZA345449 Registered Office: Westgate Park, Charlton Street, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN31 1SQ