Housing association tenants in the Midlands have until the end of this week to apply to buy their homes at a discount.
The government has put £200m behind its voluntary Right to Buy pilot, and thousands of properties are likely to be sold at a cut price under the scheme.
Prospective buyers will need to enter a ballot to apply, with applications closing this Sunday (16 September).
How can I apply for the ballot?
Launched last month, the Right to Buy pilot allows housing association tenants in the Midlands to enter a ballot to buy their properties at a discount.
If you’re interested in getting involved, you’ll need to apply using the registration form by midnight on Sunday.
Here’s how it works:
- Apply online by midnight on Sunday 16 September
- Successful applicants will be contacted by email within a week of the ballot closing
- Within four weeks, the government will issue each prospective buyer with a Unique Reference Number (URN)
- Successful applicants must formally apply to their landlord within four weeks of receiving their URN – though they’ll officially have until spring 2020 to complete the purchase.
How does the Right to Buy discount work?
One of the main attractions of Right to Buy is it allows long-term tenants to buy their homes at a significant discount.
This discount will be funded by the government, and will follow the same rules as the standard Right to Buy scheme for council tenants:
- If you have lived in a house for at least three years, you can get a discount of 35%. After five years, this increases by 1% each year, until it reaches a maximum of 70% of the property’s value.
- If you have lived in a flat for at least three years, you can get a discount of 50%. After five years, this increases by 2% each year, up to a maximum of 70%.
Will my home be included in the pilot?
The vast majority of housing associations in the Midlands have signed up to the pilot, but that doesn’t mean all of their homes will be available.
This is because associations can choose which properties they allow to be purchased under the scheme. For example, they can choose to make properties exempt if they consider social housing is already in particularly short supply in an area.
If your property can’t be bought using Right to Buy, the housing association should offer you a ‘portable discount’ on another property.
How many people will apply for the pilot?
There have been suggestions the government’s £200m funding will stretch to around 3,000 completions.
A spokesperson for the housing association Places for People told Inside Housing that it expects 30% of its eligible tenants to enquire, and 9% to make a formal application.
The table below shows which housing associations are taking part in the pilot:
Will buyers outside the Midlands be able to use Right to Buy?
The government says that it will assess the ‘impact’ of the pilot before making a decision on whether to extend Right to Buy to housing associations elsewhere.
In theory, the pilot won’t officially end until Spring 2020, so housing association tenants outside of the Midlands could face a long wait for news.
How do I finance a Right to Buy purchase?
If you’re thinking of entering the ballot, you may benefit from seeking advice on your mortgage options from a professional broker.