Council housing is a project that was first initiated in 1890 in the UK under the Housing of the Working Classes Act. The project’s primary purpose was to do away with the slums, ensuring the working classes’ living conditions improved.
Up to date, there are a lot of council houses, and you may be living in one you don’t own. It reaches a point where you are in a dilemma whether to buy the property or not. Before you decide to own the property, there are some factors that you need to put into consideration. Here are the elements; read on.
Do You Meet The Requirement Set to Buy The Property?
Meeting the requirement for buying the council home is the first question you need to ask yourself. You can buy the property under the Right to buy, only under the following requirements if you have been living in the house minimum of 3 years, not necessarily consecutive. In addition, if you’ve had a public sector landlord like the council, an NHS trust, or a housing association, you automatically qualify to buy the house.
The right to buy varies with the place you live in the UK; there are some places where the Right to Buy ended. A good example is Scotland and Wales. While you can purchase the council home in Wales or Scotland, the local authority is not indulged in selling the property to you, and additionally, you will be required to pay the total market rate of the house.
Can You Afford a Mortgage?
You need to weigh the current rent you are paying for your house and the mortgage repayments. For example, in London, the highest discount ranges from £87,200 to £116,200. Take a look at the total amount between the monthly mortgage repayment and the current rent you pay, if they substantially differ. Will you be able to afford to cater for the shortfall, mainly if you are not eligible for some benefits afforded to council tenants like the universal credit? Interest rates and inflation are rising; therefore, locking in a fixed mortgage is a must for affordability.
Is The Property in a Good State of Repair?
Immediately you own the property; some somethings will change, for example, the maintenance of the house. Previously the house used to be repaired by the council, but once you have ownership, all the cost will be on you. Therefore the house needs to be in good repair condition.
Can It Bring Back The Money Spend on It If Sold in the Future?
This will be an added advantage if the property is in an area with amenities and good schools. Despite being in a place with good amenities, it’s crucial to remember that the council house tends to increase its value slower than other residential homes. Therefore you have to consider the value as you compare it with other homes in your desired location.
Now That You Fulfil All The Criteria, Plus You Can Afford The Property, What’s Next?
The first step will be to formally draft a form to buy the property, using an RTB1 application form. The council will act as your landlord, they need to agree to sell the house to you, and they can also deny to sell it to you. If they cannot sell it to you, they need to give you the reasons as to why. All the responses need to be given to you within 4 to 8 weeks, depending on the duration of your tenancy.
Search for Additional Information and Advice
Usually, the council will give you all the information and timescales for purchasing in your location. Alternatively, you can contact the housing charity Shelter, which will provide you with independent advice without charging you a single coin.