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How to Find a Right to Buy Solicitor to Help you Buy your Council Property

Nicola Ryan

Written by

29th Jul 2022 (Last updated on 29th Jul 2022) 6 minute read

The Right to Buy Scheme allows people who have lived in council housing to purchase the property at a discounted price. If you decide to take advantage of the scheme, you will need to hire a Right to Buy solicitor. They can assist you through the process and submit the correct documentation.

This article will cover the following:
  1. What is the Right to Buy Scheme?
  2. Do I Need a Solicitor to Buy a House with a Right to Buy?
  3. What is the Right to Buy Conveyancing Process?
  4. Are Right to Buy Solicitors Fees More Expensive?
  5. How Much of a Right to Buy Discount will I get?
  6. What Happens After?
  7. Do you Need a Deposit for the Right to Buy?
  8. What are the Problems of a Right to Buy Property?

What is the Right to Buy Scheme?

The Right to Buy Scheme allows tenants to purchase their council house at a discounted price. The longer you live in your council house, the higher the discount will be. This gives you more time to save up funds.

Before you apply, you need to make sure that you meet the following criteria:

  • It is your main or only home
  • It is self-contained
  • You are a secure tenant
  • You have had a public sector landlord for 3 years

If you cannot purchase the council house by yourself, there are other options to consider. You can apply if you plan to split funds with someone who is sharing your tenancy. You can also split the property with up to 3 family members who have lived with you for the last year.

Do I Need a Solicitor to Buy a House with a Right to Buy?

A Right to Buy solicitor will guide you through the process. According to the UK government, you must instruct a Right to Buy solicitor. They will submit various documentation on your behalf, such as Land Registry and Stamp Duty. A Right to Buy solicitor tends to charge between £500 to £750 on average.

The reason why it is so important to hire a Right to Buy solicitor is that Right to Buy is a complex scheme. It requires lots of paperwork and documentation that must be filled out and submitted. Your solicitor will ensure that all documentation is correctly submitted and keep you up to date on what is happening in the process.

How to Find a Right to Buy Solicitor

Finding the best Right to Buy solicitor for you is one of the most important decisions you will need to make. At Compare My Move, we have a network of conveyancing partners who are experienced and regulated by an approved body.

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What is the Right to Buy Conveyancing Process?

Here is the Right to Buy conveyancing process:

Applying to your local council

The first step you will need to do is fill out the Right to Buy application form. This is known as an RTB1 notice. This will be sent to your landlord who should reply with an offer within 4 weeks.

RICS valuation

You need to arrange a RICS valuation on your property. This will provide you with the open market value and will determine the property’s worth before applying the discount.

Getting a mortgage

The best way to view the Right to Buy Scheme is by thinking of your discount as the property deposit. Most people have to take out a mortgage to pay the remaining sum; however, you can use a gift, loan, or savings if you have them.

Conveyancing searches

Your solicitor will carry out conveyancing searches including drainage, environmental, and local authority. These will determine whether there are any location-specific risks that could reduce the value of your property.

Level 2 or 3 Survey

It is highly recommended that you have your solicitor conduct either a Level 2 or 3 Survey. A Level 2 Survey will highlight any defects within the property that can decrease the value. A Level 3 Survey is more detailed and thorough in scope, so you can determine whether you want to go ahead with the purchase.

Completion

The last stage of the conveyancing process is arranging a completion date. The Right to Buy Scheme does not require exchanging of contracts. You can arrange your completion date once all paperwork is completed and you have your mortgage offer. The completion date must take place on a Monday.

Are Right to Buy Solicitors Fees More Expensive?

Right to Buy solicitors are more expensive because they add on a supplemental fee to cover the extensive conveyancing. The average cost of a council home is £145,285. Taking this average, the fees of a Right to Buy solicitor for a freehold property is £1,190 while the average fee for a leasehold is £1,370.

This cost does not include any disbursements or supplement fees that your Right to Buy solicitor may charge. The average cost of disbursements is £551, while the supplemental fee can vary.

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How Much of a Right to Buy Discount will I get?

The amount of discount you will receive is dependent on the following factors:

  • How long you have been a tenant in the property with a public sector landlord
  • Whether you are purchasing a flat or house
  • The value of your property

If you are purchasing a house, you will receive a 35% discount if you have lived at the property for between 3 and 5 years. After 5 years, this discount will increase by 1% each year until it reaches 70% total discount. The maximum amount equates to £87,200 in England regions outside London and £116,200 in London boroughs.

If you are purchasing a flat, you will receive a 50% discount if you have lived at the property for between 3 and 5 years. After 5 years, this discount will increase by 2% each year until it reaches 70% total discount. The maximum amount equates to £87,200 in England regions outside London and £116,200 in London boroughs.

What Happens After?

If you decide to sell your home within 5 years of buying it, you will have to pay back some or all of your discount. This depends on the length of time you lived at the property before selling.

You will have to pay back:

  • 100% of the discount when selling after 1 year.
  • 80% of the discount when selling after 2 years.
  • 60% of the discount when selling after 3 years.
  • 40% of the discount when selling after 4 years.
  • 20% of the discount when selling after 5 years.

The amount that you will pay back will depend on your property’s value when sold.

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Do you Need a Deposit for the Right to Buy?

Before committing yourself to the Right to Buy Scheme, you need to make sure that you are able to afford the costs. The discount is often regarded as the deposit for the property. However, you need to make sure that you are able to cover the additional costs that come with the conveyancing process. This includes your Right to Buy solicitor fees, disbursements, and any supplemental fees that may be charged.

If you are confident that you have the funds, you can submit your RTB1 application form online.

What are the Problems of a Right to Buy Property?

There are certain issues that come with purchasing a property using the Right to Buy Scheme. The main problem you may face is if you decide to sell it relatively soon after purchasing it. You will be expected to pay back all or some of your discount with the total debt depending on the value of the property when sold.

If you wish to sell your home within 10 years, you must offer the property to your previous landlord. If they decline, you must offer the property to another social landlord. The selling price must be agreed upon by both parties.

Nicola Ryan

Written by Nicola Ryan

Nicola focusses on all things moving house at Compare My Move where she writes articles for the advice centre, guiding users through everything they need to know about moving house.

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