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Solicitors for Right to Buy

Nicola Ryan

Written by

29th Jul 2022 (Last updated on 1st Dec 2022) 6 minute read

The Right-to-Buy Scheme allows council tenants to purchase the property at a discounted price. If you decide to take advantage of the scheme, you will need to hire a solicitor. They will assist you through the process and submit the correct documentation. They'll make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

In this guide, we will be taking you through everything you need to know about hiring a solicitor for Right-to-Buy properties, so you can have confidence in the conveyancing process.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Choosing a Solicitor for Right to Buy
  2. How Much are Costs When Using Right to Buy?
  3. How Much of a Right to Buy Discount will I get?
  4. What is the Conveyancing Process When Using Right to Buy?
  5. Right to Buy in Different Cities
  6. Disadvantages of Using Right to Buy
  7. What Happens After?
  8. Finding a Solicitor

Choosing a Solicitor for Right to Buy

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

The reason why it is so important to hire a solicitor is that it 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 Much are Costs When Using Right to Buy?

The average solicitor fee for Right to Buy properties is £1,190 for freehold properties and £1,370 for leasehold properties. This is based on the average cost of a council home, which is £145,285. Solicitors charge more for Right to Buy because they add on a supplemental fee to cover the extensive conveyancing.

This cost does not include any disbursements or supplement fees that your solicitor may charge. The average cost of disbursements is £619, 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.

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 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.

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What is the Conveyancing Process When Using Right to Buy?

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 who apply have to take out Right-to-Buy mortgages 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 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.

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Right to Buy in Different Cities

Right to Buy is available across England. Here is some information regarding the scheme in various cities across the country:

CityMaximum CapWhere to Apply
London£116,200Right to Buy London applicants must apply to their local borough council.
Birmingham£87,200Right to Buy Birmingham applicants can apply via their BRUM account.
Liverpool£87,200Right to Buy Liverpool applicants must apply to Liverpool Council.
Bristol£87,200Right to Buy Bristol applicants must apply to Bristol Council.
Manchester£87,200Right to Buy Manchester applicants must submit a form on the Manchester Council website.
Sheffield£87,200Right to Buy Sheffield applicants must apply to Sheffield Council.
Leeds£87,200Right to Buy Leeds applicants must send a form to the Leeds Council office.
Leicester£87,200Right to Buy Leicester applicants must apply to Leicester Council.
Coventry£87,200Right to Buy Coventry applicants must apply to Coventry Council.
Bradford£87,200Right to Buy Bradford applicants must apply to Bradford Council.

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Disadvantages of Using Right to Buy

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.

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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Finding a Solicitor

At Compare My Move, we have a network of conveyancing partners who are ready to assist you with your Right-to-Buy purchase. All our partners are verified and regulated by an approved regulatory body.

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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