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1 Buying your council house your council house ing your council house ncil house Buying your council house il house Buying your council house Buying uncil house Buying your council house Buying council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Right to buy Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Right to buy Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Right to buy Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Right to buy Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Right to buy Buying your council your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buying your council house Buy

2 2 What the law says Your Right to Buy The Right to Buy is contained in the 1987, 2001 and 2010 Housing (Scotland) Acts. These Acts set out councils duties to process applications from their (Scottish) Secure Tenants to buy their council houses at a discount. How we will help you If you are an East Lothian Council (ELC) tenant who is thinking about buying the house you rent from us, we will: provide you with good information and advice process your application on time.

3 3 Who cannot buy their house Housing (Scotland) Act 2010 If you became an ELC tenant for the first time, or returned after a break, and you took up your tenancy on or after the 1st March 2011 If you are in this category, you no longer have the right to buy any ELC house. If you became the tenant of a new build or new supply house on or after the 1st March 2011 No tenant can buy a new build or new supply house after the 1st March New build / new supply housing means a property that has been built, bought or acquired by the Council since the 25th June 2008 (i.e. new build, mortgage to rent) Pressured Area Status The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 allows Scottish Ministers to identify any part of a council area as a pressured area for up to five years at a time, where the demand for social housing is bigger than supply and it can be shown that this situation will be made worse by tenants exercising their right to buy. The purpose of pressured area status is to protect the amount of affordable rented housing in a council area and to make sure that there are enough houses for people who need them.

4 4 This means that all tenants who have the modernised right to buy will have their right to buy entitlement suspended for five years, if they live in an area with pressured area status. Any tenant who has started a new tenancy in the area will be covered by pressured area status designation. This includes tenants, who on or after the 30th September 2002: Transfer from another house owned by the Council or another social landlord; Mutually exchange their home; Succeed to their tenancy (if they are a level two or three successor, i.e. they are a family member of a tenant who has died, and they are at least 16 or a carer) Further information on Pressured Area Status areas and the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010 is available on the Housing pages of our website under Right to Buy. Alternatively, if you would like to discuss what this means for you please leave a message on our freephone number and someone will call you back.

5 5 How to apply to purchase your council house We have put together an application pack, which contains: an application form The Scottish Government s Your Right to Buy Your Home leaflet Scottish Government guidance called Thinking about Buying: a guide to house purchase in Scotland. You can: phone and ask us to send an application pack out to you pick up a pack at any of our local area housing offices pick up a pack at our main reception at John Muir House, Haddington. See the back of this leaflet for addresses and phone numbers. If you would like help filling the application in, our housing or reception staff will be happy to help you. Discounts If you were a tenant with East Lothian Council on or after 30 September 2002 If you haven t moved home or changed your tenancy on or after 30 September 2002, and you have a two-year continuous period of occupation of a house or a number of houses with a relevant landlord, then you will be entitled to a discount. The maximum discount for a house is 60 per cent of its value. The maximum discount for a flat is 70 per cent of its value.

6 6 Ask your local area housing office about how much discount you may be entitled to. Relevant landlords include local authorities, housing associations and armed forces. There are many relevant landlords check with your local area housing office to find out more. If you became an ELC tenant on or after 30 September 2002, or have transferred or exchanged your home since that date, your Right to Buy has been altered by the Housing (Scotland) 2001 Act, and you have what is known as a Modernised Right to Buy. Modernised Right to Buy - what it means for you If you have a Modernised Right to Buy, then you must have a continuous period of occupation of a house or a number of houses with a relevant landlord for five years before you can buy your home. You will also get a lower level of discount that goes up to a maximum of: 35 per cent of the value of your home, or 15,000. Which option we offer you depends on which works out less expensive. The law says we have to offer you the less expensive option.

7 7 Can we refuse to sell you your home? Yes, we can, for example, if you: have rent arrears have council tax arrears have water and sewerage charges arrears have arrears for other services relating to your tenancy are being evicted because of your conduct. Please note, we can refuse to sell you your home for debts relating to your current tenancy or a previous one. Also, we will not be able to sell you your home if: it is part of a group housing scheme for people with special needs and/or housing support services are provided your house has special features for older people and the government has given the Council consent not to sell it to you your house is scheduled for demolition and the government has given the Council consent not to sell the house to you. Buying your home Your application Fill out your application form and send it to us. Our Legal Team will write to you to let you know they have received it. Then the Council s Housing Section will look at your tenancy details, for example, what repairs and improvements the Council has made to your home.

8 8 Cost-Floor Rule If your home was built or significantly improved within the last 10 years, it may affect the amount of discount we can offer you. The Cost-Floor Rule says that the purchase price we set for your home mustn t drop below a certain level (the cost floor ). The Cost-Floor Rule applies if we have spent more than 5,000 on improvements and/or over 5,500 on repairs for your home within the last 10 years, or if your home was built in the last 10 years. House visits Once we have received your application, a number of people may have to visit your home to help us work out what price to set for your home, for example: the District Valuer, whom we will ask to make an independent valuation of your home the Land Surveyor, who may visit to measure your garden ground a Housing Officer, to check on any significant repairs or improvements in connection with the Cost-Floor rule. Please ask to see identification when they call. Offer to sell Our Legal Team will issue you with an offer to sell within two months of getting your application. The offer will set out: what the market value of your home is any discount you may be offered what the selling price to you will be (proposed) date of entry.

9 9 Appealing against the terms of an offer to sell or refusal to sell If you are not satisfied with the terms of the offer to sell, or you do not agree with our refusal to sell you your home, you can refer the matter to: The Lands Tribunal for Scotland 1 Grosvenor Crescent Edinburgh EH12 5ER Tel: ; Fax: website: What to do when we have made you an offer to sell Once the offer has been made, you have two months to think it over. You don t have to accept the offer if you don t want to. If you want to accept the offer, you have to do so within this two-month period. If we don t hear from you within two months, we will withdraw the offer. Accepting an offer to sell We recommend that you contact a solicitor before making a decision about accepting the offer to sell. A solicitor will give you advice about your legal position, and can accept the offer to sell on your behalf. If you wish to accept the offer, you or your solicitor will have to send us a notice of acceptance. The sooner we get the notice of acceptance, the sooner we can complete the sale of the house to you. Our Legal

10 10 Team will conclude missives when you have accepted the offer, check any problems to do with the deeds, and complete the legal documents. They will deal directly with your solicitor, if you have one. This Council's preference is for a formal acceptance of the offer to sell to come from your solicitor. If you sell your house within three years of accepting our offer to sell, you will have to repay some discount. Ask your housing office for details. Things to remember You must make sure that you have enough money available to buy your home when you send us your notice of acceptance. This may mean that you have to arrange a mortgage or access your savings. Ask your solicitor or bank for advice. Or speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau. If you take out a mortgage to buy your home, you must keep up your mortgage payments or you may lose your home. Charges We will not charge you for processing your sale. If you appoint a solicitor, you will have to pay their fees. It s a good idea to find out how much a solicitor will charge before you appoint one. What happens next? Paying rent You will have to pay rent until the settlement date, which is the day we receive the money for the sale and you become the legal owner of your home.

11 11 Repairs We will continue to carry out repairs for which we are liable while your application is being processed. But, we will remove your home from any improvement programmes. We will also remove you from the Garden Aid Scheme. We will put you back on the list for improvement programmes and Garden Aid if you withdraw your application. Your responsibilities as a home-owner Once you buy your house and become a home-owner, you will have new responsibilities, including: maintaining your home (for example, painting and decorating) repairing your home (for example, roof repairs, damp-proofing) arranging for buildings and contents insurance. You may also have a responsibility for communal repairs and maintenance. This is where there are common parts, such as the roof, stairs, garden area and external walls, which are usually the joint responsibility of all owners. The rules about owners responsibilities for the upkeep and maintenance of common elements should be set out in the property s title deeds. If you don t have a copy of your title deeds, you may need to ask your Solicitor to check these for you. The Scottish Government have produced an information leaflet We are all responsible: an owner s guide to the management and maintenance of common property. This should give you a better understanding of your shared repair and maintenance responsibilities.

12 Making a difference together 12 For more information on buying your council house, please contact your Local Housing Office on , or at the following locations: Dunbar Local Area Housing Office 48 High Street, Dunbar EH42 1JH East Lothian Council John Muir House, Haddington EH41 3HA Haddington Local Area Housing Office John Muir House, Haddington EH41 3HA Musselburgh Local Area Housing Office Brunton Hall, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AF North Berwick Local Area Housing Office 2 Quality Street, North Berwick EH39 4HW Prestonpans Local Area Housing Office Aldhammer House, High Street, Prestonpans EH32 9SH Tranent Local Area Housing Office Sanderson's Wynd, Tranent, East Lothian, EH33 1DA Versions of this leaflet can be supplied in Braille, large print, audiotape or in your own language. Please phone the Public Information Officer on CS M

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