Right to Buy your Home. Many Halton Housing Trust customers are entitled to buy their home and are eligible for a discount on the purchase price.

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1 Right to Buy your Home Many Halton Housing Trust customers are entitled to buy their home and are eligible for a discount on the purchase price.

2 We have put together this leaflet to explain the options available to you and other costs to carefully consider before buying your home. If you were a secure tenant with Halton Borough Council before homes were transferred to the Trust, you are likely to be entitled to the Preserved Right to Buy. As a transferring tenant you may also be entitled to buy your home under the Right to Acquire but the discount is less generous. Preserved Right to Buy Who has the Preserved Right to Buy? Trust customers who: were previously secure customers with Halton Borough Council and became an assured tenant when ownership of your home transferred have spent a minimum of two years in social housing or armed forces accommodation (this increases to five years if your tenancy commenced on or after 18th January 2005) occupy your home as your only or principal home were living in your home at the date upon which it was transferred to us are the joint tenant of a tenancy with a person who satisfies all of the above were assigned the tenancy by a member of your family before the assignment satisfied all of the above became a tenant of your home following divorce proceedings from a person satisfying all of the above is the former spouse or co-habitee of a deceased tenant who acquired the Preserved Right to Buy through succession. If you have any questions, please contact the Trust s Commercial Services Team on or or by If you signed a tenancy after the transfer, you are likely to be entitled to the Right to Acquire. Please note a family member can join in the Preserved Right to Buy if they can prove they have resided in your home for at least 12 months before you apply.

3 Who is excluded from the Preserved Right to Buy? You are excluded if: You are not a Trust customer You have not spent a minimum of two years in social housing or armed forces accommodation (or five years where your tenancy commenced on or after 18th January 2005) You do not occupy the property as your main or principal home Your home is let to you in connection with your employment Your home is designated for older or disabled people We have served you with a notice that we intend to demolish your home within two years A court order has been issued asking you to leave your home or the terms of a suspended court order are breached You are about to be declared bankrupt or have an arrangement in place with your creditors You are the subject of an Anti-Social Behaviour Order and your tenancy is temporarily demoted to an assured shorthold tenancy (you have the Right to Acquire ( RTA ) at the end of the demotion period). You cannot regain your Preserved Right to Buy How do I apply for the Preserved Right to Buy? You will need to complete an application form, which is available from the Trust on request. We will then write to you within eight weeks of receipt of your application to let you know if you qualify. If you do qualify, a valuer will contact you and arrange to visit your home to carry out an open market valuation. Within eight weeks (if you live in a house) or 12 weeks (if you live in a flat) we will send you a written offer. If you wish to proceed you must contact us no later than 12 weeks from the date on the offer letter. What price will I pay for my home? The valuer will work out the open market value of your home. If you qualify for the Preserved Right to Buy you are entitled to a discount on the open market value. The price you will pay for your home is the open market value of your home minus the discount.

4 Discount entitlement Houses Flats After five years 35% 50% For each additional year thereafter add 1% 2% To a maximum of 60% 70% Maximum discounts are determined by the Secretary of State. We will advise you on the maximum discount available. If your home is a flat (or a house that benefits from communal facilities) you will also pay service charges. If you are not happy with the open market valuation you can ask us to instruct the District Valuer to undertake a final valuation. This must take place no later than three months after the date of your offer. The District Valuer s valuation is final and will be the value used to calculate the purchase price even if it is higher than the first valuation. We will let you know the final valuation. Other charges You may also be required to contribute to substantial major works and improvement costs (lift repairs, roofing repairs etc) that will add to the value of your home. Your offer will contain details of service charges. Timescales The Right to Buy and Right to Acquire procedures are governed by legislation which includes prescribed timescales for the different stages of the process. If you want more details on this please contact the Trust s Commercial Services Team on or or by Unpaid rent and other money owed to the Trust If you are in rent arrears of up to four or more weeks we are not obliged to complete the sale for you. Any outstanding sums must be paid before you are able to buy your home. Who has the Right to Acquire? You may be eligible for the Right to Acquire if you are an assured tenant with the Trust, and: have occupied the property as your only or principle home for at least five years. (You may include periods of occupation with public sector landlords towards the five year period) you occupy the property as your only or principal home your home is a self-contained property your home was built or purchased by an RSL funded on or after 1st April 1997, through a social housing grant provided by the Housing Corporation or a local authority. It may also apply if your house was transferred from a local council to an RSL on or after 1st April 1997 or certain other public funding (we will confirm in respect of your home on request). Please note a family member can join in the Right to Acquire if they can prove they have resided in your home for at least 12 months before you apply.

5 Who is excluded from the Right to Acquire? You are excluded if: You are not a Trust customer You have not spent five years where this period of tenancy commenced on or after 18th January 2005 Your tenancy is a lease for more than 21 years Your property is in a rural area designated by order of the Secretary of State You do not occupy the property as your main or principal home Your home is let to you in connection with your employment Your home is designated for older or disabled people We have served you with a notice that we intend to demolish your home within two years (note we may serve you with a notice that we intend to demolish your home within five years in which case you may make an application to exercise the RTA, but we are not obliged to complete it) A court order is issued asking you to leave your home or the terms of a suspended court order are breached You are about to be declared bankrupt or have an arrangement in place with your creditors You are the subject of an Anti-Social Behaviour Order and your tenancy is temporarily demoted to an assured shorthold tenancy (you have the Right to Acquire ( RTA ) at the end of the demotion period) What price will I pay for my home? The valuer will work out the open market value of your home. If you qualify for the Right to Acquire you are entitled to a discount on the open market value. The price you will pay for your home is the open market value of your home minus the discount. How is my discount entitlement worked out? The amount of discount you receive is set by the Government and currently ranges from 9,000 to 16,000, depending on where you live. For the North West it is currently fixed at 9,000. However, the fixed discount can never exceed 50% of the open market value of your home. We will tell you the fixed discount applicable to your home. If you are not happy with the open market valuation you can ask us to instruct the District Valuer to undertake a final valuation. This must be done no later than three months from the date of your offer. The District Valuer s valuation is final and will be the value used to calculate the purchase price even if it is higher than the first valuation. We will let you know the final valuation. How do I apply for the Right to Acquire? You will have to complete an application form which is available on request. If we are your landlord during the qualifying period, we will write to you within four weeks of receiving your application to let you know if you qualify (or eight weeks if you were the tenant of another landlord during the qualifying period). If you qualify, a valuer will contact you and arrange to visit your home to carry out an open market valuation. Within eight weeks (if you live in a house) or 12 weeks (if you live in a flat) we will send you a written offer. If you wish to proceed you must advise us no later than 12 weeks from the date on the offer letter. Any previous discounts that you have received under the Right to Acquire, Right to Buy or Preserved Right to Buy schemes also affect the amount of discount you are entitled. If your home is a flat (or in some cases a house that benefits from communal facilities) you will also pay service charges. You may also need to contribute to substantial major works and improvement costs (lift repairs, roofing repairs etc) that will add to the value of your home. Your offer will contain details of service charges.

6 Where do I find out more? Further information on the Right to Acquire and the costs and legal implications of buying your own home is available from The Communities and Local Government booklet Thinking of Buying a Council Flat? Available at or the Trust s Commercial Services Department on or or Other costs connected with buying your home As well as the initial purchase price there are other costs you need to consider when buying your home. Unless you are buying your home with cash, you will need a mortgage, which will have to be repaid with interest. There are many different mortgage packages available and you should think carefully about which would be the right one for you. For advice on mortgages you can visit any bank, building society or financial advisor. In addition there are a number of regular costs home owners pay, for example Council tax Insurances (buildings, contents, life etc) Repair and maintenance costs Water rates Utility bills (gas, electricity, water, telephone etc) * Please note whilst an application for a Right to Buy/Acquire is being processed only emergency repairs will be carried out. It is important that you take out a mortgage that you are able to afford. If you cannot keep up the repayments on your mortgage your lender may go to court and apply to repossess your home. The Trust is not obliged to offer you another tenancy if you lose your home in this way. You will also need a solicitor and surveyor. All these fees will have to be paid by you. You will also have to pay the Land Registration fees and stamp duty, if applicable.

7 If you need help to understand this document please contact the Trust on Halton Housing Trust Daresbury Point Green Wood Drive Manor Park Runcorn Cheshire WA7 1UG Telephone Website Company registration number: Registered charity number: Tenant Services Authority Registration: L4456 For more information, please call

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