Housing associations are non-profit landlords providing low-cost social housing options to nearly six million individuals. They are responsible for building nearly 25 per cent of new council homes in England. 

The rights of housing association tenants may vary depending upon the nature and scope of their tenancies as well as the number of years that they have spent as a housing association tenant. 

In addition to providing affordable housing, these associations also run a number of important services such as hostels for the homeless, refuge centres for victims of domestic abuse, community centres, vocational training and apprenticeship programs.

Can A Housing Association Tenant Buy A Property To Rent Out?

Yes, a housing association tenant can buy a property to rent it out; however, if you intend to sell it before the end of a five-year term post-purchase, you may have to repay the discount you gained during the purchase through the Right to Acquire scheme.

As an assured tenant, you can purchase your housing association property under the Right to Acquire scheme by filling the  Right to Acquire Application Form. To be eligible, you must spend at least three years as a council house tenant and fulfil all the eligibility criteria that apply to local council tenants. However, you should not have previously applied under the Right To Buy or Preserved Right To Buy schemes.

If you have applied under the Right To Acquire scheme, you will be able to get a discount of around £9,000 to £16,000 on the price of your property; depending upon where you live in the UK. This discount may reduce if you have previously applied for under a Right To Buy or Right To Acquire scheme. 

However, if any of the conditions take place, you may lose your eligibility from the Right to Acquire scheme to purchase housing association property:

  • you are facing bankruptcy 
  • you’ve received a court order for eviction 
  • being a council tenant, you can avail of the Right to Buy Scheme 
  • you have the option of using the Preserved Right to Buy Scheme

For a detailed overview of the topic, we aim to discuss the following areas in this article:

  • What Is The Right To Acquire Scheme?
  • What Are The Types Of Tenancies Under The Housing Association?
  • How Can Council Houses Be Bought?
  • How Long After Buying A Council House Can You Rent It Out?
  • Can I Buy My Council House For Cash?
  • Can I Buy My Council House With My Inheritance?

What Is The Right To Acquire Scheme?

The Right to Acquire scheme allows housing association tenants with an Assured Tenancy contract to purchase their housing association property on discounted terms. Although the size of the discount may not be the same as Secured Tenants avail while purchasing a council property; however, it is significant enough for those looking to purchase property at lower rates than the market prices. 

Other conditions include the following:

What Are The Types Of Tenancies Under The Housing Association?

Housing association tenancies include the following:

  • Starter Tenancy: This is generally known as the trial period tenancy which is offered to new housing tenants as the period of tenancy is usually 12 months. Upon completion of the trial period, they are offered an assured or fixed-term tenancy agreement.
  • Assured Tenancy: On successful completion of your Starter Tenancy you may be offered an Assured Tenancy contract with the housing association landlord. In this case, you can continue living in the property that you are currently in, for as long as you wish to.
  • Fixed Term Tenancy: This is a tenancy under a fixed term of usually 5 years. The term of the tenancy is subject to renewal at the discretion of the housing association landlord.

Both Assured and Fixed Term tenancies allow tenants to purchase the property that they are living in, have home repairs done on the premises, as well as swap their house with another council housing tenant under mutual exchange.

How Can Council Houses Be Bought?

Council houses can be bought under the Right to Buy by local council tenants scheme but there are certain basic conditions to be met. These include the following:

  • The council house is the applicant’s main home
  • The property is self-contained
  • The applicant is a secure tenant
  • The applicant has had a public sector landlord for at least five years

There is also an option of buying your council house under a joint application. In this case, it is essential for the applicant to either file their council house application with someone as their joint owner and be willing to share their responsibilities as a house owner or have up to three family members (who have lived with them for at least 12 months) willing to share ownership rights.

Under “Preserved Right To Buy” you can purchase a council house that you lived in but the council sold it to a housing association landlord.

If you are a housing association tenant, you can apply for the purchase of your council house by filling the  Right to Acquire Application Form. Alternatively, Voluntary Right To Buy allows you to purchase a council house that you may not have lived in.

How Long After Buying A Council House Can You Rent It Out?

You can rent out your council house immediately after buying the property as there is no legal restriction on renting the place out once the process of transfer of ownership and other legal documentation is complete. In fact, according to some estimates, nearly 40 per cent of council property is rented out after it has been bought by tenants. 

Your local council may charge a one-time subletting fee which can be discussed with their legal team once you’ve made your decision to rent out the property and informed the council authorities.

Can I Buy My Council House For Cash?

Yes, you can buy your council house for cash. In fact, it is the buyer’s choice to decide whether they choose to purchase their council house with cash or through a mortgage.

Buying your council house does not only include payment for the property itself but a host of other expenses that are organically part and parcel of the purchasing process. These may include payments or repayments for mortgage or interest, council tax bills, water charges, insurance for contents and building and general repair and maintenance expenses. Before making a purchase, it would be helpful to seek the guidance of a Financial Advisor who may help you reduce your expenses or at least manage them efficiently as you embark on your decision to purchase the property. 

Can I Buy My Council House With My Inheritance?

Yes, you can buy your council house with your inheritance. There are different options to make the purchase that you can choose from; based upon your finances as well as current tenancy circumstances. 

According to The comprehensive guide to inheritance when someone inherits a sizeable sum of money they must consider the immediate expenses to be borne as a result of the inheritance. These include the deceased’s debts, funeral costs, mortgage payments and the likes of these. If the inheritance is in the form of a property or estate, heirs will need to assess their value to ascertain whether they are liable to inheritance tax or not. The tax-free band for 2021/22 stands at £ 325,000. This means that if your inheritance is worth less than this amount, you are not liable for inheritance tax.  

Conclusion:

Purchasing a council house whether through local councils or through housing association landlords is generally an option used to save on the additional expense of buying a house that comes with private property. However, one must bear in mind that it is not only the cost of the property itself that they must consider while making a purchase. 

There are a number of om-spot expenses that are part of the package. These include (but may not be limited to) deposits, conveyancing fees, survey costs, valuation fees, insurance costs and removal costs. Long term costs may include the cost of furnishing the house as well as regular maintenance and repair work. It is, therefore, advisable to seek the guidance of a financial advisor to map out one’s income and expenses in the long run so as to be able to manage the expense of owning a property.

FAQs: Can A Housing Association Tenant Buy A Property To Rent Out?

Can a housing association tenant buy another property?

No, a housing association tenant cannot be in sole or joint ownership of private property. If you do have a property to your name, you must be in the process of selling it if you want to remain eligible for being a housing association tenant.

Does a tenant have a right to buy?

Yes, a council housing tenant has the right to buy the property that they have lived in for a minimum of five years. If you are a council housing tenant, you may avail of the Right To Buy Scheme to purchase your council property. In the case of housing association tenants, the option of the Right to Acquire Scheme may be used to avail discounts while purchasing council property owned by social housing landlords.

Can you sublet a housing association property?

No, you cannot sublet a housing association property that you may be a tenant of; especially if you are under an Introductory Tenancy agreement. However, as an Assured Tenant, you may be able to sublet your housing association house if your tenancy agreement grants you permission to do so. 

Does a tenant living somewhere for more than 20 years have a right to ownership?

No, there is no such guarantee that someone living in a property for a certain number of years would become the owner. If there is a tenancy agreement in place, the occupant will remain a tenant unless they have formally purchased the property by making due payment and legal documentation has taken place between the buyer and the seller.

Can I transfer my housing association tenancy to my son?

Housing association tenancy may only be transferred through succession once and also depends on the type of tenancy agreement the tenant currently has with their landlord. However, depending on the terms of agreement and the permission of one’s landlord, a transfer to one’s children may be possible,

References:

Can I Rent Out My Right To Buy Home? | Huuti

Thinking of buying your council flat? – GOV.UK

EIGHT reasons every council tenant should buy their home | Daily Mail Online

Right to Acquire: buying your housing association home – GOV.UK

Right to Buy: buying your council home – GOV.UK

Buying Council Flat: Right To Buy – HomeOwners Alliance

Find out if you’re eligible for Right to Buy – Own Your Home

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