Buying a house is no doubt one of the best investments and when it is a council house, the buyer can expect to have to pay a discounted rate for the property as compared to that of the market price. Depending on the type of tenancy, it may take any time between a few months to a few years to be able to purchase council housing property.
Can My Son Buy My Council House For Me?
Yes, your son can buy your council house for you. If he lives with you, both of you can file a joint application and apply for co-ownership. However, if your son will not be sharing the council house with you, one of his options is to purchase the council house under the Right to Buy scheme. Through this, council houses can be purchased by local council tenants 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
Family members who have not lived with you for at least the past 12 months cannot apply to purchase a council house for you under the Right To Buy scheme.
While family members can fund the purchase of a council house, the legal ownership of the property will be in the name of the resident.
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.
In case, you are a housing association tenant, you can apply for the purchase of your council house by filling the Right to Acquire Application Form To be eligible, your 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 apply under the Right To Buy or Preserved Right To Buy schemes.
Voluntary Right To Buy allows you to purchase a council house that you may not have lived in.
It is better to seek professional advice before making a decision so that individual circumstances are considered before the right method of purchase is applied. To Find out if you’re eligible for Right to Buy – Own Your Home contact your local council.
For a detailed understanding of the topic, we will explore the following areas:
- What Is The Right To Buy Scheme?
- How Can I Apply For Right To Buy?
- Can I Get A Discount On Purchasing A Council House?
- Can Council Houses Be Passed Down?
- What Are The Different Types Of Tenancies For Council Housing?
What Is The Right To Buy Scheme?
The Right To Buy scheme was originally introduced in the UK around 40 years ago with the aim to provide discounts to council housing tenants who wish to purchase the property that they have lived in for a certain number of years. Although the scheme is now abolished in Wales and Scotland, council housing tenants in Northern Ireland and England continue to benefit from it as long as they can prove the following to confirm eligibility:
- they are currently living in the council home and it is their main residence
- none of the rooms is being shared with anyone else other than household members
- the applicant is under a secure tenancy agreement with their council housing landlord
- the applicant has been a council housing tenant for a minimum of three years
- there are no pending debt disputes against the applicant
Joint tenants are also required to fulfil the above criteria if they wish to apply for council house purchase under this scheme. In fact, applicants can apply with up to three family members who have lived with them for up to 12 months.
How Can I Apply For Right To Buy?
Under the Right To Buy (RTB) scheme you will be required to follow the below steps in order to purchase your council house:
- Fill an online RTB application form by providing the desired information.
- Save a copy of the online form, print it and send it to your landlord.
- Wait for your landlord’s response. (This may take anywhere between 4 to 8 weeks).
Your landlord may either choose to refuse by stating their reasons; which you can choose to appeal to should you not agree with the decision.
In case of their agreement to sell, the landlord’s response will include their offer as well as the following:
- their asking price for the property
- the amount of discount that they are willing to offer
- a detailed description of the property along with any land that is part of it
- details of any structural problems with the property or any service charges due
Can I Get A Discount On Purchasing A Council House?
Yes, if you are eligible for the Right To Buy scheme you will get a discount on purchasing a council house to a maximum limit of £84,000 across England (except for certain boroughs in London where it is £112,800). The amount keeps increasing with the rise in the rate of inflation every year.
The discount that you may avail on purchasing a council house is primarily is based on the following factors:
- The number of years that you’ve been a council housing tenant
- Whether you intend to purchase a flat or a house
- The monetary value of the property you intend to purchase
In the case of purchasing a council house, you may be able to get a 35 per cent discount; while in the case of a flat, it will be 50 per cent if you’ve lived in a council housing facility for between three to five years.
However, if you have applied under the Right To Aquire 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.
The Right to Buy calculator can help you learn more about the discounts you are eligible for.
Can Council Houses Be Passed Down?
Yes, council houses can be passed down but this can only be applied once per the tenancy agreement. For instance, if the tenancy has passed down from one person to another, the successor will not be able to pass it down again. The only exception to this rule may be the permission for “second succession” or “discretionary succession” granted by local council authorities in their council tenancy agreement with renters.
In addition to this, the type of tenancy also plays an important role in deciding on the succession of a renter. Let’s analyse the different situations that apply in the case of succession of tenancy:
- The succession of a council house in case of joint tenancy: A joint succession agreement includes two (or more) tenants as the renters who share the responsibility of maintaining responsibilities towards the property. In this case, if one tenant dies, the tenancy is automatically passed on to the surviving tenant. However, it is essential for the successor to maintain the council property as their main residence.
- The succession of a council house in case of sole tenancy: In most cases, council house tenancy can be passed down to the surviving partner/spouse/civil or unmarried partner of a deceased tenant through “succession rights”. However, it is essential for the partner to be living in the council house at the time of the demise of their partner in whose name the tenancy agreement is. In some cases, it may also be passed down to close family members if the deceased is your parent or grandparent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister, child, grandchild, niece or nephew.
As a general rule, in the case of succession rights, the rights of surviving partners override those of close family members.
What Are The Different Types Of Tenancies For Council Housing?
A tenancy agreement serves as a legal agreement bound by terms and conditions that the undersigning parties agree to while a living space is rented out. Tenancy agreements for council housing may be classified as below:
- Introductory Tenancy: This is considered to be a 12 month trial period for tenants during which their rights to exchange property or make modifications to it are limited.
- Secure Tenancy: This form of tenancy secures your occupancy in the council house for life; unless you break any tenancy rules stated in the agreement. In this case, you may sub-let rooms in the property but not the entire premises.
- Flexible Tenancy: This type of tenancy is usually for a fixed term of 2 to 5 years; at the end of which the council may decide to offer you a renewed contract on similar terms, offer a secure tenancy or not renew at any terms at all.
- Joint Tenancy: Under this contract, you and the joint tenant both become liable for rent payments and become eligible for all the privileges under secure tenancy jointly.
Buying a council may be one of the most practical decisions for a council housing tenant who does not expect a change in their circumstances to be able to move into private property. While there is no restriction on the means for funding the purchase of a council house, the applicable scheme might change the course of action for potential buyers as it depends on whether they have lived with the tenant or not. However, with the advice of one’s local council authorities and a financial advisor, the right option may be chosen while saving time.
FAQs: Can My Son Buy My Council House For Me?
Can a family member help me buy my council house?
Yes, a family member can help you buy your council house by providing the necessary funds. However, legal ownership of the property remains in the name of the eligible tenants.
Can my son inherit my council house?
Yes, your son can inherit your council house especially if you are a Secure Tenant and there has been no previous succession to the property.
Do you need a solicitor for Right to Buy?
Yes, you will need a solicitor to manage the legal requirements and paperwork required under the Right To Buy scheme to purchase a council house.
Can I be refused Right to Buy?
Yes, you may be refused the Right To Buy when you make an offer to your landlord. However, the landlord needs to give a reason for their refusal to sell the property to you. If an applicant does not agree with a refusal to their intent of buying a council house, they can file an appeal with the council authorties.
Can I add my son to my council tenancy UK?
Yes, you can add your son (or any other family member) to your council tenancy once you’ve taken permission from your landlord.