How Do I Find Out If A Property Is Council Owned?
This blog post aims to guide its readers in being able to answer the question of how can one find out if a property is owned by the council authorities. To answer this in detail, we will first explore all possible sources of information that can help get ownership details of a property. Then, we will discuss what other information can be sought regarding properties in the UK and if you are someone interested in council property to make a purchase, we will review the purchase process in the end.
How Do I Find Out If A Property Is Council Owned?
If you want to find out if a property is council owned, you can use any of these suggested options:
- check with your local council office especially if you are applying for council housing tenancy
- ask a local real estate agent to guide you
- contact the Land Registry office to get ownership details of a property (or multiple properties) by providing an address
If you are seeking feedback through your local council office, you will need to provide details and reasons for why you are looking for a council-owned property. They may or may not choose to share details with you. If you are looking to purchase council property, you may have to prove eligibility for making a purchase.
In the case of a real estate agent, you may be able to get some help identifying a council-owned property; however, if you intend to apply for council housing tenancy or to buy a council-owned property, you will have to contact the local council office in the area.
In the case of contacting the Land Registry office, you will need to provide the address of the property of which you are seeking ownership details so that they can share the relevant information with you.
If you don’t have the complete or correct address of the property, you will be required to at least indicate a location on a digital map so that the desired ownership details can be provided to you. You can search for land and property information in England or Wales simply by accessing their website.
While a property summary can be obtained free of cost. If you are looking to get a copy of the Title Register or Title Plan of the property, you will be required to have a credit card or debit card handy to pay the £3 fee for an online copy of the documents. A printed copy will cost you £7 each and will take around a week to arrive.
How Do I Get Other Information About A Council Property?
Whether it is a council or private property, if you are looking for details regarding a certain property, you will find them on the website of the Land Registry.
For instance, you can get a Property Summary which includes the following information:
- complete postal address of the property
- description of the property
- the type of ownership currently held by the property
- details of any applicable ‘restrictive covenants’ or ‘easements’
Alternatively, you can apply for a Title Register. This will provide you with the following additional details as well:
- title number and ownership details of the property
- the amount for which the property was last sold for
- details of any mortgage on the property
You can also search the index map on the Land Registry’s website to get detailed information about a property. You can download and fill out the application for an official search and submit it at the following address:
HM Land Registry
PO Box 74
It usually takes a week for the required information to arrive by post. There will be a nominal fee of around £4 for the search and provision of documents.
If you are seeking information regarding the ownership of council property with an intent to purchase such property, you may first need to check whether or not you qualify to meet the eligibility criteria as well as confirm if the council property is up for sale or not.
How Do I Purchase Council Owned Property?
One of the most common ways to purchase council-owned property in England is under the Right To Buy Scheme that applies to both current council housing tenants and those who may not live there anymore. Under this, council houses can be purchased by local council tenants by fulfiling the following conditions:
- 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
Then, 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.
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 out the Right to Acquire Application Form. 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.
Meanwhile, council housing tenants can no longer buy their council houses in Scotland as per the legislation passed by the Scottish Government in 2016. On the other hand, the government of Northern Ireland has announced that as per The Housing (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2020, council housing tenants will no longer be able to purchase their council homes from August 2022 onwards.
This article explains in detail how information regarding the ownership of council property (or even private property for that matter) can be attained if someone is keen to know which properties are owned by the council authorities in their area. While basic information can be obtained for free, there is usually a nominal fee that one would need to pay to the HM Land Registry for their services as well as for printed copies of the ownership documents; if requested.