Council housing witnessed a boom during the 1930s. Through this blog post, we will learn more about the design and structure of a 1930s council house and modifications to its design. We will also explore how to be sure whether your home is an ex-council property if you can mortgage an ex-council house and the process of buying a council house.

What Is The 1930s Council House Design?

Council houses that were built in the 1930s were primarily based on the NeoGeorgian style of design of 1914; with the use of red bricks in the construction and Georgina styled doorcases. A typical council house built in this era was rectangular in shape with the rear extension abandoned in the same way as Victorian houses to provide light. While houses were divided into parlour and non-parlour types, all of them had a scullery, bath and indoor toilet.

This was also a time when non-traditional materials such as metal frames, cast iron or concrete were used in building council houses; mainly due to their cost effectiveness during post-war times. However, over a period of time, this led to poor insulation and condensation in the structures.

Council houses that were built during the 1930s were smaller than those built a decade earlier from them. A three-bedroom house occupied 620 square feet of space as compared to over 1000 square feet in 1919. Yet, most council houses were built with large gardens cheap farmlands became available. However, this was the first time that three-bedroom council houses were being constructed as compared to the previous two-bedroom structures.

Additionally, the kitchen layout was also considered to be quite modern in 1930s council homes when provision for cooking and washing in the same space was made. The new kitchens had a gas or electric cooker; as well as a freestanding hot water boiler.

By 1939, nearly 14 per cent of the UK’s population was living in council accommodation.

How Do I Know If My House Is An Ex-Council House?

Whether you are seeking information regarding a property that you have already purchased or intend to purchase, there are mainly two ways for you to find out if your house is an ex-council house:

  • you can either ask the estate agent through whom you purchased or are looking to purchase a property, or
  • you can check the details of the previous possession of the property by purchasing a copy of the title deed from Land Registry for a nominal fee.

If you have the exact address of the property you can visit the information section of the Land Registry website, enter the postal address and get details about the property’s previous ownership as well as the extension of its general boundaries. The service can give information regarding the current owner of the property free of cost; however, to download the title register of a property you will need to pay a fee of £3 for each copy of a title register or a title plan. For this purpose, you will need an email address, debit or credit card.

Can I Get Mortgage On A Concrete Ex Council House?

Yes, you can get a mortgage on an ex-council house made of concrete. However, it will be hard to find a mortgage lender as they usually consider ex-council property and structures made of concrete to be difficult to resell. 

Since concrete is not commonly used in home building, there are fewer people who will be interested in purchasing a house that is made of this material This is the reason why it is difficult to convince a mortgage lender when you intend to buy an ex-council house made of concrete. 

Chances are that when you do find a mortgage lender for a concrete based ex-council house, you may have to pay a higher mortgage deposit. Since there will be fewer mortgage lenders willing to extend finances, you may find their mortgage rates less competitive.

How Can I Buy My Council House?

One of the most common ways to purchase council property is the Right To Buy Scheme. 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


However, the Right To Buy Scheme only allows council tenants to purchase the property that they are living in and not any other council house that they may be interested in. In some cases, council housing tenants are eligible for the Cash Incentive Scheme or easy Home Purchase Scheme; but to avail of any of these, they will be required to forfeit their council accommodation and purchase a house in the open market. Their purchase will be supported by local council authorities.

In addition to the Right To Buy Scheme, 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 out 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.

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.

Conclusion:

Council houses in the 1930s might have been less spacious than the ones built a decade earlier; however, this was the time when indoor toilets and baths in the bathroom as well as washing and cooking within the kitchen were introduced. Some of them were also built with non-tradtional materials like concrete. If you try to purchase a concrete based ex-council house in today’s time, you might find it difficult to find a mortgage lender due to the high risk of its resale value.

FAQs: What Is The 1930s Council House Design?

What type of houses were built in the 1930s?

Houses were built in semi-detached pairs in the 1930s. They were mostly owned rather than rented by residents. Typical houses at the time had a front room adjacent to the hall, a second living room, a front garden and a kitchen. This was the time when indoor toilets and baths in the bathroom as well as washing and cooking within the kitchen were introduced. Some of them were also built with non-tradtional materials like concrete.

Are 1930s houses well built?

Yes, houses in the 1930s were well built with sturdy structures. Although brick and mortar were commonly used in building them, this was also a time when non-traditional materials such as metal frames, cast iron or concrete were used; mainly due to their cost effectiveness during post-war times. However, this led to poor insulation and condensation in the structures.

What were the conditions of the council houses like?

Council houses that were built in the 1930s were primarily based on the NeoGeorgian style of design of 1914; with the use of red bricks in the construction and Georgina styled doorcases. A typical council house built in this era was rectangular in shape with the rear extension abandoned in the same way as Victorian houses to provide light. While houses were divided into parlour and non-parlour types, all of them had a scullery, bath and indoor toilet.

Are council houses for the poor?

Council houses were introduced in the UK to provide affordable housing for individuals on low income who could not afford privately rented homes and needed better living conditions than in the slum areas that they were previously living in. After the end of the First World War, they provided convenient and cost-effective housing for soldiers and their families as well.

What is the difference between social housing and council housing?

Social housing provides affordable houses through housing associations to tenants which makes individuals landlords of the property being rented. Meanwhile, council housing is provided by local councils and funded through government schemes. There are minor differences in the tenancy agreements between the two types of housing; however, residents can rent either of them and after living there for a period of time, they may also purchase the property.

References:

How the 1930s changed housing – 1939 Register | findmypast.co.uk

Domestic Architecture 1700 to 1960<br>

The History of Council Housing – UWE

Can You Get A Mortgage On A Concrete House?

How To Find Out If A House Or Flat Is Ex Council – Monoperty.

Search for property information from HM Land Registry – GOV.UK

Buying an ex-council house in London: the pros, cons and what to avoid | Evening Standard

The real pros and cons of buying an ex-council home

Buying Council Flat: Right To Buy – HomeOwners Alliance

Council housing: Buy your council home – GOV.UK

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

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John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.