The Right to Buy scheme has been the most common method of purchasing one’s council house since its introduction in the 1980s. However, it is slowly being revoked to meet the increasing demand for council housing as the UK government is faced with the challenge of replenishing the stock of council homes. Through this blog post, we aim to learn whether the Right to Buy scheme is expected to return to Scotland if it still exists in the rest of the UK and what are the essentials of this government scheme.
Will Right To Buy Come Back In Scotland?
After being abolished on 31st July 2016, there is no expectation of the Right To Buy scheme to return to Scotland; however, a Scottish Council has offered to buy back council homes that were earlier sold under the Right To Buy Scheme to council housing tenants.
The Edinburgh council has undertaken a £30mn project to buy back council homes sold under The Right To Buy scheme as it aims to carry out major repair work in council estates.
With the current ownership/occupancy being mixed in nature and divided between the council and private owners, it has been a challenge for the council to carry out the required repair works. With the buyback scheme, the Edinburgh council aims to undertake major repairs in 1,400 homes in the Wester Hailes over a period of three years.
According to legislation passed by the Scottish Government, Scottish council housing tenants have been disallowed from the purchase of council homes under the Right to Buy scheme since 2016.
Why Can’t I Buy My Council House In Scotland?
The reasons cited by the Scottish Government for revoking the allowance to purchase one’s council home under the Right to Buy scheme are:
- the limited availability of council property that can be availed by those who need it; and
- budget constraints that would give the government the financial freedom to meet the rising demand for council homes.
What Is The Right To Buy Scheme?
One of the most common ways to purchase council property is the Right To Buy Scheme which allows council tenants to purchase the property that they are living in.
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
Does Right To Buy Apply To The Rest Of The UK?
You may not be able to buy a council house under the Right to Buy scheme if you are a housing resident in Wales. Under the Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights Act from 2019 onwards, council housing tenants can no longer purchase council property under the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire schemes.
In Northern Ireland, you can buy your council house if you have been a tenant for a minimum period of five years. You will be able to avail a discount of nearly £24,000 when you purchase council property. However, it is expected that the Right to Buy scheme will be abolished in Ireland by the second half of 2022.
Meanwhile, the current UK government has announced their plan to revive the Right to Buy scheme in England for tenants of housing associations; allowing them to purchase their housing association homes at a discounted price.
It seems to be quite apparent from the above article that the Right to Buy scheme cannot be expected to come back to Scotland any time soon; especially since it has only been a short while since it was abolished to increase the supply of council homes for those in need. In fact, in addition to Scotland, the scheme has already been revoked in Wales and is also expected to end in Ireland by August 2022.
FAQs: Will Right To Buy Come Back In Scotland?
Will the voluntary Right to Buy be rolled out?
So far, there is no confirmed date for the voluntary Right to Buy scheme to be rolled out. The UK government has announced that they will consider the results of the Midlands project before making a decision about the implementation of voluntary RTB.
Does Right to Buy still exist?
Yes, the Right to Buy scheme is still applicable in England and Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, it has been abolished in Scotland and Wales.
How long does the Right to Buy process take?
It usually takes 8 weeks for the notice to come in if you have applied for a council house under the Right to Buy Scheme. In the case of a flat or maisonette, it may take up to 12 weeks.
Do you need a deposit for Right to Buy?
No, you don’t need a deposit for buying a property under the Right to Buy scheme.
Is Right to Buy a good idea?
While the Right to Buy provides property ownership to individuals with limited means, it also reduces the supply of council accommodation for others who are in need; especially when council tenants buy their council home under RTB only to rent it out privately or resell it in the open market.