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Right to buy

The Right to Buy for secure council tenants

This information is for tenants of St Albans City and District Council.

The Right to Buy scheme allows eligible secure tenants in Council Housing to buy their home at a discount. This is based on the valuation of the property and the length of your qualifying tenancy. 

Houses are normally sold on a freehold basis.

Flats and maisonettes are normally sold on a leasehold basis.

Government website, guidance and booklets

Apply – Complete Print Sign Send

Application Form.pdf

To apply - Complete Print Sign & Send

Information, Questions and Answers

1. Do you have the Right to Buy your home?

To qualify for a discount through the Right to Buy you must have been a tenant of a council, housing association or public sector landlord for 3 years. These years do not have to be continuous and could have been in different homes with different public sector landlords. 

However not all secure tenants have the Right to Buy..

In St Albans City and District tenants who do not have the Right to Buy may include Toggle accordion

  • tenants living in homes suitable for occupation by the elderly -  taking into account location, size, design, heating system and some other features

  • tenants living in homes which were let to them or the previous tenant for occupation by a person aged 60 or over and which were first let before 1st January 1990 

  • tenants living in homes due to be demolished  

  • tenants living in Retirement/Sheltered housing

  • tenants living in homes the Council has leased from a third party and which the council does not own  

  • tenants living in almshouses  

  • tenants living in temporary accommodation for the homeless  

  • Introductory Tenants 

You will not be allowed to buy your home if Toggle accordion

  • the Council has a court order for possession of your home
  • if you are an undischarged bankrupt
  • if you have a bankruptcy petition pending
  • if you have made an arrangement with creditors and still have money outstanding.

2. How is your home valued?

  • We will send you an RTB2 notice – letting you know if you have the Right to Buy.
  • Once you have the Right to Buy - your contact details are sent to a local Valuers, in order to value your home (They will act on behalf of the Council).
  • The Valuers will contact you to arrange an appointment to visit and assess the value of your home.
  • The Valuers will not take into account your own improvements to the property. It is important that you list you own improvements on your application form.
  • After the Council has received the information from Valuers , you will be sent your Offer Notice (Section 125 Notice).  
  • If you do not agree with the valuation, you have the right to request a redetermination of the valuation by the District Valuers. The District Valuers are independent of the Council and do not work on our behalf. Details of how request this can be found on your Offer Notice.

3. Will you be entitled to a discount?

The maximum discount currently is capped at £82,800** (But this is changing to £84,200**, please see right to buy legislation changes at point 4 below). 

Your actual discount will depend upon:

  • the valuation of the property – (see question 2) 
  • the time you have been a tenant of either a council, housing association or other eligible public sector landlords (see below) 
  • if you have previously purchased under the Right to Buy… 
    • If any of the applicants have previously purchased under the Right to Buy and received a discount. The discount you are entitled to will be reduced by the amount of the discount you received the previous time you purchased a property under the Right to Buy.
  • the cost of build, purchase, any repairs or refurbishment carried out by the Council in the last 10/15 years –  the ‘Cost Floor’ figure.
  • Cost Floor: If the ‘Cost Floor’ expenditure figure comes to more than the value of your home you may not get a discount at all

**The Maximum Discount Cap figure is increasing from £82,800 to £84,200 (in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI)). Applications received on or after 6th April 2020 the Maximum Discount Cap of £84,200 applies (where applicable).

If you are buying Houses Toggle accordion

  • After being a tenant for 3, 4 or 5 years, you will get a 35% discount of its market value. 
  • After 6 years of tenancy– you will get an additional 1% discount for each complete year you have been a tenant.
  • The current maximum discount cap is 70% or £82,800** (unless your application is received on or after the 06 April 2020. (**On or after 06 April 2020 the cap will be £84,200)) 

If you are buying a Flat Toggle accordion

  • After being a tenant for 3, 4 or 5 years, you will get a 50% discount of its market value.
  • After 6 years of tenancy - you will get an additional 2% discount for each complete year you have been a tenant.
  • The current maximum discount cap is 70% or £82,800** (unless your application is received on or after the 06 April 2020. (**On or after 06 April 2020 the cap will be £84,200)) 

4. Right to Buy legislation changes

**The Maximum Discount Cap figure is increasing from £82,800 to £84,200 (in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI)). Applications received on or after 6th April 2020 the Maximum Discount Cap of £84,200 applies (where applicable).

On 26th May 2015 the Qualifying Period was reduced from 5 years to 3 years.
(Previous changes: On 6th April 2018 the maximum Discount Cap increased from £78,600 to £80,900)

5. Will you have to repay the discount?

There are some circumstances under which you may have to repay the discount
If you sell your home within 5 years of buying it you will have to pay back all, some or potentially more of the discount you received, based on a percentage of the resale value of the property.

  • In the first year you will have to repay all the discount 

  • In the second year you will have to repay 80% of the discount 

  • In the third year you will have to repay 60% of the discount 

  • In the fourth year you will have to repay 40% of the discount 

  • In the fifth year you will have to repay 20% of the discount

How much you pay back depends upon the value of your home when you sell it Toggle accordion

For example, if your home was valued at £100,000 when you bought it and you received a discount of 40% (£40,000) when you bought it. If then you sold your home in the first year for £110,000 you would have to repay 40% of £110,000 (£44,000).

If you can’t afford to repay the discount e.g. because the bank or building society is selling your home you should inform the council immediately.

6. Before selling the property on the open market

If you decide to sell your home that you purchase under the Right to Buy scheme, you must give the Council (or another social landlord in the area as nominated by the Council) the Right of First Refusal to buy the property back, (before you are able to sell your property on the open market). This requirement applies for the first ten year period after the date you purchased your home.

If the Council wishes to buy the property back from you this will be at an agreed market value as at the time of your offer.

Right of First Refusal – How to offer your property back to the Council Toggle accordion

  • You will need to write to the Council, offering the property back to us asking if we wish to exercise our Right of First Refusal (you can scanned the signed letter and email it to the legal department). If you are have any valuation information and details of any significate works, type of home and number of rooms, then this will speed up our response time.
  • If the Council does decide to purchase, the property will be bought at an agreed market value. (This does not take into account any discount that may need to be repaid)
  • If you and the Council are unable to reach an agreement on the value of your property, the independent District Valuers will decide.
  • If your offer has not been accepted by the Council (or its nominated agent) within 8 weeks from your formal request, then you are free to sell the property on the open market.

7. How much is it likely to cost to buy your home?

In addition to the actual purchase price of your home there are other costs associated with buying a property. These could include:-

  • Survey - to identify any current or future maintenance and structural problems with the property 

  • Legal fees - you may need to hire a solicitor or other licensed conveyancer for the legal aspects of your purchase.

  • Stamp Duty may be payable - your solicitor should be able to advise you of how much this will be 

Survey and Legal fees and services vary from supplier to supplier. You may wish to check a number of suppliers before making a decision.

8. How do I apply?

To apply for the Right to Buy you need to fill in a Right to Buy Claim form (RTB1) and send to your landlord.

To receive the form and guides you can:

Complete the form carefully as the information you give will be used to decide if you have the Right to Buy and how much discount you will receive. 

Within 4 weeks the council will send you a Notice informing you whether you have the Right to Buy. If you don't have the Right to Buy the reasons will be given.
If you do have the Right to Buy you will then receive an Offer Notice (Section 125 Notice). If you are buying a house we will send the Offer notice within 8 weeks of sending out your acceptance Notice and within 12 weeks if you are buying a flat or maisonette. 

The Offer Notice describes 

  • the property, 

  • the purchase value,

  • your discount and how it was worked out, 

  • details of any known structural defects, 

  • estimates of any service charges and any other charges and 

  • the terms and conditions of the sale. 

You will need to make a decision within 12 weeks from the date on the Offer Notice to:

  • accept the offer, 

  • request re-determination of the value of the property, or 

  • withdraw from the process 

Once you have accepted the offer you have 6 months to purchase the property from the date on your Offer Notice

Details of the process can be read in Your right to buy your home: a guide If the Council delays the process or does not return the documents within the statutory timescales, you may be entitled to a reduction in the purchase price. Further information on the delay procedure is available in Your right to buy your home: a guide. RTB6 and RTB8 forms can also be downloaded RTB6 & RTB8 forms & information.

More help and assistance?

Call St Albans City and District Council on 01727 819506

If you prefer to be guided throughout the Right to Buy process Right to Buy Agents able to assist you; you can call then direct on 0300 123 0913 Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm. Right to Buy Agents can provide Tenants with help assistance and guidance throughout the RTB process.

The Department for Communities and Local Government website.

Links to legislation changes from 2014 are available on the legislation website.