Recent government schemes are giving housing association tenants the opportunity to purchase their home and make it their own. If you are living in a housing association property, then you might be able to purchase it under the Right to Acquire government scheme. Similar to the Right to Buy scheme for council house tenants, if you have been in your home for a number of years, then you could be able to buy it from your landlord.
The two schemes differ because as a housing association tenant you will have an assured tenancy agreement which offers security for a certain amount of time, whereas council house tenants do not. This guide covers everything you need to know about buying your housing association property and how Right to Acquire could work for you.
What Is Right To Acquire?
The Right to Acquire operates very similarly to the Right to Buy scheme and was created by the government to give tenants the opportunity to purchase their homes if they have lived there for a certain amount of time. The only difference between Right to Buy and Right to Acquire is that right to Buy applies to council house tenants and Right to Acquire applies to housing association tenants.
It gives tenants the right to buy their homes at a reduced price and is available to all housing association or social landlord tenants, as long as your landlord is taking part in the scheme. In order to be eligible for Right to Acquire your home must have been built or bought by a housing association after April 1997 and have been paid for through a social housing grant.
If your home isn’t eligible for Right to Acquire then your housing association could offer you a different property to buy instead of your own. While this means you would have to move into another property, you would still benefit from the discounts available.
How Much Discount Can You Get And Who Is Eligible?
The discounts available through Right to Acquire vary greatly depending on the area you live in, and they are fixed for each area by the government. The amount of discount can be anywhere between £9,000 and £16,000 depending on the price of your property and the area you live in.
When you apply for Right to Acquire, your landlord will let you know exactly how much discount you can get and how much you can buy your home for. Before you apply for Right to Acquire you should make sure you qualify for the scheme. To qualify the property must be your only or main place of residence and you, or your spouse or civil partner, must have been a council or housing association tenant for a minimum of three years.
You can buy your home either on your own, as a joint purchaser with another tenant or with up to three family members who have lived in the home for at least 12 months.
Also see Tenant Loans.
Your housing association home won’t be eligible for Right to Acquire if it isn’t self-contained, is sheltered housing where services are included, is adapted or designed for those with special needs, or if it has been provided as part of your job.
The Risks Of Buying Your Housing Association Home
When you buy your housing association home, you are responsible for obtaining the money to buy the property, and your landlord cannot help you to do this. Just like with any other home purchase, you can get a mortgage to borrow the money to buy your home at a discounted rate.
Buying any type of home with a mortgage always comes with a certain level of risk, and you should be aware of all the risks involved before beginning the home buying process. Interest rates can fluctuate which means your mortgage payments could increase over time, and if you can no longer make the repayments then your home could be at risk of being repossessed.
It is also vital to consider maintenance costs and other costs involved with owning your own home. You should always be in a position to pay for emergencies such as the boiler breaking or a pipe bursting.
Even if you don’t need to get a mortgage to buy the property yourself, it can be worth checking with a mortgage company to see if they would offer a loan on your property. Although you don’t need it to buy your home, if for any reason they wouldn’t provide a mortgage then you might find it difficult to sell in the future.