Last updated January 2017
Who has the Right to Acquire?
Housing association tenants have the Right to Acquire if:
- They have been public sector tenants for three years or more.
- They live in a self contained property.
- Their home was bought, acquired or transferred to the housing association after 1 April 1997.
Housing association tenants may not be eligible if:
- They are bankrupt or are being made bankrupt.
- They live in a Designated Rural Area or National Park.
- They live in a home considered particularly suitable for the elderly.
How can I apply?
You need to complete an application form.
If you telephone us on 0800 3282 282 we will send you an application form. You can also download the RTA 1 application form from direct.gov.uk, however please contact us as well as we will require further information as part of your application.
What happens after I apply?
The first step is that we assess whether you are eligible. The law says we have four weeks to write to you after receiving your application form to confirm whether or not you are eligible.
What happens after my application is accepted?
If your application is successful and we assess you as eligible to purchase your home under the Right to Acquire Scheme, we will then prepare an RTA 3. This is also known as an Offer Notice.
The Offer Notice will include our valuation of your home and a calculation of any discount to which you may be entitled. The Offer Notice also includes the details of the terms of sale and information about any estimated service charges which you may need to pay in the first five years of owning your property.
When do I get my valuation?
The law says we have 12 weeks from the date we confirm your eligibility for the Right to Acquire to prepare an Offer Notice. We are unable to provide you with information about the valuation of your home until we send you the Offer Notice.
What happens after I receive my Offer Notice (RTA 3)?
The law says you have 12 weeks to let us know whether you wish to proceed with purchasing your home under the Right to Acquire.
A form is sent out with the Offer Notice for you to complete and send back to us to confirm whether you will proceed with purchasing your home under the Right to Acquire. On this form you are asked to provide us with details of the solicitor who will be helping you in purchasing your home.
Once you have confirmed to us that you wish to purchase, and you have provided us with the contact details of your solicitor, we will get in touch with your solicitor directly. Your solicitor will guide you through the process of purchasing your home.
When should I approach a mortgage lender?
You can approach a mortgage lender at any time. However, until we send you your Offer Notice you will not be able to tell a mortgage lender how much you will need to borrow.
Sometimes mortgage lenders will help you at an early stage by advising you of the maximum amount they would be able to lend you, on the basis of an assessment of your financial circumstances. This assessment will look at your savings, your income, any other debts you may have, your credit history, and how much deposit you are able to pay towards the purchase of your home.
You may also benefit from the advice of a independent mortgage adviser (sometimes also known as a ‘mortgage broker’), who will be able to advise on the types of mortgages offered by a range of companies. Before you use an independent mortgage adviser you should make sure that you understand the fees that they will charge for finding you a mortgage. You must also make sure they are authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to act as mortgage advisers.
What costs will I need to pay if I buy my own home?
If you decide to purchase your home under the Right to Acquire there are a number of additional costs which you wouldn’t pay as a tenant. Before you decide to buy your home you should carefully consider whether you can afford it. For some of our residents remaining a tenant may be a better option for them.
Below is list of some of the additional costs you are likely to incur if you purchase your housing association home:
- Mortgage payments
- Purchase costs - you will need to pay fees to the solicitor to help you with purchasing your property and it is also a good idea to pay for an independent survey before your purchase.
- Buildings insurance - paid either through your service charge for leasehold properties, or directly if you buy a freehold home.
- Maintenance and repair costs - paid either through your service charge for leasehold properties, or directly if you buy a freehold home.
- Life assurance - this is an insurance which pays off the remaining balance of your mortgage if you die before the end of the mortgage period. This is optional but will protect your dependents if you die unexpectedly.
- Contents insurance - It is advisable to insure the contents of your home.
Please note that for leasehold properties, the amount of service charges you pay will vary every year depending on what repairs are required. If major works are required, for instance we need to replace the windows or the roof, you may be asked to contribute toward these costs through your service charges. When extensive major works are carried out, especially for blocks of flats, you may receive a large bill of £10,000 or more as an individual contribution towards the cost.