Your Preserved Right to Buy
Home ownership helps to create mixed and sustainable communities. We will uphold your rights under the law to buy your home and help you to fulfil your expectations. Please be aware however that once you buy your home you will be fully responsible for all repairs and maintenance costs and insurances, and if you do not keep up payments on your mortgage and your home is repossessed you may find yourself homeless.
Preserved Right to Buy (PRTB)
If you were a secure tenant of Telford & Wrekin Council before 25 March 1999 and you became an assured tenant of The Wrekin Housing Trust/Group Limited (“the Group”) when the ownership of your home transferred to the Trust, so long as you have remained a tenant of the Trust ever since, you may have the PRTB.
To qualify for the PRTB, you need to have had a minimum of three years occupation of a property as a public sector tenant. A list of public sector landlords can be found on the Right to Buy Government website. Here there is also detail on the Right to Acquire and Stamp Duty.
You must live in your property as your only or principal home.
You cannot buy your home if:
- a court has made a possession order which says you must leave your home;
- you are an undischarged bankrupt;
- you have a bankruptcy petition pending against you;
- you have made an arrangement with creditors and you still owe them money; or
- you are a tied tenant, for example, the property forms part of your job, such as a school caretaker or a warden.
Properties that are excluded from the PRTB
Certain properties are excluded from the PRTB scheme. These include:
Sheltered accommodation and homes suitable for occupation by the elderly (including extra care schemes)
You cannot buy your property if it is one of a group of properties for the elderly, or those with disabilities.
You cannot apply to buy your home if it is scheduled for possible demolition. We may serve an ‘Initial Demolition Notice’ that can suspend the completion of your PRTB for up to sevenyears. A ‘Final Demolition Notice’ may be served if demolition is planned within two years. This will mean your application to buy your property will end.
You cannot buy your home if your property forms part of your job.
You cannot buy your home if it is on land which has been purchased for redevelopment and it is being used for temporary housing before the land is developed.
Our service standards
- provide you with detailed information and an appropriate application form within seven days of your request; and
- make a decision on your application within four weeks from when we receive all relevant information.
A PRTB can be suspended or ended if a tenant, or other members of their household or visitors, is / are engaging in antisocial behaviour or threatening to do so.
How to get an application form - RTB1 You can download this application form here or you can request an application form for the PRTB by calling into any of our local shops (addresses can be found on the ‘Contact us’ page of our website,) or by telephoning us on 01952 217100.
Once completed, you will need to return your application form to The Legal Department, The Wrekin Housing Group Ltd, Colliers Way, Old Park, Telford TF3 4AW. All eligible applications will have to provide proof of their identity and will be asked to bring the relevant document to the above address to be copied.
We will let you know if you have the PRTB using form RTB2. You should receive this within four weeks of the date of your application, if we have all the relevant information.
If you do not have the PRTB you will be told why. If you disagree with this decision, you should get advice from a legal adviser. If your application is being refused because the property is suitable for the elderly, then you have a right of appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal Service. Information on how to do this is included with the RTB2 Refusal Notice.
Once your application has been received, you will only be able to have essential repairs carried out to your property and you will not be included in any improvement schemes that may have been planned at your home.
An independent surveyor will then visit your property and value it in line with the current market value, as at the date you submitted your PRTB application. The surveyor will disregard any improvements you have made to your home.
For any improvements that may affect the safety or boundaries of your property, such as fencing and / or removal of walls for example, you must have already had our permission or this may cause a delay with your application. We will, however, include in the valuation any improvements carried out by ourselves.
We will issue you with an Offer Notice (Section 125 Notice), within a further eight weeks, or twelve weeks if you are buying your property leasehold - that is, if it is an apartment or maisonette.
As a leaseholder you own the right to live in your home for a fixed number of years, up to a maximum of 125 years. If you should sell your home, the purchaser will buy the remaining years of the lease.
The ‘Offer Notice’ will contain all the relevant information you will need to help you decide if you want to go ahead with the purchase of your home. It will include:
- a description of your property, including a plan for identification purposes only;
- the current market value of your home;
- discount entitlement;
- the price at which you can buy your home;
- the terms and conditions of sale;
- any structural defects which the landlord is aware of;
- any service charges, improvement costs and remedial works where applicable;
- improvements to your property carried out by you and disregarded in the valuation; and
The longer you have been a tenant, the larger your percentage of discount, subject to the valuation of the property and the discount limit. You can count time spent as a tenant with other local authorities or registered providers and time spent in the armed forces. This is not an exhaustive list.
Your discount entitlement is subject to limits, which are set by the Government. These allow you a maximum of 70% discount from the property value. The percentage you will receive depends on the number of years you have been a tenant. Once you have been a tenant of a house for five years you will receive 35% discount and then another 1% for each year you’ve been a tenant up to the maximum of 70% or 40 years. When you’ve been a tenant of an apartment or maisonette for five years you will receive 50% and then 2% for each year you’ve been a tenant up to the maximum of 70% or 15 years.
However, the maximum discount you can receive overall is reviewed every April in line with inflation.
Your discount may be reduced if we have spent money on purchasing, building, repairing, improving or maintaining your property over the last 15 years. Under this cost floor rule, the discount you receive must not reduce the selling price below what has been spent on building, buying, repairing, improving or maintaining it.
If the cost of works over the 15 year period is more than the selling price of your home, you will not receive any discount.
Certain properties have been designated as defective under Part 16 of The Housing Act 1985. This could be due to their design or construction and the value of the property will have been reduced due to the fact that the defects have become known.
If your home is designated defective, then we will tell you before you buy. You could have a problem getting a mortgage on this type of property and you should also be aware that you might have difficulty selling it on at a later date if you wish to move home.
Getting your own survey
Once you have received your Section 125 Notice, we would suggest that you consider obtaining an independent survey from a qualified surveyor or structural engineer. Before you do this, you should ask how much it will cost as you will be responsible for this fee.
Appealing the valuation
If you are not happy with the valuation you do have the right to appeal to the District Valuer who acts independently of both the Group and you. You must make this request in writing and within three months of receiving your Offer Notice. The District Valuer will want to visit your property and you should give him or her copies of any surveys you have had carried out.
You need to be aware that once the District Valuer has valued your property, both you and the Group must abide by this decision. It could be higher, lower or the same as the one reached by us. You will either have to accept this price or withdraw your application in writing.
Before you commit to buying your property, you may wish to take your own independent legal advice about the purchase. If you proceed, your legal adviser will need to deal with the purchase for you. You should always ask the cost before employing a legal adviser.
What to do next
After you have received your offer papers, you have a choice to make. You can either continue with the purchase or cancel your application. You must tell us of your decision within 12 weeks of the receipt of your Section 125 offer notice. If you fail to do this you will be sent a reminder. If you do not respond within 28 days of this reminder then your application will be withdrawn.
Delay notice procedure
If you feel, while buying your property there has been a delay in your sale and this is because we have, for example:
- not sent out your RTB2;
- not served your offer papers within the legislative timescales; or
- any other delay caused by us,
Then, you may be entitled to a reduction on the purchase price of your property. For this to happen you must serve a completed RTB6 - Initial Notice of Delay. This allows one month for us to issue a Counter Notice and sort out the delay. If, after this period of time, the delay has not been resolved and the delay is found to have been caused by us, then you must serve a completed RTB8 - Operative Notice of Delay. This means your rent, for the period of the delay and from the date of the Operative Notice, will be offset against the purchase price once the sale is completed.
This information is to be used as a guide only.
It is a general summary and is not to be relied on as a full interpretation of the Housing Act.
If there are any specific matters that you need advice on you should contact either us or seek your own independent advice.
You can find out more by reading the information booklet here.
Preserved Right to Buy
The Wrekin Housing Group Ltd
Phone: 01952 217100
We are committed to giving everyone equal access to information. If you would like this information in another format, please phone 01952 217100.