Not everyone who wants to buy their home will be able to do so. Many tenants in Highland either do not have the right to buy or have the right suspended. It depends on the particular circumstances of your tenancy, including when it started, where you live and the kind of property you live in.
If you can and want to buy your home, there are many things that you should carefully consider. As well as the purchase price being a major investment, home owners have other costs for repairing and maintaining the property and buildings insurance.
Right to buy (RTB) laws changed on 1 March 2011. Tenants who either take up a tenancy for the first time or return to social housing after a voluntary break after 1 March 2011 do not have the right to buy. There are very few exceptions.
Tenancies which began on or after 30 September 2002 have the modernised right to buy. This means that they have the right to buy unless they live in an area with Pressured Area Status designation. If so, their right to buy is currently suspended. All communities in Highland are covered by Pressured Area Status except for some communities in Caithness. In Caithness, only Thurso and its small neighbouring communities of Forss; Geise; Glengolly; Janetstown; Scrabster; and Weydale are covered by Pressured Area Status designation. A Pressured Area FAQ sheet is available.
Tenants moving into a ‘new-supply’ property will not have the right to buy it. A ‘new-supply’ property is one which has been built or bought since 28 June 2008. This restriction only applies for the time they live in that property.
The ‘old’ right to buy applies to tenancies which began in the current property before 30 September 2002. If these tenants transfer to another property, they move onto modernised right to buy rules.
Right to buy rules can be confusing. You are advised to read this Scottish Government information booklet ‘Your Right to Buy Your Home – a Guide for Scottish Secure Tenants’.
Buying Your Home
If you have the Right to Buy and do not live in a designated Pressured Area, you can download the Right to Buy Application Form here.
Once you have completed and returned the application form , staff will check your tenancy details, work out your discount and check to see if you have previously bought a Council house. They will also get a district valuer to give us a valuation of your home. We will then make you an offer. The offer price will equal the valuation minus the amount of discount you are entitled to.
Tenants with Modernised Right To Buy (living in eligible Caithness communities) - discounts start at 20% after 5 years continuous tenancy, and rise by 1% a year for all house types up to a maximum of 35% of the market value or £15,000, whichever is the lower.
Tenants with Old Right To Buy - you need two years' continuous tenancy, provided it started before 30 September 2002, to qualify for a minimum discount of 32% for a house or 44% for a flat. For houses, this increases by 1% for each additional year of tenancy to a maximum of 60% for those with 30 years' tenancy. For flats, the discount increases 2% for each additional year of tenancy up to a maximum of 70% after 15 years.
We aim to send you an offer, stating the price, within two months of your application. The offer letter should be taken to your solicitor and you should also make arrangements, if necessary, to borrow the money required from a bank or building society.
Once the offer is issued, you have two months to accept the offer or one month if you want to change the conditions of the offer. If the offer is accepted, we aim to complete the sales process within 26 weeks.
The Council does not charge for this service. You will have to pay your own solicitor's fees and charges.
If you have any questions please call the Service Centre on 01349 886602 or ask your local Housing and Property Office.