Family Housing Association (Birkenhead & Wirral) Ltd, Marcus House, Marcus Street, Birkenhead, Telephone: 0151 647 5000
This page will be regularly updated with the latest news regarding 'Right to Buy'. (Last updated 16th August 2018)
The Government announced in 2015 that Housing Association tenants would be given the right to buy their homes at a discount. This has since become a voluntary agreement between the National Housing Federation (the body that represents Housing Associations) and the Government. It remains unclear whether Housing Associations will be compelled to sell their homes to tenants, or if they will be able to exclude some or all of their homes.
A first pilot scheme started in 2016 and involved five large Housing Associations (L&Q, Riverside, Saffron, Sovereign & Thames Valley) to establish the level of demand, the cost and the best way of managing the process. Initially, only those tenants resident for more than 10 years were eligible. Tenants with rent arrears were also excluded. The pilot was limited to 600 sales. Riverside charged a £250 application fee that was not refunded if a tenant pulled out of the process. This pilot has now ended.
A Regional Pilot started in August 2018 to examine whether a new home can be built for each home sold to a tenant. It will also look at portable discounts. This is where a tenant is offered another property as the Landlord has decided they are not prepared to sell the property where the tenant is currently living. The regional pilot is taking place in the Midlands. It is notable that all Associations with under 1000 units are not required to take part. There is a limited budget of £200 million and as demand is expected to far exceed this, there will be a ballot to decide who gets the opportunity to buy their home. The Government has said will fully assess the impact of the Policy before deciding whether the Policy will be rolled out nationally. A decision is not expected until the end of 2020.
For those tenants that can afford it, buying their home can appear an attractive option. However, it is important to understand the disadvantages of home ownership.
Paying a mortgage every month for 25 years, or longer in some cases, is a huge commitment, especially as a bank is much less likely to support you if you get behind with your repayments.
If you lose your job, you can claim Housing Benefit to help with your rent, but you have to wait 3 months before you can get help with mortgage payments and then it only covers the interest part of the loan.
The ongoing cost of maintenance and repairs has to be factored in. Periodically replacing kitchens, bathrooms, electrical wiring, sockets, switches, boilers, radiators and roofing is very costly. You also need to budget for day to day repairs on top of this.
Being able to afford to maintain your home whilst you are working is one thing, but could you afford it with just your pension?
Being a tenant of a Housing Association means you can get help dealing with anti-social behaviour or problem neighbours.
Any Family Housing Association tenant interested in buying their home should contact the office and let us know.
We will update our tenants when new information becomes available.