Hardworking council house tenants who want to own their own home will now benefit from higher Right to Buy discounts, and be guided through the homebuying process by a new team of experts.
From this week, a team of Right to Buy advisers will be on hand to offer free advice, support and information for any tenant who dreams of becoming a homeowner.
On top of this expert support, the maximum discount caps available have just increased, so from now tenants can benefit from as much as £77,000 off the value of their home outside London, and £102,700 in the capital.
Right to Buy agents
Tenants wanting to buy their own home can ring a dedicated local rate helpline to speak to a member of the new Right to Buy agent service. The service, appointed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), will provide free advice at each stage of the purchase.
In providing tenants with a dedicated source of information and guidance on the Right to Buy process, the service will also help tenants to avoid hidden fees that can be charged by some commercial companies and advisers for Right to Buy advice.
Opening the door to homeownership
Over 19,500 people have become homeowners through the reinvigorated Right to Buy scheme.
Launched in 2012, the discount cap was increased to a maximum £75,000, and further increased in London to £100,000 in 2013.
But now, the maximum cash discount will increase each year by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) level of inflation - meaning the new discounts now stand at £102,700 in London and £77,000 across England.
The maximum percentage discount on houses has now also increased from 60% to 70%, bringing it into line with flats as was the case when the Right to Buy was first introduced in 1980.
Receipts from Right to Buy sales will continue to be invested in housebuilding, so every additional home sold since the reinvigoration is replaced with a new affordable home to rent.
And a new streamlined, more user-friendly application form will make it easier for tenants to navigate the process for buying their own home, with improvements including a checklist to ensure applicants have fully completed all sections of the form, and a ‘next steps’ tear off page so people know what to expect when their application is considered.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:
Under the last government, the Right to Buy was allowed to wither on the vine, killing off hopes of home ownership for most social tenants because of a miserly discount.
We have reinvigorated the Right to Buy, increasing the discounts available to open it up to more tenants. Since the changes came into effect we have helped more than 19,500 people to buy their own home, generating £420 million in receipts for new additional affordable housing.
The new agent service, increased discounts and easier to understand application form will ensure even more families can reap the rewards of their hard work and enjoy the security and peace of mind that comes from owning your own home.
The Right to Buy agent helpline number is 0300 123 0913. For more information on the service visit: www.communities.gov.uk/righttobuy.
The Statutory Instruments introducing the annual CPI uplift to the maximum cash discount, and increasing the maximum percentage discount for houses from 60% to 70%, came into force on 21 July 2014. The discount is based on how long someone has been a tenant with a public sector landlord and the value of the property. Anyone buying with a partner calculates the discount on the person with the longest public sector tenancy.
The new form is available on the DCLG website.