Voluntary Right to Buy

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1 Voluntary Right to Buy Frequently asked questions Home ownership plays a vital role in social mobility, and the Government is committed to helping people to own their own home. Social housing already provides tenants with safe secure homes helping many people get on in life with work and education. By giving our customers who aspire to own their own home the opportunity we can provide them with greater financial security and support to build a future for themselves and their family. What is Voluntary Right to Buy? The Voluntary Right to Buy (VRtB) is a scheme where assured tenants of housing associations will have the chance to buy their homes discounted to the same value as council tenants enjoy under the Right to Buy. It is operated on a voluntary basis by housing associations and underpinned by a national agreement between the National Housing Federation and Government. The Government is funding the discounts with income from sales, plus the discounts, will be spent on one-for-one replacement at a national level. The Midlands pilot is being launched to test the policy, and Rooftop Housing Group is taking part. When will the VRtB pilot start? The pilot began on the 16 August 2018 How long will the new pilot last? The Government has made 200 million available to fund the Midlands pilot, which will run for two years from August Due to the finite nature of the funding, the number of sales which will be able to proceed will be limited, and not all tenants who apply on the Government s website will obtain a Unique Reference Number (URN) Who can make an application? Any tenant living in the property for at least 12 months can purchase the property as long as this is agreed and confirmed legally with all other residents.

2 Am I eligible for VRtB? Tenants are eligible if: You can prove you have been a tenant of social or affordable housing for at least 3 years (this does not need have been with the same landlord or continuous residency). You currently hold an un-demoted secure tenancy, an un-demoted assured tenancy or fixed term flexible tenancy of 2 years or more. You have the right to reside in the UK, and can demonstrate that you meet the immigration status checks. Tenants are not eligible if: You have the statutory preserved RTB or are a shared owner or hold an Intermediate Rent tenancy At the time of application you hold a periodic assured short hold tenancy, an assured shorthold tenancy for a fixed term of less than 2 years or are a licensee You do not have the right to reside in the UK, and cannot demonstrate that they meet the immigration status checks You became a tenant of your existing home through the mortgage rescue scheme and remain on the original fixed term tenancy. You are tenants of alms houses or housing co-operatives. You have any rent arrears or owe any debt to Rooftop at the point of application or at ANY TIME throughout the application process You or any joint applicants are subject to bankruptcy proceedings or unfulfilled credit arrangements You have committed anti-social behaviour as defined in the Paragraph 11 of Schedule 11 to the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and Rooftop has initiated legal proceedings as a result of this. Tenants would become eligible if such legal proceedings were withdrawn or discontinued; You are currently subject to legal proceedings, e.g. injunction proceedings have been issued or a Notice of Seeking Possession (NOSP) has been served. Tenants would become eligible if such legal proceedings were withdrawn or discontinued, or if Rooftop failed to send papers to the court for issue within 6 months of expiry of the NOSP, or Rooftop loses the case in court (including following any appeal); You already own a property even if it is not their principal residence at the point of purchase They hold an assured fixed term tenancy where the term (as originally granted, not the unexpired portion of it) is 21 years or more. You hold an assured tenancy for a single room in a shared house If the tenant is applying jointly with a spouse, civil partner and/or up to 3 family members they must: Demonstrate that it is the main home of every applicant Prove that it has been their residence for at least 12 months No joint applicant can be added to or removed from the application during the process without voiding the application requiring a re-application by the tenant. Is my home eligible for VRtB? Under the voluntary agreement, the presumption is that housing associations will offer to sell tenants the property which they are living in and this to apply in the majority of cases. Please note that under this Government pilot scheme, supported housing units and leasehold houses are not within the scope and tenants living in these units will not be able to buy their own, nor port their discount to another home. However, there may be occasions where a housing association is unable to sell tenants their current homes. In these cases, the intention is for them to port their discount to another property in their area, owned by their own or another housing association. In our case, we may not be able to sell you your own home if any of the following apply: You are the tenant of a Co-operative Housing Scheme or live in a home owned by a housing co-operative You are the tenant of an Intermediate properties where an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) is issued. You are the tenant of a Market Rent properties where an AST is issued. You are the tenant of a Rent to Buy

3 properties where an AST is issued and different purchase arrangements are in place. You are the tenant of a Shared ownership properties where a lease is in place and different purchase arrangements are in place. You live in adapted accommodation You live in a property where Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) would become repayable You live in a property where ongoing management or replacement may be difficult or costly You live in a Tied accommodation occupied because you are employed by Rooftop You live in a property where section 106 or other planning agreement restricts the use of the property You live in a property in a rural area You live in a property where replacement is difficult or costly or where there are planning restrictions/property covenants You live in a property which is due to be demolished or redeveloped If I m eligible, will I be able to buy the home I m living in now? Tenants who meet the Government s eligibility criteria will be entitled to a Voluntary Right to Buy discount and, in most cases, we expect the tenants will be able to buy the home that they live in subject to Government funding still being available. However, there may be cases where Rooftop Housing Group cannot sell that particular home. Rooftop has it s own individual policy outlining which homes are excluded from sale and the reasons why. What if I am a tenant not in the region of the new pilot and want to buy my home? The Government remains committed to ensuring housing association tenants have the opportunity to own their homes. The Midlands pilot will test key aspects of Voluntary Right to Buy and provide crucial information ahead of a national roll out of the programme. More details of a national programme will be announced in due course. Rooftop are capturing the details of all tenants who would like to be kept up to date with a national roll out. How can I apply? You must first visit the Midlands Right to Buy website to register for the pilot and obtain your Unique Reference Number (URN). Only once you have this URN you can complete our application form which you will find on the VRtB pages of the Rooftop website. The pages contain a full list of local authorities covered by the scheme and an explanation of the scheme. How do I get a Unique Reference Number? Visit the Midlands Right to Buy website to register for the pilot and obtain your unique reference number (URN) The gateway on the website will open until midnight of the 16 September A limited number of URNs will be available and not every applicant will be able to receive one. Please note that even if you do receive a URN, there is no guarantee you will be able to buy your home. This depends also on the eligibility of your home and its affordability to you. Applicants will be chosen at random by ballot after the gateway has closed. The ballot has been chosen to ensure fair distribution of the limited number of URNs What happens if my property is not eligible for VRtB? If your property is not eligible to purchase under VRtB because Rooftop Housing Group has excluded it, we may still be able to work with you to identify another property which does qualify. This could be with Rooftop or another landlord in the Midlands. This process is called porting. Can I appeal if I was unsuccessful in the ballot? You will not be able to appeal the decision. The number of sales in the pilot is limited and successful applicants for URNs will be selected by the Government using a strictly random ballot.

4 Can I appeal your decision no to sell me my own home? You cannot appeal against the policies we have set up about exclusions and portability, but you can complain to the Housing Ombudsman if you think we haven t properly followed these policies. More information about the Housing Ombudsman can be found at You can call them on or write to them at: Housing Ombudsman Service, PO Box 152, Liverpool L33 7WQ What happens if I miss the window for entering the ballot for URNs. Is there anything I can do? There are no immediate plans to reopen the ballot. However, any decision by Government on this would depend on the level of demand. You can sign up for more information on the Government s website at: iation-tenants/ and you will receive any new information. Do you charge an administration fee? All Housing Associations will ask tenants to pay a 250 administration fee when they complete their application. Rooftop cannot process the application and instruct a valuation of your home until this fee has been received. When you complete on your purchase, Rooftop will refund the fee to you. However, if you withdraw from the application you will not be eligible for a refund. If the sale of your home is declined at the initiative of Rooftop, as we are unable to sell then you will receive a full refund of any administration fee paid. How is the discount calculated? The discounts available to tenants will start at 35% or 50% for just 3 years tenancy. Houses - you will get a 35% discount if you ve been a public sector tenant for three years. The discount remains at 35% until you have 5 years public sector tenancy. After year five the discount goes up by 1% for every extra year you ve been a public sector tenant up to a maximum of 70% or 80,900, whichever is lower. Flats - you will get a 50% discount if you ve been a public sector tenant for three years. The discount remains at 50% until you have five years public sector tenancy. After year five, the discount goes up by 2% for every extra year you ve been a public sector tenant, up to a maximum of 70% or 80,900 whichever is lower How much is my home worth? Once we have established your eligibility for the scheme and you have made payment of the 250 administration fee Rooftop will arrange for your home to be valued by a RICS certified surveyor. This valuation will be used to calculate the discount you receive and the offer for you to purchase your home. Rooftop advises that all customers gather their own information prior to application to obtain an idea of how much their home is worth by visiting such websites as Rightmove and Zoopla. Will I have to pay a service charge? If you pay a service charge now you may be liable for a service charge when you are a home owner. We will let you know if this applies when you enquire about purchasing the property. What other costs are involved in Voluntary Right to Buy? If you are considering becoming a homeowner through VRtB we would like to highlight the fact there may be some extra costs you incur during your purchase. In addition to the 250 administration fee you will need to consider the cost of legal fees for conveyancing solicitors, mortgage fees and stamp duty. You will also have ongoing costs such as mortgage payments, service charge payments, buildings insurance, and will be responsible for some or all of the maintenance of the property after completion.

5 Can I use the discount as a deposit for a mortgage? Many lenders will take the discount as a deposit, although some will not. We recommend you speak with a mortgage lender, broker or Independent Financial Advisor who can advise you on a mortgage that best suits your needs. How much stamp duty will I pay? The stamp duty you will pay will be calculated on the discount price for your property. For example if your home is worth 200,000 but you have a discount of 50% then you will be liable for stamp duty on 100,000. If you are a first time buyer then this will likely mean that there will be no extra cost but exact costs can be found at; Can I sell or rent out my home after buying it through Voluntary Right to Buy? You may sell or rent out your home whenever you like, however if you do this within the first 5 years of ownership you will be required to pay back some or all of the discount you received, based on a sliding scale. If you decide to sell within 10 years of ownership you will have to give Rooftop Housing Group the right of first refusal to purchase the property back. What if I have the Preserved or Statutory Right to Buy and Right to Acquire? Some Rooftop tenants have a Preserved Right to Buy because they were council tenants when their home was transferred to Rooftop. They were entitled to the original Right to Buy when they were council tenants, so when they transferred to Rooftop they kept this right. If a tenant is entitled to Preserved Right To Buy they cannot participate in the Voluntary Right To Buy scheme. If you are entitled to the Right to Acquire, you have the choice of purchasing your home using either scheme, but not both. Can I purchase my Shared Ownership home under the pilot? Shared Ownership properties are not eligible for VRtB. If you want to purchase a larger share of your home please contact Why has three year eligibility been chosen for this pilot, when it was ten years for the initial pilot? Three year minimum eligibility applies to the local authority scheme, Statutory and Preserved Right to Buy, and the Government want to fully test demand within the funding envelope, so that they can use this to inform the design of the main scheme. There is a 200 million budget for the pilot. Why haven t the Government announced full details of the voluntary Right to Buy main scheme? Is the Government rolling back on this key commitment to home ownership? The Government recognises that Tenants have been waiting on clarification for some time and will announce more details on the main scheme as soon as possible. This Government understands the importance of home ownership and is determined to support housing association tenants who aspire to own their own homes. The regional pilot is evidence of that commitment. The Government is using pilots to ensure that they get this policy right the regional pilot will allow us to test key features of the policy and provide important evidence to inform the design of the main scheme.

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