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What are the advantages and disadvantages of Right to Buy? And what do you need to consider?

Owning your own home is something that most people aspire to do. There are many schemes available, such as shared ownership and the HTB equity loan, to make housing affordable, but there are still people who can't afford the deposit. Right to Buy is a government scheme that lets council tenants purchase their property at a discounted rate. There are specific mortgages available, and in many cases, the upfront deposit is much more affordable.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this scheme? And what do you need to consider?

To be eligible for Right to Buy, you must have lived and been a council tenant for at least three years, and It would be best if you avoided outstanding debts such as rent and council tax arrears as this could have a negative impact.

Although the scheme benefits the individual there is also the counter-argument that as a country the demand for social housing is higher than the government can supply, there are staggering amounts of people sleeping rough, according to the Guardian; "Figures from the housing and homelessness charity Shelter show that a total of 1.15 million households were on waiting lists last year, with only 290,000 homes made available, leaving a national shortfall of more than 800,000 homes." Does this need to be a consideration when considering the future of Right to Buy?

  • It makes housing affordable for people who may not be able to purchase a property traditionally.
  • It allows people to own after years of paying rent.
  • It enables parents to pass the house on to their children.
  • It provides financial stability and allows people to have a foot on the property ladder.
  • Deposits are cheaper
  • There are no moving costs.
Alongside this, there are also disadvantages to consider.
  • Council tenants purchase properties in more sought after areas.
  • The tenant becomes responsible for repairs and general maintenance of the property.
  • Properties are harder to sell.
  • Time restrictions apply when you can sell the property; if you leave before this, you could receive financial penalties.
  • If you currently receive housing benefit, you may no longer be eligible.

The most significant disadvantage of the Right to Buy scheme is that these properties often fall into the hands of property investors and private landlords. The argument is that local authorities usually pay rent for properties that they used to own, and social housing was made available to benefit communities and not the individual.

In summary, if you're in a position to own your council house, this is a great way to have a step on the property ladder; the disadvantages mainly affect local authorities and institution as oppose to the individual.

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69 - 75 Thorpe Road,
Norwich, NR1 1UA
01603 877066 or 01603 877067
FAX: 01603 230125
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*MJP Conveyancing LTD is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – SRA No. 590889

MJP Conveyancing Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales Registered No: 8026741 VAT Number: 157917571. A full list of the directors is available upon request. We use the word 'Partner' to refer to a Director of the Limited Company, or any employee or consultant with equivalent standing and qualification. Equality and Diversity Policy Equality and Diversity Policy Statement for Clients * - In calculating this we measure the average time it takes to reach the stage of exchange ( not the date you actually move in which is known as the completion date) from the date we receive the contract from the sellers solicitors or from when we send the contract to the buyers solicitors. This period can be longer when delays arise which are not within our control. We cannot guarantee that we can achieve this average turnaround time in all transactions. This turnaround time does not apply to leasehold and leasehold and new build transactions.
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