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Buying your council house

If you are thinking of buying your home, you should get as much advice and information as you can, so you can be sure you make the right decision.

Who has the right to buy?

The Scottish secure tenancy provides a single, common tenancy for nearly all tenants of local authorities and housing associations in Scotland. The qualifying period to be able to buy your home is 5 years and the maximum discount is 35% or £15,000, whichever is lower. This is known as the ‘modernised right to buy’.

For further information, the Scottish Government has produced a booklet on buying your home: Your Right to Buy Your Home: A Guide for Scottish Secure Tenants (PDF, 507kb)

Who does not have the right to buy?

You do not have the right to buy if:

  • you took up your tenancy for the first time after 1 March 2011
  • the property you rent is not your only or main home
  • your home has features that are substantially different from an ordinary home and it has been adapted for people of pensionable age who require these features
  • the Council has plans to demolish your home
  • the property is part of a group housing scheme such as sheltered housing where tenants have specific facilities for their use or are provided with support services
  • the house is new build and new supply social housing
  • you have taken up tenancy with a social landlord for the first time
  • you have returned to social housing after a break - there are however, some exceptions

The Council may refuse to sell if:

  • you have missed rent payments or council tax, water or sewerage charges or if you owe other amounts as a result of your current or previous tenancy
  • if the Council is in the process of evicting you due to your conduct (such as antisocial behaviour)

Even if you have a right to buy as part of your tenancy agreement, you won't be able to buy if:

  • we have taken you to court to evict you because you have breached your Tenancy Agreement
  • you or any joint purchaser has arrears of rent or other charges, Council Tax, or water and sewerage charges
  • you have not spent enough time as a tenant of a council or other landlord that has the right to buy

You may not be able to buy your home if it has been designed for an elderly or disabled person or is near special facilities.  

How much will I have to pay?

The property will be valued at open market value.

Any improvements you have carried out will not be included in the valuation. You may get a discount depending on the length of time you have been a tenant.

What will the initial costs be?

You will need to advise a solicitor to act on your behalf so there will be legal costs. You will also need to pay fees to the Land Registry for the Local Authority Search. These are included in the legal fees you pay to our solicitor. You will also have to pay for a survey to be carried out and there will be certain fees to be paid to your mortgage provider.

Can I sell my house later?

If you have bought your home you can sell it on. However, if you do so within 3 years you will have to pay back all or part of the discount you have received.

Pressured areas

Pressured area status has been assigned to some houses and areas within North Ayrshire. It suspends the right of some tenants to buy their home. 

The property types and areas have been selected as pressured because research showed there was more demand for social housing in these areas than there were homes available. This situation would have become worse if tenants living in these homes used their right to buy their home.

The status is renewable. This means that in some high demand areas, we may have to reapply for pressured area status in ten years' time.

Who is affected?

Pressured area status applies to our tenants and housing association tenants. You will be affected, and your right to buy your home will be suspended, if one of the following applies:

  • you are a tenant living in a 1 bedroom property
  • you are a tenant living in a pressured area

and one of the following applies:

  •  you became a tenant after 30 September 2002
  •  you were a tenant before 30 September 2002, but did not have the right to buy your home when your tenancy started
  •  you succeeded to (inherited) your tenancy after 30 September 2002 (This does not apply in all cases. You should contact us for more information)

Which properties are affected? 

All 1 bedroom properties in North Ayrshire are pressured regardless of location or house type. In addition all homes in the areas listed below are also pressured:   

  • Dreghorn
  • Drybridge
  • Fairlie
  • Isle of Arran
  • Isle of Cumbrae
  • Kilwinning
  • Largs
  • Skelmorlie
  • West Kilbride

Areas of Irvine:

  • Bourtreehill
  • Castlepark
  • Chapeltoun
  • Girdle Toll
  • Harbourside
  • Irvine East
  • Lawthorn
  • Montgomerie Park
  • Woodlands

How long will the right to buy my home be suspended for?

The current pressured area status designation suspends your right to buy your home for ten years. 

In North Ayrshire the suspension will apply from 27 March 2013 until 26 March 2023.

More information

If you are a Council tenant and live in any of the areas listed above or a 1 bedroom property, please contact your local area housing office.

If you are a tenant of a Housing Association and live in any of the areas listed above or a 1 bedroom property, please contact your landlord to discuss your individual circumstances. 

 

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