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Adur Homes - Right to Buy
Looking to buy your council house or flat?

Adur Homes logo (145)

Who has the Right to Buy?

  • You probably have the right to buy if you are a secure tenant.
  • If your secure tenancy was in existence before 18th January 2005, or you were a public sector tenant before 18th January 2005 (and have constantly been a public sector tenant since that time), you do not have the Right to Buy until you have spent two years as a public sector tenant.
  • For anyone else, you do not have the Right to Buy until you have spent at least five years as a public sector tenant.
  • You will be a tenant if your name appears on the tenancy agreement.
  • The agreement of any tenant who does not wish to apply must be obtained beforehand, and their tenancy will end when the property is bought.
  • Up to three members of your family may share the right to buy with you if the property is their only or principal home and they have lived with you throughout the last 12 months.
  • Your husband or wife may share the right to buy with you if the property is their only or principal home.
  • A person living with you as your husband or wife, but not actually married to you, is regarded as a member of your family.

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Valuations and discounts

  • Properties are valued at the current market rate.
  • The council covers the cost of the valuation.
  • You will receive a discount on this value, the amount will be dependent on your qualifying period. This is the time you have spent, in total, as a public sector tenant or in accommodation provided by the armed forces.
  • You may include time spent with different landlords at various addresses and the dates do not have to follow one another. If you took on a tenancy from your parents, you can include the years lived there from as early as your sixteenth birthday.
  • If there are two of you buying and one person has more tenancy qualification than the other, you will get the higher discount.
  • If you have spent two years as a public sector tenant in order to qualify for the right to buy (see 2nd bullet point under heading 'Who has the Right to Buy?) and you live in a house, your discount will be between 32% and 60%. If you live in a flat, your discount will be between 44% and 70%

Re-determination of the value

  • There is a right to appeal to the District Valuer if you do not agree with the council's valuation.
  • The District Valuer is entirely separate from the council.
  • You must advise the council within three months of receiving your offer notice if you wish the District Valuer to re-value the property.
  • The decision of the District Valuer is final and binding on both sides and whatever valuation they come back with is the one that counts

If you have spent five years as a public sector tenant to qualify for the Right to Buy and you live in a house, your discount will be between 35% and 60%. For a flat the discount will be between 50% and 70%. Please note that the cash limit on the discount for properties in Adur is £75,000.

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Repayment of discount

Once you have bought your home you may sell it whenever you like. However, if you sell your home too early you may have to pay back to the council all or part of your discount. This is worked out as follows:

  • If you applied for the right to buy before the 18th January 2005 and sell within three years: if you sell within the first year after your purchase you will have to pay all your discount back. If you sell in the second year you will have to pay back two-thirds of your discount, one-third in the third year.
  • If you applied for the right to buy from the 18th January 2005 onwards and sell within five years: the amount of discount to be repaid will reduce over a five year period, i.e. if you sell within the first year the entire discount is to be repaid, in the second year four-fifths of the discount, in the third year three-fifths of the discount, and so forth.

Also, the amount of discount to be repaid will be a percentage of the resale value. For example, if your house was valued at £100,000 when you bought it and you received a £20,000 discount, your discount was 20%. When you wish to resell your property is valued at £120,000, the amount to be repaid will be based on 20% of £120,000.

  • If you do re-sell your property within the five year discount re-payment period, any improvements you have made to the property will be exempt from the re-sale value.
  • The council will have discretion under certain exceptional circumstances whether or not to demand repayment of all or part discount.
  • Any deferred sale agreements will also be subject to repayment of discount. Therefore any arrangement made whereby you buy your property with the intent of releasing the discount by agreeing to transfer ownership at the end of the discount repayment period will result in the whole of the discount being repayable.

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Further changes to the Right to Buy

All the following are effective to applications made on or after 18th January 2005 only:

  • If you wish to re-sell your property within ten years you must make an offer of first refusal to the former landlord, the council.
  • Some applications are denied the Right to Buy due to the property being suitable for elderly persons. Any appeal on this decision currently goes to the Secretary of State. This will be transferred to the local Residential Property Tribunal Service.
  • The council will be able to suspend completion on Right to Buy applications if it intends demolishing the property within five years and it has served an initial demolition notice.
  • Any properties scheduled for demolition within the next 24 months will be excluded from the Right to Buy and any pending Right to Buy applications extinguished, provided that the council has served a final demolition order and followed a prescribed notification process.
  • Currently the council may only serve a notice to complete 12 months after serving the Offer Notice. This period will be shortened to three months. Therefore, once you receive an offer notice you have a period of three months to accept the offer and complete the sale. Once the period of three months expires you will be sent a notice giving you a further eight weeks, this is followed by a second notice giving another eight weeks to complete. If the sale has not completed within this time the application will be withdrawn. The council retains discretion to extend the period of completion under exceptional circumstances.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does it cost anything to apply for the Right to Buy?

No. The council does not make any charge for the administration of the Right to Buy. The council will cover the cost of the valuation.

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Am I committed to the Right to Buy once I have accepted the offer?

No. You may withdraw from the Right to Buy at any stage up to completion without incurring any penalties. This will also not affect any future application you may wish to make.

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How long will my application take?

This is impossible to guess, each application is individual and there are so many variables. Our deadlines as set out by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister give 16 weeks as a maximum time for a tenant of a house to wait for an offer for sale would be and for a tenant of a flat, 20 weeks. Most applications are turned around much quicker.

Once you have the offer of sale it is dependent on how quickly you let us know that you wish to proceed with the purchase (you have 12 weeks) and how prepared your solicitor is.

Completion of purchase is usually required within three months of the date of acceptance.

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For further information

For further information about Right to Buy, or to download the Right to Buy application form (RTB1) see:

For copies of the booklet 'Your Right to Buy Your Home' see:

Alternatively you can pop in and collect them from the Adur Civic Centre in Shoreham-by-Sea or Portland House in Richmond Road, Worthing.

For further advice please contact Right to Buy (see contact details right).

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