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. Government is funding the discounts. The Midlands pilot is being launched to test the policy, Castle Vale Community Housing is taking part.
The pilot is being launched in summer 2018.
How to apply
Tenants must apply on the Government’s VRTB website to obtain a unique reference number (URN).
The gateway on the website will open at 9am on launch day, and will be open for one calendar month.
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.
The application process
To apply, tenants must follow these steps:
- Enter basic details into the Government website to apply for a URN.
- Receive email confirmation that your registration has been received and wait until you receive a URN. This will come via email letting you know you have been successful
- Submit application to your housing association including your URN – You can download the application for the Right To Buy Website and hand back into our office: 11 High St, Castle Vale, Birmingham, B35 7PR, with all evidence documents attached
- Your URN is valid for four weeks from receipt. After that it will expire and you will no longer be able to apply. 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.
- During the application process you will be required to pay an admin fee of £250.00, which is only refundable if the sale completes or if we have to turn you down. If you choose to leave the process – e.g. for financial or practical reasons – this fee will not be refunded.
- Once we have accepted your application we will contact you to let you know whether your home can be sold, and at this point we will organise a surveyor that you choose to value your home
- Once we have confirmed your discount and home value, we will make an offer and you then have 4 weeks to accept your offer; and we have 12 weeks to complete the sale. You are then a successful home owner!
If you have received your URN number from The Government’s website then click here to apply
Right to Buy sites to register and advice:
The Pioneer Group/CVCHA:
Ophelia Kainth: Homes Sales Officer
Tel: 0121 748 8195
The pilot is for “general needs” properties, which does not include supported housing. Tenants living in supported housing cannot apply. Please review our helpful guides and policy to review which properties are exempt from the pilot. You can also review the tenant eligibility here.
Under the voluntary agreement, the presumption is that housing associations will offer to sell tenants the property which they are living in and we would expect them to do so in the majority of cases.
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.
This includes, at a national level, leasehold houses (but not leasehold flats).
In our case, we may not be able to sell you your own home if your home or tenure type is one of the following:
Homes allocated for Older Persons or people with support needs; 4 and 5 bedroom homes; Bungalows; General Needs High Rise Tower Blocks; Homes where a Section 106 Agreement applies; Market Rent, Shared Ownership, Mortgage Rescue Scheme, Rent to Buy and Shared Living homes. The reasons they are excluded are included in our policy, where you can also review how we will support portability options.
The discount is worked out in an identical way to the statutory Right to Buy for council tenants. Please visit the below sites to give you an idea of the discounts you may be able to get:
Costs to consider
As part of buying your home, you will have to consider the following costs:
- Legal costs – solicitor/conveyance
- The £250 application fee
- Mortgage broker or adviser may charge a fee, if you take out a mortgage
- Land registry fee
- Stamp Duty if applicable
- Removal costs
Once you are the homeowner, a number of responsibilities will become yours:
- Freeholders: all maintenance and repair costs
- Leaseholders (flats only): internal improvements and routine repairs. External repairs and improvements and major structural repairs to the whole block will be the responsibility of the landlord, but you may have to pay service charges each year, and are likely to have to meet the costs of major repairs and refurbishment, which can be substantial.
- Home insurance
Where to get advice
- Government VRTB webpage
- Government’s Right to Buy Agents
- Citizens Advice
- Mortgage Advice Bureau
Think twice before getting advice from any agency that asks you for money to help you. They may be asking you to pay for advice you could just as easily get free of charge from one of the resources above.