Q&A - Must I inform Council if I want to sell home I bought under Right to Buy scheme?

Q: In 2005 I purchased the house I was renting from the Council under the government’s Right to Buy scheme. Now I want to sell the property and move. Do I need to inform the Council about this?

A: As from 10th August 2005, anyone purchasing a property under the Right to Buy scheme is bound by a covenant called “The Right of First Refusal‟. Under section 156A of the Housing Act 1985 (as amended by the Housing Act 2004) the Right of First Refusal applies where there is to be a disposal, e,g. a sale.

The Right of First Refusal was introduced by The Housing Act 2004 to allow social landlords to buy back homes purchased under the Right to Buy scheme and which the owner then wants to sell on. The Government’s aim was to provide a mechanism through which homes sold under the Right to Buy scheme can revert to being social housing where a need exists, at a price that is fair to owners of such properties who wish to resell them, without imposing any undue delay.

Leaseholders and Freeholders who purchased their property through the Right to Buy scheme after 10th August 2005 and who wish to resell the property within 10 years of it being transferred to them must offer their former landlord the Right of First Refusal on purchasing the property.

The former landlord can mean the Council who conveyed the Right to Buy on the property, or its successor if the Council’s housing stock is transferred to another Housing Authority, or another registered Social Landlord nominated by the former landlord. Your solicitor can advise on the procedure for offering your property to the council in accordance with the rules.