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Council House Sales

Many Council tenants have the Right to Buy their Council properties. This right allows them to buy and take over the maintenance of the property. Discounts are available to tenants who take up this right, but there are some exemptions.

Tenants who are thinking about buying their Council property will also have to take into consideration the additional costs of the process.

Information is given about all these issues and the procedure is fully explained below.


Frequently Asked Questions

I am a Council tenant. Can I buy my house?

Most tenants who hold a Scottish Secure Tenancy have the Right to Buy their Council house or flat if they have occupied their home continuously for at least five years leading up to the application. Tenants can apply jointly with one or more members of their family, provided they are at least 18 years old and have lived at the address continuously for the 6 months immediately before the application.

Are there any exemptions to the Right to Buy?

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2010 came into force on 1 March 2011 and any new tenants whose tenancies begin after this date will no longer have the right to buy their home. This includes people who become joint tenants after this date.

Tenants with existing Right to Buy entitlements are not affected unless they transfer to new supply social housing after this date.

Tenants who have rent or council tax arrears, or have any other housing related debt, or who are subject to an Anti-social Behaviour Order, may not be eligible to purchase.

Some properties are exempt from the Right to Buy, including:

How do I apply to buy my Council property?

Application packs are available from all ACCESS Offices and Housing Headquarters (see address below).

If I buy my Council property, am I entitled to any discount?

The discount that tenants are eligible for depends on the length of time spent in occupation of a property provided by any one of the relevant landlords. This includes local authorities, Registered Social Landlords (e.g. registered housing associations) and property owned by Government Departments and other public bodies. A full list of relevant landlords is contained with the application form (Form APP2).

Occupation can include time spent:

If the current tenancy began prior to 30th September 2002, the level of discount depends on the type of property and the length of time the tenant has occupied relevant properties continuously.

If the property is a house (detached, semi-detached or terraced), the discount starts at 32% after 2 years and goes up by 1% for every complete year to a maximum of 60% after 30 years tenancy.

If the property is a flat or maisonette (including 4 in block properties), the discount is higher. Discount starts at 44% after 2 years and increases by 2% per complete year to a maximum of 70% after 15 years tenancy.

If the tenancy began after 30th September 2002 (including transfers), there is no distinction in the levels of discount between houses and flats.

There is a minimum discount of 20% after 5 years, which increases by 1% for every complete year to a maximum of 35% of the market value after 20 years tenancy, or £15,000, whichever is the lower.

In certain very limited circumstances, a tenancy that began after 30 September 2002 may be treated as if it had commenced before that date e.g. where a tenant has had to move because the house they occupied is to be demolished, or if the tenancy passes by succession to a deceased tenant’s partner.  The Council can provide full details of those exceptions on request.

What's the procedure once I apply to buy my Council property?

An acknowledgement letter will be sent within 5 working days of receipt of an application to purchase.

From the date an application to purchase is made, the council only has a responsibility to carry out emergency repairs to the property. The property will also be removed from any planned maintenance or improvement programme.

The Council has two months from the date of application in which to send out a formal offer of sale. During this time, a number of other things will take place:

The District Valuer will contact the applicant to arrange an appointment to value the property.

The local Housing Officer will also arrange an appointment with the applicant once the deed plan has been prepared.  It is important that the applicant confirms the plan is correct as it shows the garden ground, etc, that will be sold. Neighbours will also be asked to verify the plan.

It is important that these appointments are kept, otherwise the sale of the house could be delayed.

The offer will contain information about how the selling price is calculated. The selling price is usually the market value of the property, less any discount entitlement. However, the cost of any repairs, maintenance and improvements carried out during the last 10 years is taken into consideration and can affect the price. This is known as the cost floor rule - the offer of sale will indicate if this has affected the selling price.

Applicants have two months from the date of the offer to accept or reject the offer.

The average time that it takes to complete a Council house sale is 26 weeks from the date of application.

Could my application be refused?

If the applicant has not continuously occupied properties provided by any one of the relevant landlords for the required 5 year period, their application will be refused.

Tenants who have rent or council tax arrears, or have any other housing related debt, or who are subject to an Anti-social Behaviour Order, may not be eligible to purchase.

If there are any grounds for refusal of the application, the applicant will usually be notified within one month of the date of application.

What other costs do I need to consider?

Although the council makes no administrative charge to tenants who apply to purchase, there are other costs associated with buying a Council house.

I would like to purchase some ground which is adjacent to my Council property. Can I do so?

If there is an area of ground adjacent to the property that is not included with the tenancy, the council can consider selling this. This would be separate from the application to purchase the council house and the price of the additional area would not be discounted. Any application to purchase such an area of ground should be made in writing to Housing Headquarters, indicating the exact location, and stating the proposed use of the ground.

As well as the purchase price of the ground, applicants would be liable for the council's reasonable expenses, e.g. the valuation fee, legal fees, the cost of having a plan prepared and their own legal expenses.

Who do I contact for further information?

Housing Officer (Technical)

William Wallace House
Orchard Loan
Orchardbank Business Park
Forfar DD8 1WH

Tel: 01307 474781

Local ACCESS Office.

Information is also available in the Scottish Government's booklet, "Your Right to Buy Your Home".

Service Page: councilhousesales.htm
Service Details Last Reviewed : 15 October 2013

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