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Right to Buy

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Wednesday 8 July 2009 9.11am
There was a newly formed organisation about right to buy etc., and the legality of charges against people who live on estates. plonker that I am I can't remember what it was called or where it was that I read that information.
A friend of mine in her sixties purchased her flat about ten years ago and since then has continually been charged for ' repairs' improvements etc..
The latest is she is being asked to pay 9000 towards the p.v.c windows which makes her debt to the council now 33,000..
She recently phoned and asked the council to buy back her two bed.flat and was told that they would do so at half the market price and she would still owe the 33,000..
I said get that in writing as the person she spoke to may have got his facts wrong!
Has any one else heard of this?
Wednesday 8 July 2009 1.38pm
That doesn't seem right to me. As I understand it, the homeowner is liable to pay back in full the discount they got at the time of purchase if they sell within a certain period. Another requirement with some RTB schemes is that you have to offer the local authority/housing association first refusal (right of pre-emption) on any sale before placing on the open market.

However, if she has lived there for over ten years as you say, then she is not likely to be subject to this.

Also, when she bought the property, she should have been given a notice setting out details of any planned works which the local authority intends to undertake, thereby giving an idea of how much it is likely to cost.

Assuming it is Southwark Council, having checked their website and RTB guidance, it certainly doesn't say anything about buying back at half the price; in fact it clearly says that if they take up the right of pre-emption they will pay full open market value.

In conclusion, therefore, I think the person whom she spoke to has misunderstood. I would certainly get it in writing. That said, however, if she owes the council 33,000 for unpaid works, it is likely that they will have taken her to court to get what is known as judgment (a CCJ) against her. In those circumstances, there might be a 'charge' recorded on the property at the Land Registry and that can in some circumstances attract interest. In addition, if she wanted to sell the property, she would have to pay those off as the 'charge' would need to be removed. In practice, however, this would be paid from the proceeds of sale before your frend got any money from the sale. It might be for this reason that the person she spoke to has said she will only get half...

The home ownership unit at Southwark can be contacted on 020 7525 1400

Hope that's of some help.
Wednesday 8 July 2009 3.07pm
Gavin, thank you so much for that :-) she is at her wits end...
Wednesday 8 July 2009 8.34pm
I think rather than sell the property (if that's not what she wants to do), she can ask for a charge against the property, so the council can claim the 33K when it's eventually sold. The home ownership unit is the place to start.

I'm suprised that Southwark is even offering to buy her property, I didn't realise that they were at the moment, however it's generally not a good idea to do it that way if you can avoid it, you'll generally get more money on the open market, the council will obviously expect to get it cheap on the basis that people would sell on the open market if they could.

I think she should get some independent advice before making a decision.

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