You may have heard about the initial pilot involving five housing associations that took place in 2016. The new pilot in the Midlands will test out other aspects of the scheme. This means that some assured tenants of housing associations living in general needs properties (this applies to general family housing and dwellings for singles and couples and which is not part of an Independent Living Scheme or an Extra Care Housing complex) in the Midlands may be able to buy their home from their housing provider. The pilot will be operated on a voluntary basis by housing associations and underpinned by a national agreement between the National Housing Federation and Government.
We will be taking part in this new pilot which is likely to begin in Summer 2018 (date to be confirmed). There is no confirmation yet of when the VRTB will be rolled out on a national basis. Keep checking the Government’s Right to Buy website for updates.
It is important to note that the Government has allocated a limited amount of money to fund this pilot and will decide when to stop the pilot depending on how much money is left. It is therefore vital that you keep up to date with the latest developments by looking on the Government’s Right to Buy website.
Whilst we will be able to decide certain aspects of our policy and procedure, a number of the rules for the pilot will be set by the Government – including the decision on who is eligible to purchase their home and from what areas.
This page will be updated regularly to provide further details about the pilot.
Please find below some answers to initial questions that you may have about the pilot. We will continue to add to this with further information.
From 1st October 2018, Fortis Living and Waterloo Housing Group will join together in a new partnership. The documents and approach described below reflect our agreed joint approach to Voluntary Right to Buy.
The Government has decided that only the following local authority areas will be included in the Midlands pilot (your local authority area is the council you pay your council tax to). Tenants in homes outside these areas are not able to apply to participate:
Amber Valley Borough Council
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council
Ashfield District Council
North East Derbyshire District Council
Bassetlaw District Council
North Kesteven District Council
Birmingham City Council
North Warwickshire Borough Council
Blaby District Council
North West Leicestershire District Council
Bolsover District Council
Northampton Borough Council
Boston Borough Council
Nottingham City Council
Bromsgrove District Council
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council
Broxtowe Borough Council
Oadby and Wigston Borough Council
Cannock Chase District Council
Redditch Borough Council
Charnwood Borough Council
Rugby Borough Council
Chesterfield Borough Council
Rushcliffe Borough Council
Corby Borough Council
Rutland County Council
Coventry City Council
Daventry District Council
Derby City Council
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
Derbyshire Dales District Council
South Derbyshire District Council
Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
South Holland District Council
East Lindsey District Council
South Kesteven District Council
East Northamptonshire Council
South Northamptonshire Council
East Staffordshire Borough Council
South Staffordshire Council
Erewash Borough Council
Stafford Borough Council
Gedling Borough Council
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council
Harborough District Council
Stoke-on-Trent City Council
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
High Peak Borough Council
Tamworth Borough Council
Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
Telford and Wrekin Council
Kettering Borough Council
Leicester City Council
Warwick District Council
Lichfield District Council
Wellingborough, Borough Council of
Lincoln – City of Lincoln Council
West Lindsey District Council
Malvern Hills District Council
Wolverhampton – City of Wolverhampton Council
Mansfield District Council
Worcester City Council
Melton Borough Council
Wychavon District Council
Newark and Sherwood District Councli
Wyre Forest District Council
Some tenants will not be able to apply for the VRTB Midlands Pilot. The Government will publish further guidance about the rules around eligibility. Keep checking the Government’s Right to Buy website for further updates. Our Voluntary Right to Buy Sales Policy (below) sets out further details on who is eligible to take part.
|Voluntary Right to Buy Sales Policy.pdf, 343 k||Download|
Some basic checks will include:
Only properties in one of the areas listed above will be included.
The VRTB Midlands pilot is only open to tenants living in a general needs property. This applies to general family housing and dwellings for singles and couples and which is not part of an Independent Living Scheme or an Extra Care Housing complex.
You will not be eligible for the Midlands VRTB pilot if you already have the Preserved Right to Buy or Statutory Right to Buy. This is likely to be the case if you were a secure council tenant and you were living in your home when it was transferred from the Council to us. It could also be applicable if you then moved to another home owned by us. If you are not sure whether you have the Preserved Right to Buy please Contact Us.
This does not need to have been with the same landlord, or a single continuous tenancy.
You must prove that the property is your main home and that you have lived in it for at least the last 12 months. If you are eligible, you can make an application for the VRTB Regional Pilot. This can be made as an individual or jointly with up to three family members who have lived with you for the past 12 months. Applicants that apply to purchase the home with you don’t need to be on your tenancy agreement, but it must be their main home. You will need to provide proof that that they have lived in the property for at least 12 months and that they do not own an interest in any other property.
Please remember that there are a number of other checks that we will need to carry out to check whether you meet the Government’s requirements for this Midlands pilot. We will confirm if you are eligible once you apply.
Whilst you may be eligible to purchase your property, there will be certain properties that we will not be able to sell. Where this is the case, we will let you know why, and where appropriate, will look to work with you to “port your discount” (see question 4). This means that you may be able to purchase another suitable property in your area instead. Our Portable Discount Policy (below) sets out further details about how this works.
|Appendix A - VRTB Portable Discount Policy.pdf, 196 k||Download|
The Government has decided that the VRTB Midlands pilot will only apply to general needs properties, this applies to general family housing and dwellings for singles and couples and which is not part of an Independent Living Scheme or an Extra Care Housing complex. Under the voluntary agreement, the presumption is that housing associations will offer to sell eligible tenants the property they are living in. However, there may be occasions where a housing association is unable to sell tenants their current homes.
It is therefore important to note that whilst you may be eligible to purchase your property based on eligibility checks, there may be other reasons why we cannot sell you your property. Our VRTB Sales Policy provides full details about the list of properties that will be exempt from purchase under the pilot. This includes, but is not limited to:
Please note that this list is not exhaustive and so please register your interest to be given confirmation that your property could be eligible. If your property is exempt from the VRTB Pilot due to one of the reasons set out in our policy, and you are eligible for the pilot, we will let you know. We will also work with you to offer you the opportunity to “port”/use your discount to purchase another suitable property in your area. Please see our Portable Discount Policy (link to policy) for full details about how this works.
If you are eligible, but we tell you that your property is exempt, you should be able to “port” your discount to purchase another suitable property in your area. This may be one of our properties or another housing association. Please note that there are time restrictions associated with the portable discount – this is explained in our policy and flowchart. There are a number of factors that will determine what alternative properties will be available to you. We will look to find suitable properties based on your need and you will also be responsible for identifying suitable alternatives via Homes Direct and other Choice Based Lettings (CBL) systems. Registering on Homes Direct/CBL will mean that you may be able to look at porting your discount to properties available from other housing providers. Please see our Portable Discount Policy and flow chart for full details about how this works.
You will not be eligible for the VRTB, but please get in touch with Waterloo Homes if you would like to buy a further share in your home
The amount of discount you will receive on your property will be determined by a calculation set by the Government. The discount is worked out in an identical way to the statutory Right to Buy for council tenants. You can find out roughly how much discount you may get by using the discount calculator on the Right to Buy website
Example: Mrs Stevens has been a public sector and/or housing association tenant for 10 years. Her 2 bedroom house has been valued at £150,000.
Current house value: £150,000
Years as a tenant: 10 years
Eligible discount: (35% + 1% for each year over 5 years) = 40%
Discount value: £60,000
Amount Mrs Stevens will pay for house (£150,000 - £60,000) = £90,000
Buying a home is a big decision. It is important that you think carefully about the responsibilities, costs and other commitments that this will bring. These can include:
We recommend that you look into the costs of home ownership before you get too far into the VRTB process. You are responsible for arranging how you finance your purchase and obtaining the necessary advice on this. Make sure whoever you get advice from is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You will be asked to confirm that you can afford the property that you are looking to purchase.
If you decide to sell your property within 10 years of buying it through the VRTB, we will have the first right of refusal, i.e. you must first offer the property to us. We will let you know whether we wish to buy the property within eight weeks of you getting in touch.
You will also be required to pay back some or all of the discount if you sell your property on within the first five years as below:
You will also be required to pay back some or all of the discount if you sub-let the property within the first five years, as below:
The pilot has not started yet. The Government will announce the start date. We will provide further information about how the application process will work as soon as we can. Here are the initial steps you will need to take once the pilot starts:
Step 1: Will you be eligible to take part?
Government-funded Right to Buy Agents can provide you with free and impartial advice on the rules and requirements of the scheme. The Agents can also help you as you go through the process and advise you on issues such as affordability, costs of home ownership and fraud.
Right to Buy Agents:
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 0300 123 0913
Step 2: Register your interest and apply to get a Unique Reference Number from the Government
If you believe you are eligible for the VRTB you will have to register your interest on the Government’s VRTB website and apply for a Unique Reference Number (URN). This website will be launched once the pilot starts.
This is a really important step as we will not be able to send you an application form unless you can confirm your number. 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 that you will be able to buy your home. This depends on the eligibility of your home and its affordability to you. If you receive a URN, it will only be valid for four weeks from receipt. After that it will expire and you will no longer be able to apply.
The Government will decide when to stop issuing URNs depending on how much funding it has left for the pilot - we cannot influence this. If this is the case, you will need to wait until it reopens before applying a URN.
Things to note:
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 below resources: