Right to Buy (Midlands VRTB Pilot)

image: Right to Buy (Midlands VRTB Pilot)

We're taking part in the Government’s Right to Buy (RTB) pilot in the Midlands. This will allow some housing association tenants to buy the home that they rent from us at a discounted rate.  These are the local authority areas included:

image: Right to Buy logo
  • Birmingham
  • Bromsgrove
  • Daventry
  • East Northamptonshire
  • Kettering
  • North Warwickshire
  • Northampton
  • Sandwell
  • Solihull
  • Walsall
  • Warwick.

If you were eligible, the first step was to register for the Government’s VRTB ballot through the midlands.righttobuy.gov.uk website. The ballot was open for a month from 16 August and is now closed.
The Government will email you to confirm if you’ve been successful or unsuccessful in the ballot. We expect them to send out the emails from 24 September onwards. Make sure you check your junk mail folder too.

You can contact the Government’s Right to Buy agents if you have any queries about the ballot. Call 0300 123 0913 (open Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm) or email enquiry@righttobuyagent.org.uk.

If you have been successful, they’ll send you a Unique Reference Number (URN). You may not get this immediately. If you have a URN, the next step is to continue the registration process through Optivo's free online service for residents, MyAccount. You just need to log in, click on the ‘Services’ button and navigate to the ‘My Information’ section and select ‘Buy my home’. It's then a matter of following the onscreen instructions to progress your application.  
Please note: You must apply to us within four weeks of receiving your URN.

If you need assistance with your application, please call us on 0800 121 60 60 and ask for our Homeownership team, as they will be able to advise further.
 

Want to know more?

Our frequently asked questions below look to provide you with everything you need to know:
 
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    • Costs and affordability

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      • How is the discount calculated?
        • Your discount will depend on the number of years you’ve been a tenant of social or affordable housing.

          This is known as the qualifying period.  This does not need to be with the same landlord or a continuous period. This includes time spent holding an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST).

          For freehold sales (houses), you’re entitled to a 35% discount if you’ve been a tenant of social or affordable housing for three to five years.  You’re entitled to a further 1% for each additional whole year.  This is up to a current maximum discount of 70% or £80,900, whichever is lower.

          For leasehold sales (flats), you’re entitled to a 50% discount if you’ve been a tenant of social or affordable housing for three to five years.  You’re entitled to a further 2% for each additional whole year.  This is up to a current maximum discount of 70% or £80,900, whichever is lower.

          If you’ve previously received funding under Right to Buy, Preserved Right to Buy or Right to Acquire, we’ll reduce your discount by that amount.

          We’ll deduct your discount from the market valuation of the property you’re buying.

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      • How much stamp duty will I pay?
        • The stamp duty you pay will be calculated on the discounted price for your property.

          For example if your home is worth £200,000 but you have a discount of 50% then you will be liable for stamp duty on £100,000.

          Visit the Government's website for more details on Stamp Duty.
           

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      • What other costs are involved in buying my home?
        • As well as the £250 administration fee, you’ll have to pay legal fees to your solicitor, mortgage fees (if applicable), stamp duty, and disabled facilities grant repayment (if applicable).

          You’ll also have ongoing costs such as mortgage payments, service charge payments, buildings insurance, and you’ll be responsible for some or all of the maintenance of the property after completion
           

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      • Can I afford it?
        • Buying a home is a big decision.

          It’s a good idea to find out if you can afford to purchase and maintain your home before you apply.

          We suggest you:

          - Have a look at the properties for sale and the recent sale prices to get a rough idea of your home’s value. The following websites are worth looking at:

          www.rightmove.co.uk
          www.nethouseprice.co.uk
          www.zoopla.co.uk 

          - You can then use the Government’s online calculator to get an estimate for the discount you’d get.

          - Using an online mortgage calculator such as the Money Advice Service will help you to see how much you could borrow for a mortgage.

          - To establish if your mortgage is affordable it's important to work out your income and outgoings. Budget planning is important. We recommend trying the budgeting tools available on these websites:

          www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk
          www.righttobuy.org.uk

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    • About the RTB pilot

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      • Can I buy my home?
        • You must meet all the following eligibility criteria set by the Government:


          - You must have been a tenant of social or affordable housing for at least three years (this doesn’t have to be continuous or exclusively with Optivo)
          - You must have an undemoted Secure or Assured tenancy
          - You must have been living in your current home for at least 12 months
          - You must be a British National or settled in the UK
          - You must have a clear rent account at the point of completion.

          You are not eligible if you:

          - Are subject to legal proceedings for a breach of tenancy
          - Live in shared housing
          - Are a shared owner
          - Are a resident of housing for older people, co-operative housing, or alms-house, student, keyworker or hostel accommodation
          - Are currently subject to the Mortgage Rescue Scheme
          - Already own a property
          - Are subject to bankruptcy proceedings or unfulfilled credit arrangements.

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      • Can I apply with someone else?
        • Yes, you can.

          You can apply jointly with a spouse, civil partner, and/or up to three family members.

          All applicants must demonstrate:

          - It is their main home
          - It has been their home for at least 12 months, even if they’re not named on the tenancy agreement.

          If a joint tenant doesn’t wish to buy their home, you must get their agreement before you apply. Their tenancy will end once you buy your home and they’ll have no legal right to live at the property as a tenant.

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      • Will I be able to buy the home I’m living in now?
        • Most eligible customers with a URN will be able to buy their current home, if they can afford it.

          Some properties are excluded from the pilot. You won’t be able to buy your home if it’s:

          - Due for a change of use or significant refurbishment, or to be redeveloped, sold, or demolished
          - Supported housing, including Extra Care housing where ongoing management or replacement may be difficult or costly
          - A property we are unable to sell because of planning restrictions, restrictive covenants, nominations agreements, or for other legal or regulatory reasons.
          - A property where we don’t receive 100% of the compensation for the sale, as agreed in transfer arrangements
          - A property where the discount would reduce the price below what we have spent on building, buying, repairing, or improving your home.

          If we’re not able to sell your home, we’ll offer you an alternative property to buy using your discount. You won’t be able to use the discount to buy on the open market.

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      • Will I be able to sell or rent out my home once I’ve bought it?
        • If you decide to sell or rent out your home within the first five years, you’ll have to pay back some or all of the discount you received.

          The amount you’ll pay back depends on the property’s value at that time, and how long you’ve owned your home.

          Find out more

          Can't find what you are looking for?

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      • What next?
      • How do I apply?
        • If you were eligible, the first step was to register for the Government’s VRTB ballot through the midlands.righttobuy.gov.uk website. The ballot is now closed.

          If you’re successful in the ballot, the Government will give you a unique reference number (URN). You can only apply to buy your home from us if you have a URN.

          You must apply to us within four weeks of receiving your URN.

          CLICK HERE TO APPLY FOR THE BALLOT

          Once you’ve got a URN, you can complete our online application form.

          You must be registered with MyAccount to apply. Please note, you won’t be able to apply through the mobile app, you’ll need to visit the website version (www.optivo.org.uk/myaccount).

          If you pass our initial checks, you’ll need to pay us an application fee of £250.

          We’ll refund this if you or your property are not eligible (and you don’t accept an alternative property). We’ll also refund this if you successfully complete your purchase.

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      • Will homes that are sold be replaced?
        • Yes – any homes that are sold will be replaced in a flexible way that responds to local needs.

          This will be on a national one-for-one basis through new supply.

          The sector as a whole will need to work together to ensure that the replacements by individual housing associations meet this national one-for-one commitment.

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      • How long will the new pilot last? Why is it only in the Midlands?
        • The Government has made £200 million available to fund the Midlands pilot.

          It’s likely to run for two years from Summer 2018.

          As there’s limited funding, not all tenants who apply on the Government’s website will obtain a Unique Reference Number (URN).

          The Government chose to carry out the VRTB pilot in the Midlands because it has a good mix of different communities, types of homes and operating markets and so would make a good test for key aspects like portability and one-for-one replacement.
           

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      • I don’t live in the pilot area, will I be able to buy my home?
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