Can I Buy My Parents’ Council House?

Many times council housing tenants tend to purchase their council homes once they are able to provide the funds to do as council houses are relatively cheaper in comparison to privately owned property. Through this blog post, we will explore whether or not someone can purchase their parents’ council house; if yes, under what conditions and if they cant do so what are the other options available to them. We will also discuss council housing tenancy, your role as a tenant and buyer as well as wheether council houses can be rented out or sold once purchased from the authorities.

Can I Buy My Parents’ Council House?

Yes, you can buy your parents’ council house if you are able to fulfil the following conditions:

  • The council house is the applicant’s main home
  • The property is self-contained
  • The applicant is a secure tenant
  • The applicant has had a public sector landlord for at least five years

If you live with your parents, you can file a joint application and apply for co-ownership. However, if you will not be sharing the council house with your parents, one of the options is to purchase the council house under the Right to Buy scheme. Through this, council houses can be purchased by local council tenants but there are certain basic conditions to be met. 

However, if you have not lived with your parents for at least the past 12 months, you cannot apply to purchase a council house under the Right To Buy scheme. You may be able to provide the funds for purchasing the council house but the property will remain under the ownership of the parents in this case.

There is also an option of buying your council house under a joint application. In this case, it is essential for the applicant to either file their council house application with someone as their joint owner and be willing to share their responsibilities as a house owner or have up to three family members (who have lived with them for at least 12 months) willing to share ownership rights.

Under “Preserved Right To Buy” you can purchase a council house that you lived in but the council sold it to a housing association landlord.

In case, you are a housing association tenant, you can apply for the purchase of your council house by filling out the  Right to Acquire Application form. To be eligible, you must spend at least three years as a council house tenant and fulfil all the eligibility criteria that apply to local council tenants. However, you should not apply under the Right To Buy or Preserved Right To Buy schemes.

Voluntary Right To Buy allows you to purchase a council house that you may not have lived in.

Can I Take Over My Mum’s Council House?

Yes, you can take over your mum’s council house if you are able to fulfil the following conditions:

  • The council house is your main home
  • You have lived there for at least 12 months 
  • It is a secure tenancy
  • There is no partner to inherit the council housing tenancy

If the tenancy agreement of the premises in question started before April 1, 2012, you will gain succession rights to the council house of a family member if you’ve lived at least a year with them. However, if the tenancy agreement started on or after April 1, 2012, you have succession rights only if you meet all the conditions that are pre-set in the tenancy agreement.

What Is The Right To Buy Scheme?

The Right To Buy scheme was originally introduced in the UK around 40 years ago with the aim to provide discounts to council housing tenants who wish to purchase the property that they have lived in for a certain number of years. Although the scheme is now abolished in Wales and Scotland, council housing tenants in Northern Ireland and England continue to benefit from it as long as they can prove the following to confirm eligibility:

  • they are currently living in the council home and it is their main residence
  • none of the rooms is being shared with anyone else other than household members
  • the applicant is under a secure tenancy agreement with their council housing landlord
  • the applicant has been a council housing tenant for a minimum of three years
  • there are no pending debt disputes against the applicant

Joint tenants are also required to fulfil the above criteria if they wish to apply for council house purchase under this scheme. In fact, applicants can apply with up to three family members who have lived with them for up to 12 months.

How Can I Apply For Right To Buy?

Under the Right To Buy (RTB) scheme you will be required to follow the below steps in order to purchase your council house:

  • Fill out an online RTB application form by providing the desired information.
  • Save a copy of the online form, print it and send it to your landlord.
  • Wait for your landlord’s response. (This may take anywhere between 4 to 8 weeks).

Your landlord may either choose to refuse by stating their reasons; which you can choose to appeal should you not agree with the decision.

In case of their agreement to sell, the landlord’s response will include their offer as well as the following:

  • their asking price for the property
  • the amount of discount that they are willing to offer
  • a detailed description of the property along with any land that is part of it 
  • details of any structural problems with the property or any service charges due

Can I Get A Discount On Purchasing A Council House?

Yes, if you are eligible for the Right To Buy scheme you will get a discount on purchasing a council house to a  maximum limit of £84,000 across England (except for certain boroughs in London where it is £112,800). The amount keeps increasing with the rise in the rate of inflation every year.

The discount that you may avail yourself on purchasing a council house is primarily is based on the following factors:

  • The number of years that you’ve been a council housing tenant
  • Whether you intend to purchase a flat or a house
  • The monetary value of the property you intend to purchase

In the case of purchasing a council house, you may be able to get a 35 per cent discount; while in the case of a flat, it will be 50 per cent if you’ve lived in a council housing facility for between three to five years.

However, if you have applied under the Right To Aquire scheme, you will be able to get a discount of around £9,000 to £16,000 on the price of your property; depending upon where you live in the UK. This discount may reduce if you have previously applied under a Right To Buy or Right To Acquire scheme.

The Right to Buy calculator can help you learn more about the discounts you are eligible for.

How Long After Buying A Council House Can You Sell It?

Although you can legally sell your council house anytime after the purchase and completion of documentation for transfer for ownership, however, if you sell it before the end of a five-year term, you will have to repay the discount that you availed under the Right to Buy Scheme. 

Similarly, if you sell your council house before the end of a ten-year term, you will first have to offer it for sale to your council authorities or social housing landlord before you list the property for sale in the open market. If the landlord does not agree to buy the property or there is a conflict in the price that you offer versus the one they are willing to pay and there is no settlement between both the parties within 8 weeks, you can list your council house for sale in the open market.

If you intend to sell your council house after purchasing it, you may not be able to do so without foregoing the discount you availed through the Right To Buy scheme until you’ve lived in the property for a minimum of 5 years after the purchase. 

This means that if you sell the property within the first year of purchasing it from the local council authorities or a social housing landlord, you will have to repay the entire amount of the discount that you availed during the purchase. 

How Long After Buying A Council House Can You Rent It Out?

You can rent out your council house immediately after buying the property as there is no legal restriction on renting the place out once the process of transfer of ownership and other legal documentation is complete. In fact, according to some estimates, nearly 40 per cent of council property is rented out after it has been bought by tenants. 

Your local council may charge a one-time subletting fee which can be discussed with their legal team once you’ve made your decision to rent out the property and informed the council authorities.

Conclusion:

The detailed discussion in this article makes it clear that you can buy your parents’ council house. However, you can only purchase a council house in your name if you fulfil certain basic criteria which include living in the council property for at least a year before buying it. In the other case, you may be able to provide finance that can be used in purchasing a council house for your parents but the ownership of the property will not be in your name.

FAQs: Can I Buy My Parents’ Council House?

Can a family member help me buy my council house?

Yes, a family member can help you buy your council house by providing the necessary funds. However, legal ownership of the property remains in the name of the eligible tenants.

Can my son inherit my council house?

Yes, your son can inherit your council house especially if you are a Secure Tenant and there has been no previous succession to the property.

Can council houses be passed down?

Yes, council houses can be passed down but this can only be applied once per the tenancy agreement. For instance, if the tenancy has been passed down from one person to another, the successor will not be able to pass it down again. 

How much money can be legally given to a family member as a gift UK?

The annual amount of tax-free gift money in the UK is £3,000. This means if you gift this sum of money to your family members (usually children and grandchildren) there will be no inheritance tax due on it.  While you can gift money that is in excess of this amount, you must be careful that it does not count as deprivation of assets.

Can my parents give me 100k?

Yes, your parents can give you 1000k (or any other amount); however, should the person who has gifted this amount dies within a period of 7 years after transferring the amount, it will be counted towards their estate to calculate the amount of inheritance tax. In the case of a monetary gift that sums to £100,000, out of this the amount of £3,000 will be considered as a tax-free gift allowance while the remaining £97,000 will be classified as a potentially exempt transfer. 

References:

Buying Council Flat: Right To Buy – HomeOwners Alliance

Right To Buy Mortgage Scheme

Council housing: Buy your council home – GOV.UK

Right to Buy: buying your council home – GOV.UK

Right to Acquire: buying your housing association home – GOV.UK

How house buyers can get a £110,000 discount by buying their home off the council – Mirror Online

Right to Buy: buying your council home: Selling your home – GOV.UK

Buying on good authority | Money | The Guardian

Right to Buy homes made £2.8m in profit ‘in weeks’ – BBC News

Can I Rent Out My Right To Buy Home? | Huuti

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