16 January 2019 | Firm news | Article by Robert Phillips
End of Right to Buy/Acquire in Wales
As we reported in our update below on 25 January 2018, the right for social housing tenants to acquire the freehold (or a long leasehold) of their homes will end in Wales on 26 January 2019. It has already ended in respect of new homes and has been suspended altogether in certain local authority areas. Other exceptions have been in place, including in relation to certain designated rural areas. The right will now cease to apply anywhere in Wales. Immediately before 26 January 2019 the right has been available to two groups. Firstly assured tenants of registered social landlords, provided they were tenants when their homes were transferred by a local authority (or in some circumstances acquired by grant funding). Secondly, secure tenants of local authorities and non-charitable housing associations provided that the tenants have been tenants for more than 5 years.
The right which is ending has allowed tenants to acquire the freehold interest in their homes at a discounted price. The discounted price could be up to £8,000 less than the market value of the property. There remains a short window of opportunity to claim the right by submitting an application form in the next few days, following which a right which has existed since the 1980s will come to an end in Wales.
If you have any queries about how the end of the Right to Buy/Acquire in Wales will affect you, then please contact our Property Litigation team on 029 2066 0589.
As previously discussed in our update in August, Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Bill has received Royal Assent and is now an Act.
The Right to Buy was introduced in the 1980s to allow those eligible to buy their council or housing association property at a discount. Since it was introduced, the size of the social housing stock has declined significantly.
The Housing (Wales) Measure 2011 gave local authorities in Wales the ability to apply to the Welsh Government to suspend the Right to Buy for a period of five years. Many local authorities applied and succeeded in suspending the right.
The Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Bill was introduced on 13 March 2017 and the Assembly voted to agree the general principles of the Bill on 18 July 2017.
The Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Act 2018 received Royal Assent on 24 January 2018.
The Right to Buy, Preserved Right to Buy and Right to Acquire will end for new homes two months from Royal Assent (24 March 2018).
For existing properties the Right to Buy, Preserved Right to Buy and Right to Acquire will end on 26 January 2019.