Right to buy: Tenants told 'be cautious'
Published 8 Jun 2012 17:55 0 Comments
SOCIAL housing tenants are being urged to seek independent financial advice before taking up the Government's offer of a £75,000 discount when buying their council home.
The Coalition's right to buy scheme is available to those who have been living in a council property for at least five years. The discount starts at 35% and increases by 1% to a maximum of 60% or £75,000 - whichever is lower - for those in houses and by 2% annually to 70% or £75,000 for tenants in flats.
But Reading Borough Council housing leader, Rachel Eden, said taking on a mortgage was one of the biggest financial decisions a person could make and it was important they got independent advice on what was best for them and their family.
Cllr Eden added: "What worries me about the focus the Conservatives are putting on this policy is that it doesn't help Reading's residents who are currently seeking security of accommodation, whether through buying their property or their own secure tenancy in the social sector.
"What I'd like to see them doing instead is reconsidering the slash in public investment in housing and restoring the confidence of private sector developers."
Housing minister Grant Shapps described the decision to buy a house or flat as a "life-changing step" and said the Government intended to replace every property sold under the scheme with a new affordable home "to meet the needs of other hard-working families in the area".
Tenants who have a possession order from the court ordering them to leave, or who are in rent arrears, are not eligible, and some properties, such as housing specifically for older people, are exempt. Other social tenants - such as those in housing association accommodation - may also be eligible and are advised to contact their landlords.