Dealing With Delays
All councils are obliged to fulfil their Right to Buy requirements within a certain period of time. Should they fail to do so, you may be eligible for an additional discount on the price of your property.
It is up to your council to determine whether or not you are eligible, which will involve considering all aspects of your application and your case in general. Confirmation is sent by way of a Section 124 notice (RTB2), which in most instances must be sent by the council within four weeks. If you have been with your current council for less than three years, they have eight weeks to send a Section 124 notice.
If you are confirmed as eligible by your council, they are then obliged to provide you with an S125 formal offer letter within 8 weeks for a house or 12 weeks for a leasehold property.
Important Note: councils delay decisions and responses for a variety of reasons, which they may attempt to claim are not their fault. Your council may dispute the date you send your application and the information you provided, so it’s important to keep a copy of all the information you send along with proof of postage and delivery.
Additional Discounts in the Event of Delays
In the event that your council fails to meet their obligations as detailed above, the tenant should:
- Complete an ‘Initial notice of delay’ form (RTB6) and send it to their council.
- Obtain independent specialist advice at the earliest possible stage.
- Complete and send an ‘Operative notice of delay’ form (RTB8) to the council if they do not respond to the first notice within a month.
Though you will be required to continue paying rent as normal, any additional rent payments incurred due to delays on the part of your council may subsequently be discounted from the price of your property.
As it is in everyone’s best interests to avoid delays, it is comparatively rare for things to progress to this stage. However, it is also important to know when and where to seek specialist support, if for any reason your council is being uncooperative, or failing to meet their obligations.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding potential delays to your Right to Buy application, contact a member of the team at UK Property Finance anytime.
Delays – Notice to Complete
Under the terms of the Right to Buy, there are instances where your council may require a response from you within a certain time frame. If you fail to meet these requirements set out by your council, they may have the right to terminate your application. However, they are legally obliged to provide you with formal notices of warning, before doing so.
If you receive a notice to complete, it is important to ensure you meet any deadlines set out therein. If you are unable (or unwilling) to do so or you feel your council is making unreasonable demands, speak to a Right to Buy specialist at UK Property Finance for more information.
A Default Notice is issued when a Right to Buy applicant fails to respond to the offer letter they receive within 12 weeks. Tenants typically have no more than 28 days to respond to a Default Notice. If the council doesn’t receive a response within this time, the application may be cancelled.
There are instances where this 28-day deadline can be extended, though exclusively at the discretion of the council. An example of which could be where an individual was seriously ill or in hospital at the time.
First Notice to Complete
If you decide to accept the offer, you will of course need adequate time to formalise your mortgage and make other important arrangements. Nevertheless, councils have the right to issue a notice to complete, if they believe the tenant is delaying the process unnecessarily. Upon receipt of a first notice to complete, the tenant has 56 days to complete the transaction.
Final Notice to Complete
If no response is provided to the first notice to complete, a final notice to complete may be issued. This provides the tenant with an additional 56 days (minimum) to complete the property purchase. The failure to respond to a final notice to complete can result in the application and transaction being terminated.
Important Note: cancellation of an application at any time and for any reason does not affect the tenant’s eligibility to apply again at a later date. However, it will be necessary to start the application process again from scratch.
In order to avoid complications, it is advisable to maintain good communication with your council throughout the process. If you have any questions or concerns regarding potential delays and resulting compensation, speak to a member of the team at UK Property Finance.