Home purchase policy

In September 2017, the Housing & New Homes Committee agreed to introduce a Home Purchase Policy, which allows the council to buy back properties previously sold under the Right to Buy (RTB) and to explore other opportunities to increase affordable housing in the city. 

We carried out a year long pilot from November 2017 focusing on buy back opportunities where the council had the right of first refusal. Findings from this pilot were reported back to Housing & New Homes Committee in September 2018 and agreed recommendations to continue and widen the scheme. The scheme has a budget of £1million remaining until the end of March 2019. The budget for the policy for 2019/20 is proposed to be £3.5million.

Can any leaseholder or freeholder owners of ex-council owned homes approach the council?

Yes. We consider offer notices from leaseholders or freeholders with a duty to offer first refusal to the council. These will affect properties sold under the right to buy scheme within the past ten years and there will be a covenant in place confirming this. 

The scheme has also now been extended on a trial basis to include other people who own former council homes, sold longer ago under Right to Buy, who may wish to sell their property to the council. This trial is beginning on 1 December 2018 until 31 March 2019. We are trialling this to see how a wider offer works.

How do I notify the council?

If you have a duty to offer first refusal to the council, you can submit an offer notice or your legal advisors can do this on your behalf. An offer notice with required information should be emailed to the council’s legal team at legal.services@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

If you do not have a duty to offer first refusal to the council, you can approach usby emailing our Housing Strategy Team at housing.strategy@brighton-hove.gov.uk. You will need to provide details of your property and your asking price, your contact details and a copy of a recent valuation of the property. Approaches should be made from 1 December 2018 and offers will be dealt with in date order.

What happens when you receive my offer?

We will assess your application and if there are immediate reasons why we wouldn't proceed, such as the high value of the property, we will let you know.

If we wish to further consider your offer, we will arrange for a valuation and a survey of the property, including a gas safety check. We will then assess the property against our criteria outlined in the policy to reach a decision as to whether to offer to purchase the property.

When can I expect an answer on whether the council wishes to buy my property?

The timescale laid out in the regulations for the right of first refusal is eight weeks. This timescale applies for all applications but, wherever possible, we will try to make a decision sooner.

How will the sale proceed?

Sales will follow a usual conveyancing process. Searches and all legal processes will need to be followed and you should ensure you make arrangements for your own legal representation.

How much will you offer for the properties?

Under the buy back scheme, the council can purchase homes up to a value of £250,000. The purchase needs to offer the council value for money and each one will be assessed on its own merits. If you are a leaseholder or freeholder who doesn’t have to offer the council the right of first refusal and you are hoping to achieve a higher selling price, you may wish to consider your options for selling on the open market instead.

What if I disagree with the valuation?

We will ask our nominated valuer to value each property we are considering to buy back, and offers will be made in line with this valuation. The value must then be agreed between both parties. 

If agreement cannot be reached on the right of first refusal cases, the value will be determined by the District Valuer. In cases where there is no right of first refusal, if agreement cannot be reached, the leaseholder and freeholder would need to sell their property on the open market.

What if I have outstanding service charge or major work charges?

A final service charge or major works statement will be produced during the conveyancing process and any outstanding balances will need to be cleared on completion of the purchase. The amount due can be deducted from the final balance paid for the property.