Tenants of local housing association Riverside in the Merseyside area will be among the first in the country to get the chance to buy their own home as part of a pilot Voluntary Right to Buy scheme.
Tenants will be able to apply for a place on the pilot from this week which could help them buy their home, along with a discount of up to £77,900, depending on the length of their tenancy.
The extension of the Right to Buy to housing association tenants was announced by the Chancellor, George Osborne in his Comprehensive Spending Review in November 2015. The pilot is being launched ahead of a national rollout of the scheme, subject to the approval of legislation which is currently going through parliament.
There will be a limited number of sales under the pilot which will be allocated on a first come first served basis to tenants who meet the criteria. Proceeds from the sale of homes will be reinvested into new affordable housing.
Carol Matthews, Riverside’s Group Chief Executive said: “We know that many of our tenants aspire to own their own home and we want to help them fulfil that ambition, whilst at the same time testing out how the scheme will work ahead of it being rolled out nationally. “The legislation that will allow this to happen is currently going through parliament and Riverside is pleased to be one of five housing associations chosen by the government to take part in the pilot.”
On Merseyside, the offer is open to Riverside tenants living in any of six local authority areas; Liverpool, Sefton, Knowsley, Wirral, Halton and St Helens. Successful applicants need to meet specific criteria, including having been a tenant of a housing association, council or similar public sector landlord for at least 10 years. Certain types of properties, including those which legally cannot be sold, may be excluded.
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Greg Clarke said: “Anybody who works hard and aspires to own their own home should have the opportunity to realise their dream. The Right to Buy is central to that and has already helped more than 46,000 into homeownership since we reinvigorated the scheme in 2012. “Thanks to the historic voluntary agreement with the sector, a further 1.3 million housing association tenants now have the chance to open the door to their own home, starting with this trailblazing pilot scheme.”
Riverside tenants wishing to apply should visit this webpage where they will find more information on the scheme and a link to the government’s Right to Buy portal where they can begin the process by registering their interest. They will then receive an application pack and supporting information from Riverside.
Those able to take part in the Riverside pilot will need to pay an application fee of £250 and must be able to raise the necessary finance to complete their purchase. It is expected that the first sales though this scheme will complete in summer 2016.
Riverside is one of five housing associations around the country taking part in the pilot.