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Stuart J
Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 23351
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I’ve been refused the right to buy my council house, Just

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I’ve been refused the right to buy my council house
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: Just the application form to buy
JA: Where is the house located?
Customer: Dy149tq
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: they state refused upon grounds of rural area but have recently sold a house next door to the tenant
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I’m very annoyed that they have said I cannot buy my house due to it being in a rural area but have sold two other properties within the last 12 months I feel I have been discriminated against

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Please if you can as iv done a lot of searching and cannot see my area on this list of exemptions plus also as they have recently sold a social house to the tenant

I have been asked to look at this for you. I apologise if I am delayed getting back to you over the weekend because I am only online and off-line sporadically at weekends. Nonetheless, I am online at some time every day.

I need some more information from you please.

Are you able to let me have a copy of the refusal please?

So they are just treating you differently than the person next door but for no reason? Because obviously, if your house is in a rural area, then next door is in a rural area?

Is that it? Thank you.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi yes I’ll upload the denial response for you now
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I have added the response
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I did telephone the housing team and spoke to one of the team she was very snooty and didn’t seem to care regarding my reason for asking them why she did say my tenancy witch is assured means I can’t buy my home but this wasn’t mentioned on the refusal notice

Thank you.

The property being in the Rural area is indeed one of the reasons which the property may be exempt from certain conditions but please read on:

this is the statute:

In this latter document, you can see that in a rural you may only only be able to sell to a person who lives or works locally (see pages 24/ 25).

There is however no restriction in that document on the initial purchase.

Also, the government webpages also referred to restrictions on reselling:

and this guideline says the same:

To be honest, I cannot find anything which prevents a tenant buying the property under the right to buy. The only restriction I can find is on reselling and I have to tell you this stage because of the restriction on reselling, you may struggle to get a mortgage unless you are buying cash.

Don’t try to deal with this on the telephone. Put it in writing and I would refer them government publications which only referred to reselling and notwithstanding the statutory provision they have given you, can they please give you the statutory provision which prevents you buying because they have only given you the statutory provision which makes the area a rural area and you can’t find anything from the government which says that you are exempt from purchasing.

You need to also say that as the property next door was subject to a right to buy, they please explain why it didn’t apply to next door although it does apply to you.

Depending on when door was purchased, the legislation may have changed between then and now but do ask.

If they don’t give you a satisfactory response, then make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman and also the Housing Ombudsman.

If I have answered your question for you, at the top of the page, you should see a rating facility. Can you please rate my reply 3 stars or more because that really helps me? Please note you are not rating whether it’s favourable, because sometimes you may not get the answer you want, but basically my knowledge and way of dealing.

The thread does not close and I am happy to answer any questions you may have arising from this.

Kind regards

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi yes iv found most of this when iv been researching I do know it was brought within the last 12 months I have filed complaints with the housing and also contacted the ombudsman regarding this as if the exemption applies to houses in a rural location that has been implemented since 1997 I find this ludicrous as they have sold several council houses past this time and now refused to let me purchase mine is like they have discriminated me I have lived in the are for 25 years and got my own house in 2005 so have been a tenant for 14 years now

In which case, you have the comfort of knowing that 2 people have the same opinion.

I can find loads of discussion in Parliament at preventing this but nothing which ended up in statute.

Have you yet heard back from either ombudsman?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
No not yet it states response time of 5 days so I’m hoping I’ll get one soon it is very disheartening to me as this has been my home for 14 years I have inputted so much time and energy into making it the best it can be and to be told my right to acquire is refused on the grounds it’s within a rural area but knowing that two other tenants have brought there’s feels like a punch to the stomach so to speak

Thank you. Let’s see what happens. The thread stays open.

You do have the knowledge that you have a secured tenancy and therefore, provided you keep paying the rent, you will get the benefits of all the improvements.

As I said earlier, I could only see restrictions on resale, no restriction on acquisition. None of the government booklets or website mentions restriction on acquisition.

Further, it seems absolutely bizarre but 2 of the tenants have purchased their own property adjacent to yours and for some reason you are now being disallowed.

I would still write a letter to the local authority in the terms which I have mentioned.

If you could help me, in the way that I have helped you, I would be obliged if you could please use the rating service because that gives payment for my time and expertise it today.

If anything else crops up, we can still exchange notes.

Kind regards.

Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 23351
Experience: Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
Stuart J and 3 other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I have an assured tenancy witch thought meant I had a permanent home and the right to purchase it in the future but I will draft up a letter complaining to the council as a follow up to my email initiating my complaint we pay rent on time and rarely have any repairs done as we tend to do them ourselves due to the time scale the council take
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Do you have any suggestions or a template of how I should word my letter to my council as I’d like to get all the included information regarding the rural area legislation restrictions as correct as possible I will include sections from the right to acquire criteria as quotation for my arguments I will also point out that they have sold one of there properties to the tenant who moved into the property at the same time I moved into mine so my query would be why if they were given a different tenancy agreement to myself and regardless of that fact if there refusal to allow me to purchase my property due to the rural area aspect why they let that tenant buy there’s ?? Thank you

The effect of an assured tenancy is the longer should comply with the terms of the tenancy agreement and keep paying the rent, they cannot get you out in the same way that a landlord who has given you a Assured Shorthold tenancy can you have security of tenure

You only have the right to buy in certain circumstances if you have a property from the local authority, housing association or certain other government departments such as MOD. Like you, I cannot see why you do not have it particularly in view of the fact that neighbours have already taken up the offer and have done so recently.

The payment of rent on time and not having repairs done, is actually not relevant but annoying.

I would be happy to word the letter for you although as you know all the facts and figures, it would be better if you did the letter and I edited it for you. There is an extra cost for wording letters so I will submit a premium services proposal for you which is an optional extra.

Incidentally, we cannot send the letter for your letterhead, we would only be giving you the wording for you to send. If you wanted it to come from a solicitor, you would have to engage a local firm.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Ok thank you I have sent in a letter of complaint with lots of reference to the right to acquire guides and rural legislation also included that they have sold two properties but have excluded me hopefully I’ll get a response I have contacted my local mp for his help and he has said that he will contact me once the election has been done on dec 12th

I am pleased to help. Please stay in touch and let me know how you get on. I hope you get it sorted satisfactorily. Kind regards

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I hope it a successful there denials based on rural area is compromised if they have indeed sold the two other properties I’ll keep in touch

Thank you

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi a quick update iv had confirmation from the housing that they have received my complaint and will get a response to me ASAP
In my letter to them I mentioned regarding buying my house as if they have sold the ones next door but if they have not and those tenants have been spinning the yarn so to speak iv asked if the housing group would consider a part buy part rent scheme as there is one property on my street that they have done this with it will be a step on the ladder for us and something we would be happy for if not being allowed to buy outright
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi not heard anything yet from my housing iv been in touch with the housing ombudsman they said I need to wait Upto 8 weeks before they can step in and assist me
My argument still stands with the housing group on the grounds they will not sell my home to me due to it being in an exemption rural area but have been happy to sell to my neighbors will the ombudsman be able to get direct answers from the housing group and if it applies grant the right to acquire if they have sold the houses but refuse to sell me mine??thanks

Thank you for the update. It’s normal, rather frustrating, that before a cup will step in, you have to wait 8 weeks. It is the same across all the ombudsman services.

I can’t think for one moment why next-door would lie about having purchased the house.

You can easily find out by getting the title deeds from the land registry. Only cost three quid.

You can get the title deed and the plan quickly and easily by using this link:!ut/p/b1/04_SjzS0tDQwMTIxMjLXj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOKNjSxMDA1NjDwsjM3MDTxN3dyNDUNMjQ1MjPWDU_P0c6McFQH3SLFU/

and you will have to pay 3 pounds for the title deed and 3 pounds for the plan. You don’t need to plan.

You will then have them in minutes if not seconds.

The only proviso is that the solicitor that did the purchase has completed the registration because very often, solicitors are extremely slow at doing so. Nonetheless, worth booking to see who is the owner in section B.

If they sold next-door 12 months ago but now, for whatever reason, will not sell you yours, I cannot see how the ombudsman can possibly rule in their favour. It remains to be seen because until then, all we can do is speculate.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi well I have established that the housing did sell to one of my neighbours at the end of 2017
But they didn’t sell to my amediate neighbour
Does the fact that they did sell to the other neighbour help me with my argument in them refusing my right to purchase my home??

I think it certainly does help you PROVIDED that it wasn’t made into aurora area after the neighbours bought the their house got their offer which could have been mid 2017.

If your letter has already gone off to the local authority asking them to explain this, is no reason why you couldn’t send a follow-up with a copy of this deed asking to explain how it could have happened with this labour if it cant happen to you.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Iv looked into it further and the rural area clause was instated in 2014 so I’m still unsure as to how they can sell a house whilst that restriction is in place iv spoken to some locals and they seem to think it was a case of the council off loading a much needed property as it’s a 4 bedroom house and rather them keeping it on the list they sell it but this is all speculation
Iv sent another follow up email included the land registration for the house they sold
Iv asked that they look into it further and that if they decided to sell another house that they consider selling me mine I am a local iv lived in the area much longer than most of the people who reside here hopefully I’ll get some truthful answers from them

If that’s the reason, then it’s irrelevant. They cannot pick and choose..

The potential problem for them is that they may have screwed up by selling that one because the line that they are taking with you may be the correct line and somebody may have dropped one in selling the other property.

At the moment we can only speculate until they come back to you.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
It just seems like they are discriminating us for wanting to buy our home but refuse on this rural area clause but they have sold one after the area was exempted
Iv also noticed they are listing a lot of properties in other rural areas on the market to sell either outright or on a shared ownership
It appears they are nit picking

I must admit it does seem rather illogical and irrational, what they are doing.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Agreed I’ll let you know once I receive a response as I may need some further advice on this matter

excellent. Thank you.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Just another thing iv found on the form that I was sent refusing my right to acquire they have written housing act 1196 but underneath that it says an application for right to acquire cannot be refused unless it’s in the housing act legislation for 1997 ?? I’m confused on this as we’ve looked into it and it states no house in a designated rural area can be sold at all so in the case that they sold a house this is questionable

That was the point I made earlier, they could indeed have screwed up by selling one so they are taking the correct line with you but screwed up with the other property.

I cannot think for one moment how that would be dealt with.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
my options for this are ??
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
They need to resolve this issue as it’s totally unfair our only main reason for wanting to buy this house is to build on so we have two extra bedrooms 5 boys crammed into two bedrooms my eldest is 15 he suffers from adhd and my second eldest has autism with them sharing bedrooms with their younger siblings is not a good combination as they would both benefit from having rooms of there own .
We are not looking to buy it and resell it unlike most that have used the right to buy/acquire

We can only speculate until they come up with a reply but your options remain the same.
I’m sorry to say that your living conditions are nothing to do with whether you should be able to buy the property or not.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I understand that fully but there is something excuse the pun intended fishy going on as the tenant who purchased it moved in the same time as me same landlord prior to this she was living with her husband who owned his house so she didn’t have any years on the council house lists she was given a 4 bedroom house when she only had two children living with her so it seems the housing we’re biased from the beginning. I’ll await to see if I get a response I’d have thought I would have had something by now as I sent my complaint via email and they responded saying they would reply in due course

I couldn’t agree more until they reply, we can only speculate

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Still no reply from housing group
But I have been in contact with my local parish councillors and they have said they will do all they can to assist me and help me in this issue we are having

That’s good news at least. Fingers crossed still.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hopefully they said that the right to acquire in rural areas is normally not allowed but can if the person has connection to the area lived here for a long time family connections work connection and children’s school connection also there would be restrictions on the resale as you had pointed out earlier I told them I’m not looking to resell they said regarding the right to buy/preserved right to buy is the same so the housing group will have to come up with a good reason for selling the house and they said they will assist me so at least that’s something

Absolutely correct. But as I said before, we can only speculate the moment, we are going round in circles and I don’t feel there’s anything I can add until you get a response.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Iv had a response

With an explanation?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Sort of but still not answering all my questions
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Stating that the parish exemption instated by government exempts my property but myself as a tenant I do have the right to acquire

The Preserved Right to buy scheme applies ever council property is transferred to another landlord like a housing association. It also applies if that happens and then you move to another housing association property.

Right to Buy applies to Council tenants in Right to Acquire applies to housing association tenants subject to a property not being exempt.

At some stage, (they don’t say when) these properties were acquired by the Housing Association from the Local authority.

Anyone with a Right to Buy has the preserved one sits transferred to the Housing Association.

What is problematic for you it seems is that you were never a tenant of the Council and therefore never required a Right to Buy which had been preserved during the changeover and the subsequent designation to Rural.

If the neighbour that purchased the property had previously been Council tenant that would explain why they have purchased their property but you, having never been a council tenant, cannot.

Having said all that, the explanation doesn’t sue that you know what they are talking about.

It doesn’t explain why if you were previously a council tenant and are now Housing Association tenant you can buy the property but if you are only a housing association tenant you cannot because it would seem that if the property is rural, and exempt, that it applies regardless.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Apparently council sold on houses in 1997 making me 13 years old so I would never have been a council tenant
The neighbour previously before moving in lived with her husband in a house he owned I can only assume that she used the voluntary right to buy schemes they ran in 2016/2017
But we were not informed of this scheme only through research have we found out in the information we found it states all participanting housing associations should make all tenants aware !?!?
My next question to them has been if I can use a relatives preserved right to buy if they had already exercised it? As on forms it asks this

It would depend the relative was whether you were living with them and whether they were still alive as to whether you could use that Preserved right to buy

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
My mother brought her house many years ago I was living with her and then moved out when I was given this house

If your mother purchased her house, then it doesn’t give you any right on any house that you subsequently have.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Ah ok as on the form it asks if you are using someone else’s right to buy and if they used it how long ago Etc
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
It looks like I will have to wait for another voluntary right to buy scheme to run but in the meantime iv asked the housing group if they would allow shared ownership or the right to build onto the property

I am not aware that there is any provision where someone can use a right to buy and then use it again or transfer it. That seems most bizarre.

It will be interesting to see what they come back with with your other queries.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Well we don’t want to move out of the area iv lived here 25 years raised my 5 children here this is all they know and with one of them being autistic moving would be detrimental to his condition as even going out has a major impact on him
So we’ll wait and see as shared ownership is one way of owning our home but then it’s still in the housing groups hands so to speak

Thank you for the comments. Kind regards

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Recieved this letter from the ministry of housing
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
in essence the housing group could sell me my home at their discretion?!this is something I will take up with them in my next communications

That is how I read that. When you write to the Association with it, I would send the whole letter and ask them to explain why they are not willing to exercise their discretion

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I will do as that’s from the housing ministry and they say it’s Upto the housing group so they could let me buy it as we have decided that we won’t be moving out so in essence this house will never be on the housing list to rent

Good luck once again.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Iv sent a follow up to the executive director of the housing group they have said I will get an acknowledgement email with in 3 days and a written letter regarding my email within 10 days

Fingers crossed.