Buying your Thrive home
The process can be complex, so we've put together some frequently asked questions and answers for you to look over before you go ahead. Scroll down to find out more.
How do I enquire about my buying my home?
Depending on the type of tenancy you hold, where you live and how long you have been a Housing Association tenant, you may be eligible to purchase your property via the Government's Right to Acquire or Preserved Right to Buy scheme.
Our friendly Home Ownership team will be able to advise you on any scheme you may qualify for, the discount you may be eligible for and the next steps to take towards your purchase. The easiest way to contact them is by emailing them on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I still buy my home outside of the Government discount schemes?
You can only buy your Thrive home through the preserved Right to Buy or Right to Acquire government scheme.
You must live in your property as your main home and each qualifying purchaser needs to provide proof of this for the past 12 months. You cannot buy your home if:
- you have a possession order against you
- you are an undischarged bankrupt or you have a bankruptcy petition pending against you.
What is the discount for Right to Buy and Right to Acquire?
Right to Buy
The current discount for our area, for the preserved Right to Buy is up to a maximum of £84,600 (as from 5th April 2021) regardless of how many years tenancy you have. This increases every year as set by the Government.
Right to Acquire
The current discount for Right to Acquire is from £9,000 to a maximum of £16,000 and depends on the area where you live.
To calculate the price of your property, we would work out your purchase price by using the full market value of your home and deducting the discount you are entitled to as described above.
Are any properties excluded or restricted?
Some properties are excluded from being purchased through these schemes. These include but are not limited to:
- independent living schemes including some types of bungalows
- groups of properties that are designed with particular aids and adaptations
- properties marked for demolition
- homes located in a Designated Rural Area as defined by the Government.
We are able to advise you if your home falls into an exclusion category.
What if I have made improvements to my home?
If you have made improvements that add value to your home, please state what these are in your application form so we can ask the valuer to ignore these.
This could include kitchens, bathrooms or other fixtures. General maintenance such as decorations are not items that usually impact on the value of a property.
Similarly, any improvements that Thrive have carried out will be taken into consideration when working out your Discount entitlement as these can impact your purchase price.
What discount may I be entitled to?
The easiest way to find this out is to contact our friendly Home Ownership team by emailing: email@example.com
Right to Acquire
As a Housing Association tenant, you will be entitled to the Right to Acquire scheme when you have held a social housing tenancy for three full years. This includes any years you may have been a tenant of another Housing Association or Council. At this point, you may be entitled to the discount the government sets for your area. This is from £9000 up to a maximum of £16,000. There are properties which are excluded from the scheme so please check with us first to see if your home falls into on one of these categories.
Right to Buy
The Right to Buy discount entitlement is worked out based on the type and length of tenancy you had when you rented from the Council (before Thrive bought the property from them). Generally, if your initial tenancy was granted by a local authority and Thrive bought your home from them you may receive:
You may receive a 35% discount for your first 5 years of tenancy and add 1% for each full year of tenancy up to a maximum of 70% or 40 years.
You may receive a 50% discount for your first five years of tenancy and plus an extra 2% for each full year of tenancy up to a maximum of 15 years.
In all circumstances you must remember that despite your length of tenancy, the maximum discount you will ever be eligible to receive is capped at the governments maximum amount which is currently £84,600. This is adjusted every year in April.
What happens when I purchase my house?
If you purchase your house you will become a Freeholder owner.
You will be transferred the property and the land it is on and take up all Freeholder responsibilities going forward. This includes all repairs and maintenance as well as gas and electrical servicing.
What happens when I purchase my flat?
If you purchase your flat, you will enter into a lease agreement with us. A lease is sold to you for a fixed term and gives you the right to reside there for the term.
The Freeholder (Thrive) will retain ownership of the land and maintain the communal areas and structure of the building. When the lease expires, ownership of the property reverts back to the Freeholder - however, you have the right to extend this by purchasing more years on your lease to own the property for longer.
What responsibilities will become mine when I purchase my home?
Once you own your home, you'll take on certain responsibilities that were once Thrive's. This includes:
Repairs and maintenance
As a homeowner, you will be liable for all repairs and maintenance for your home. This includes annual gas servicing and five yearly electrical safety checks.
If you are purchasing a house, you will become a Freeholder where you will be responsible for all repairs and maintenance on the land that you are purchasing.
If you are purchasing a flat, you will generally be responsible for all repairs and maintenance from within the plasterboard of your home including any services and pipes that exclusively serve your flat. Thrive will continue to manage and maintain the communal areas and structure of the building. You will pay a fair and reasonable proportion for these services, which are invoiced annually and must be paid in one lump sum.
In addition to this – if any works are needed to the building such as cyclical decorating, roof or window replacements, you will be required to contribute toward these costs. Whilst we always ensure we achieve the best value for money for customers and give good notice to prepare, these bills can often be expensive in nature so you need to ensure you have budgeted carefully
You’ll need to continue managing the general upkeep of your home and will also need to take out home insurance in addition to contents insurance.
Top tip: use a comparison site for the best deal and always check the level of cover meets your requirements!
I've owned a property in the past, will this impact my discount eligibility?
If you have bought a property using the Government's Right to Acquire or Right to Buy discount schemes before, your discount entitlement will be impacted.
Contact our Home Ownership team to find out more by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I purchase my home with my partner or another person?
At least one tenant must be on the application. Up to three family members who live in the property may be able to join the application and will need to provide evidence that they have lived in the property for at least 12 months.
If one tenant does not want to join in on the purchase, they must provide written consent to this as their tenancy will terminate on the date you become the owner and their rights to the property forfeited. We will not be able to proceed with your application without this direct consent.
Our team will visit you in your home to meet all residents living there. They will assess your eligibility and speak with you about the process. We will also carry out anti- money laundering and bankruptcy checks as part of the process.
What happens when I come to sell my home in the future?
If you sell your home within the first five years of purchasing it, you will have to pay back a proportion of the discount you received. If you sell your home within the first 10 years of purchase, you must offer us first refusal to purchase the property back from you first.
Paying back any discount
The amount you must pay back is calculated on a percentage of the resale value of your home, not just the discount that was received for the purchase and it disregards any improvements. It also varies depending on the time period that the resale takes place in:
- within the 1st year of completion - the whole discount is repayable
- within the 2nd year of completion - four-fifths of the discount is repayable
- within the 3rd year of completion - three-fifths of the discount is repayable
- within the 4th year of completion - two-fifths of the discount is repayable
- within the 5th year of completion - one-fifth of the discount is repayable
- after five complete years no discount is repayable.
Property X was valued at £100,000 at the time you bought it from us, and you received a 38% discount via the Government's Right to Buy scheme which totalled at a value of £38,000.
Property X is now to be sold and is now valued at £130,000. The sale is taking place within the 3rd year following the original purchase. The discount repayment calculation is as follows: -
38% (discount) of £130,000 (Market Value) = £49,400.
However, as the sale is taking place in the 3rd year following completion, we reduce this by 3/5ths therefore: 3/5th of £49,400 = £29,640. This is the total amount of discount to be repaid upon sale.
What costs will I need to consider when buying my home?
Before you officially own your home, there are a number of third-party costs you'll need to cover. These could include:
- Mortgage fees
- Your solicitor cost
- Structural and conveyance surveys
- Financial advice
- Land Registry fees
- Service charges
- Stamp duty (if applicable)
What charges will I be liable for as a homeowner?
If you purchase your Thrive home, you will become a freeholder and will therefore be liable for your own mortgage, and home owner insurances such as:
- contents – for the contents of your home against theft, fire and other risks
- building – to cover the full cost of rebuilding your home in the case it’s destroyed by fire or some other incident. In the case of flats, the landlord is usually expected to arrange this and ask you to contribute toward this cost
- life assurance – this may be needed to pay off your mortgage if something happens to you before the end of your mortgage. It means that your family is not left with the mortgage debt
- income protection insurance – this will cover you in the case you cannot meet your mortgage repayments if you lose your income, say through unemployment or ill-health.
You'll also need to continue paying for utilities and any other costs associated with the property. If you fail to keep up with your mortgage agreements you may run the risk of of repossession and losing your home.
If you live in a flat, you will additionally pay service charges to Thrive to manage and maintain the communal areas and structure of your building.
How long does it take to buy your home through the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire scheme?
Once Thrive receives your application, we have four weeks to let you know if you are entitled to buy your home, we then have eight weeks if you live in a house or 12 weeks if you live in a flat to send you an offer of sale. Once you receive the offer, you have 12 weeks to decide if you want to buy your property. If you decide to go ahead it is then passed to solicitors to carry out their legal work which generally takes around six months if it is a straightforward sale.
To ensure your application goes smoothly, we suggest you ensure the following before you submit your application:
- speak to us to discuss the process and your eligibility
- ensure you already hold proof of any previous tenancies you wish to provide
- check you have the deposit you will require to purchase the property
- hold multiple forms of proof of address and photo ID for all applicants
- can accommodate a home visit in the first four weeks from when you apply
- have researched suitable mortgage providers who can lend to you
- have sought a competent solicitor who specialises in Right to Buy or Right to Acquire and can commit to good response times.
Can I buy my home after mutually exchanging?
If you mutually exchange to another Thrive property and have the preserved right to buy entitlement, you take these rights with you to the new property so long as that property is eligible for the scheme.
If you mutually exchange to a non-Thrive property and currently have the preserved right to buy, you will lose your Right to Buy eligibility.
If you mutually exchange to a Thrive property and have the right to acquire, you will only be able to purchase the property through the right to acquire scheme.
You should always confirm what your new eligibility will be when accepting a new tenancy in all circumstances. This will ensure you remain fully informed and aware of how your rights may be impacted by the move.
What if I have had a former tenancy with a Local Authority or Housing Association?
If you have been a former tenant of a Local Authority or Housing Association, the years you held with that landlord may contribute toward your eligibility for Right to Buy or Right to Acquire. You will need to prove your former tenancy by providing your old Tenancy Agreement as we do not hold this on file.
It is important you provide this to us in good time as this may impact on our ability to respond to you in our target response times. We will not be able to count your previous years toward your entitlement if you cannot provide proof of this so it’s important you take steps to seek this before applying.
What happens if there are delays in my application?
If you feel Thrive is delaying your application outside of the required time frames and for reasons which are not due to you, you may be entitled to serve a RTB6 form on Thrive which is an Initial Notice of Delay. This requests that Thrive proceed with the application or respond to you with a counter notice outlining why there is a delay. If you do not hear from Thrive after serving this notice, you will be eligible to serve a RTB8 form which is an Operative Notice of Delay. If Thrive do not respond to you with good reason as to why there is a delay, you may be entitled to offset some of the rental payments you have made against your final purchase price at completion.
Similarly, if there are delays on your part with the application and you are not providing Thrive with the information we need to meet our deadlines, we may be entitled to serve delay proceedings on you to instruct you or your solicitor to proceed in a timely manner.
This information is to be used as a general summary only and not a replacement for legal advice or in lieu of the guidance set out in the 1985 Housing Act. If there are any specific matters you need advice on, we always advise you to seek independent legal advice before proceeding.
- Where can I find more independent information?