Moving on or buying your home

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					                             Moving on or buying your home

                             This booklet contains the following information:

                    
 Notes               Notes
                             Choice Based Lettings / Mutual exchange / Homeswapper /
                             Housing Associations / Ending your tenancy with us / Buying Your Home




SHP/Move_V1_Feb/08

                             Sandwell Homes | welcome pack
Moving on or buying your home                                                                                 Moving on or buying your home                                                                    1



                                                                                                              The home will then be offered to the person          For more information please contact:
Sandwell Council and Sandwell Homes hope that you enjoy                                                       who is top of the shortlist.
your home in peace and comfort and that you keep your                                                                                                              West Bromwich and Smethwick Property Shop
                                                                                                              Applying for a home                                  Unit 32, 105 Kings Square,
tenancy for as long as possible. However, there may come                                                       You will need to fill in a membership form, which   West Bromwich, B70 7NN
a time when you feel you would like to move on to a new                                                        you can obtain from your Neighbourhood Office,      Tel: 0121-525-3700 Fax: 0121-525-9665.
                                                                                                               Estate Office or Property Shop.
home and we also want to make this process as easy and                                                                                                             Wednesbury and Tipton Property Shop
stress-free as possible.                                                                                        If you need assistance filling in the form a       93-94 Walsall Street,
                                                                                                                member of staff will help you.                     Wednesbury, WS10 9BY
                                                                                                                                                                   Tel: 0121 505 4774 Fax: 0121-505-4729
                                                                                                                Your membership form will be checked to ensure
Sandwell Homes operates a Choice Based Lettings       Expressions of interest are then invited from any         you are eligible to apply for a property.          Rowley and Oldbury Property Shop
Scheme in order to promote available homes to a       registered member of the scheme.                                                                             Payne Street,
wider audience. Every week properties are displayed                                                             If you do not qualify we will write to you and     Blackheath, B65 0DH
in the Sandwell Homes Property Shops in West          Once the deadline for bids has expired, short listing     tell you the reasons why.                          Tel 0121-559-4776 Fax: 0121-508-6729
Bromwich, Wednesbury and Blackheath. They are         begins in the following way:
also available on our website at                                                                                If your membership form is in order we will        www.sandwellhomespropertyshop.org.uk
www.sandwellhomespropertyshop.org.uk.                 1. Shortlists are created from all applicants that         register you and send you a letter with your
                                                         have expressed an interest in each property.            membership number.
Council properties, some RSL properties and some
privately rented homes will be advertised through     2. Applicants that fulfil the property criteria are       Identification and proof of residence is
the scheme.                                              shortlisted in order of earliest registration          required with your registration form.
                                                         date/Priority Case.
Moving on or buying your home                                                                               2   Moving on or buying your home                                                                                  3



The following guide shows the properties we           Mutual Exchange                                           Homeswapper                                             How much rent do Housing Associations charge?
normally let according to each family size.           A mutual exchange is a property “swap” between            This is similar to a mutual exchange but;               Rent levels are dependent on the property type and
Bedsit                     Single people              two or more secure tenants.                                 You can usually swap with any Council or Housing      location. Housing benefit is available in the same
One bedroom flat           Single people/               You can usually be allowed to swap home with            Association tenant in the country.                      way as for council tenants.
                           childless couples            a tenant who lives in Sandwell, a tenant from             You can get an application form and look at a list
Two bedroom flat/          Childless couples/           another council or a housing association tenant.        of people who want to move to Sandwell at your          What type of agreement will I have with a
maisonette                 families with one child      Housing Association Tenants will have a different       Neighbourhood Office.                                   Housing Association?
Three bedroom flat/        Any combination of           type of Tenancy known as an assured shorthold                                                                   All new housing association tenants will have
maisonette                 two or more people in        tenancy with different rights to a Secure or            Housing Associations                                    assured tenancy agreements which have very
                           order to make the most       Introductory council tenancy.                           Some Housing association Properties will be             similar terms and conditions to the secure tenancies
                           effective use of             Your Neighbourhood Office has details of tenants        advertised through the current Sandwell Homes CBL       offered by Sandwell Homes. The one main difference
                           available homes
                                                        who live in Sandwell who are interested in              scheme. Customers can also approach RSLs directly       is that most assured tenants do not have the right to
Two bedroom house          Families with one            swapping their home. Ask for details.                   to obtain advice about their own allocation policies.   buy the property they are living in.
                           child or two children        If you find someone to swap with you, you               Please contact your Local Neighbourhood Office or
                           of the same sex
                                                        and the other person must each fill in a mutual         Property Shop for details of Housing Associations in    What is a Private Landlord?
Three bedroom house        Families with 1-4
                                                        exchange form and return them to                        Sandwell.                                               Some properties are owned by private individuals
                           children dependent
                                                        your Neighbourhood Office.                                                                                      who then rent (or let) them out to people who are
                           on whether property is
                           parlour or non parlour       You cannot swap without permission of                   What is a Housing Association?                          looking for somewhere to live. These are called
                           type and ages of             the landlord.                                           They are non-profit making organisations that           private landlords and their properties are privately
                           children                     We will let you know within six weeks if the            provide properties for rent. They work in partnership   rented properties
Four bedroom house         Families with 4 or           exchange has been agreed. If it is refused we           with the Council.
                           more children                will tell you the reason why.                                                                                   Once a private landord obtains accreditation they are
Bungalows                  Elderly Persons and/or                                                               What type of home do they provide?                      able to advertise available homes through the
                           people with disabilities                                                             Housing Association’s can provide a range of rented     Sandwell Homes CBL Scheme.
Flats in No Child Blocks   Single applicants or                                                                 accommodation from apartments for single people to
                           childless couples                                                                    large family homes, sheltered housing for older
                           over 45 years of age                                                                 people may also be available.
Moving on or buying your home                                                                                    4   Moving on or buying your home                                                                           5



Can all Private Landlords advertise their                  The rents may be higher than Council or Housing           As a private tenant who will I contact about any       Give us your new address in case we need
empty properties through Sandwell Homes                    Association rents and they are often requested on a       issues regarding my tenancy?                            to contact you. We will keep this information
Property Shop?                                             calendar monthly basis. If you are claiming Housing       Sometimes private landlords use letting or managing     strictly confidential.
No, in Sandwell we have a Landlord Accreditation           Benefit you may need to top up your benefit to            agents to either let and/or look after their           Make sure you remove all your belongings and
Scheme, whereby Landlords sign up to a Code of             meet the rent.                                            properties. Depending upon the arrangements in          leave your home neat and tidy. If we have to
Conduct, declare they are a fit and proper person                                                                    place tenants may either contact the Managing           clear your belongings, we will have to charge you
and attend a days training course. Once these              The private landlord may also ask for a deposit           Agent or the individual private landlord.               for the cost of doing so.
Landlords are accredited they are invited to submit        (usually one months rent) to guard against                                                                       Leave the property secure with all windowsand
their properties to become accredited. These               breakages and he/she may also ask for rent in             Low cost Home Ownership /                               doors shut.
properties are inspected by Sandwell MBC’s Private         advance. Any deposit the landlord takes must be           Shared Ownership Schemes                               Return the keys to a Sandwell Homes
Sector Housing Standards Team who will ensure that         registered with a Government approved Tenancy             Mercian Housing Association are the Government          LocalNeighbourhood Office on the last day of
the properties are free from Category 1 Hazards and        Deposit Scheme. Some landlords may also ask               appointed “homebuy” agents for the West Midlands.       your notice period. Failing to do so may result
the Landlord is working towards the Decent Homes           for a reference fee as well.                              They can provide a wide range of advice and             in another weeks’ rent being charged.
Standard. When both the Landlord and the property                                                                    information regarding affordable housing options in    Arrange to have your mail redirected
are accredited the landlords can advertise their           What type of tenancy will a Private                       the West Midlands. For more information please
accredited properties through the Sandwell Homes           Landlord grant?                                           contact 0845 607 6726 or visit the website:           Other people you may need to contact
Property Shop.                                             Private tenancies are usually let on an Assured           www.homebuyagents.org.uk                              when you move…
                                                           Shorthold Tenancy (AST) which last for 6 months.                                                                 Your gas and electricity suppliers
How does renting from a Private Landlord                   At the end of 6 months the tenancy can either be          Ending your tenancy with us                            The water company
differ from renting Council or Housing Association         renewed or ended. At the end of the tenancy if the        To end your tenancy, you must do the following;        British Telecom or the cable company.
(RSL) dwellings?                                           landlord wants to terminate the agreement he/she           Give us at least 28 days’ notice.                    Our Council Tax Office
These properties differ from Council or Housing            must give the tenant 2 months notice by serving a          Allow Sandwell Homes staff to inspect and assess     Our Housing Benefit Office. (if you claim)
Association properties in that they are usually            Section 21 Notice. If the tenant wants to leave the          the condition of your property (you may be          The Department for Work and Pensions
individual houses or flats, or houses turned into flats,   property they have to give 1 months notice.                  recharged if repairs need to be carried out)        The Television Licensing Authority if you own
not whole blocks or rows of houses.                                                                                   Make sure that your rent is up to date                a television.
Moving on or buying your home                                                                           6   Moving on or buying your home                                                                                 7



                                                                                                            The circumstances in which the Right to Buy            The exceptions to the Right to Buy set out in
The Housing (Right to Buy) (information to Secure Tenants)                                                   You cannot buy your home if a court makes a          schedule 5 of the Act
(England) Order 2005. Under the Right to Buy scheme, you                                                      possession order, which says you must leave your     You do not have the Right to Buy if your home is
                                                                                                              home. Neither can you buy your home if you are       particularly suitable for occupation by elderly
can buy your home at a price lower than the market value.                                                     an undischarged bankrupt.                            persons, taking into account its location, size, design,
This is because the length of time you have spent as a tenant                                                The Right to Buy cannot be exercised when a          heating system and other features; was let to you or
                                                                                                              tenancy is held on a property which is sheltered     the previous tenant for occupation by a person aged
entitles you to a discount. This leaflet describes the Right to                                               housing. Special rules must be met in these cases.   60 or over, whether they were the tenant or not;
Buy scheme as its works today. It is not a substitute for                                                     ‘Sheltered Housing’ normally means that the          and was first let (to you or someone else)
                                                                                                              property is one of a group of such dwellings,        before 1 January 1990.
professional advice. It is a summary of the law relating to                                                   where a warden service is provided, and that
Right to Buy and it is not intended to be comprehensive.                                                      there is a common room nearby.                       This is in accordance with paragraph 11 of Schedule
                                                                                                             You cannot exercise the Right to Buy if it           5 to the Housing Act 1985. If you are denied on
                                                                                                              is a condition of employment that you live           these grounds, then you are able to ask a Residential
                                                                                                              in the property to be near to your work.             Property Tribunal to decide if the decision is correct.
Please be advised that the council does not         The circumstances in which the Right to Buy
                                                                                                              ie. Resident Warden.                                 This request must be made within 56 days after the
and will not approach you at your address to        CAN be exercised
                                                     You probably have the Right to Buy if you
                                                                                                                                                                   Landlord has denied your application.
promote this process, unless you ask us to do so.
Some companies may do this and may be trying          are a secure tenant.
                                                     If your secure tenancy began before 18 January
                                                                                                                                                                   More information on this is available in the booklet
to persuade you to do something which is of
                                                                                                                                                                   ‘Your Right to Buy your Home’
benefit to the company rather than you.               2005, then you must have spent at least 2 years
                                                      as a public sector tenant.
                                                     If your new secure tenancy began on or after
                                                                                                                                                                   The procedure for claiming the Right to Buy
If you are concerned, please contact home
                                                                                                                                                                   See diagram overleaf.
ownership unit for advice 0121 569 5029 the           18 January 2005, then you must have spent at
government is committed to allow tenants              least 5 years as a public sector tenant.
to buy their homes.
Moving on or buying your home                                                       9   Moving on or buying your home                                                                                 10



                                                                                        Applying to Buy                                          The information supplied on your form will be used
Step by Step                             APPLY TO BUY
                                                                                        Start by asking the Council for a Right to Buy           to decide whether you have the Right to Buy and
guide to                                                                                claim form (form RTB1). Forms are available for          how much discount you will get.
                                landlord admits your right to buy
Right To Buy                                                                            collection at all Local Neighbourhood Offices,
                                                                                        Property Shops in West Bromwich and Wednesbury,          If you have any difficulty, or would like to speak
                                            valuation
                                                                                        Receptions at Sandwell Council House, Oldbury            to someone before completing the form, please
                                                                                        and Council House, Smethwick.                            contact Home Ownership Unit on 0121 569 5029
                                 landlord sends notice telling you                                                                               or in person at Council House, High Street,
                            your purchase price and conditions of sale                  Forms can also be issued through the post by             Smethwick. You can also visit your Local
                                                                                        telephoning any of the above or the Home                 Neighbourhood Office, if you prefer, and the staff
                                         GET A SURVEY                                   Ownership Unit on 0121 569 5029, or by emailing          there will assist or contact Home Ownership Unit
                                                                                        request to homesales@sandwell.gov.uk.                    for advice on your behalf.
                         if you disagree with the landlord’s valuation,
                                                                                        Forms can also be downloaded from website
                         ask for a determination by the District Valuer
                                                                                        www.direct.gov.uk/rtb1. If this is your option, please   If you have difficulty in visiting one of the Council
                                                                                        print out the completed form and sign it before          Offices mentioned, a home visit can also be
                                WRITE TO LANDLORD TO EITHER:                            returning it to the Home Ownership Unit. Please read     arranged by telephoning Home Ownership Unit.
                                                                                        the form carefully and complete as much                  The booklet is available in the following languages
                                                                                        information as you can.                                  from Home Ownership Unit: Punjabi, Bengali, Urdu,
        PROCEED WITH APPLICATION                                         WITHDRAW                                                                Arabic, Hindi, Gujarati, Chinese.This leaflet is
                                                                                        More information is available in the Government          available in large print on request.
             GET LEGAL ADVICE                                                           Booklets ‘Your Right to Buy your Home’ and ‘Thinking
                                                                                        of Buying a Council Flat’ which are available from all   All completed forms should be signed and returned
               GET MORTGAGE                                                             sources previously mentioned. For further info on        to any of the above Council Offices. You may also
                                                                                        Right to Buy visit: www.communities.gov.uk then          send your completed form by post to Home
      ENSURE RENTS ACCOUNTS ARE CLEAR                                                   select ‘housing’.                                        Ownership Unit, Council House, High Street,
                                                                                                                                                 Smethwick, West Midlands, B66 3NT.
                 COMPLETE
Moving on or buying your home                                                                                11   Moving on or buying your home                                                                                 12



Remember, this is an important Legal Document and        When all these are available, a valuation is               It will give estimates of service charge and           The delay notice procedures for tenants
it is a good idea to use recorded delivery, or deliver   requested and you will receive an appointment              improvement costs expected if the property             and Council
it by hand and get a receipt, otherwise you may be       through the post.                                          is a flat or maisonette.                               Most sales go through the process quickly, but
unable to prove the Council has received the form.                                                                  It will describe any structural defects                sometimes there are problems or delays. If the
                                                         Landlord’s Offer Notice                                    that are known.                                        Council does not send you form RTB2 or the
Landlord’s Response Notice (form RTB2)                   Once the valuation has been completed, the                 It will contain terms and conditions which the         Landlord’s Offer Notice within the times
Once your Application has been received, the             Council must issue a Landlord’s Offer Notice. If           Council thinks should be attached to the sale.         mentioned earlier, or the application is held up at
Council must send a Notice (form RTB2) telling           your property is a house the Notice must be issued                                                                a later stage in the process, you may be entitled
you whether you have the Right to Buy. This Notice       within 8 weeks of issuing form RTB2, and if your         Calculation of discount entitlement - OVERLEAF           to a reduction in the purchase price. To get this
must be issued within 4 weeks of the Council             property is a flat or maisonette, then this Notice       Discount entitlement is calculated using the             reduction, you first need to fill in an Initial Notice
receiving the RTB1. If you have been a tenant with       must be issued within 12 weeks of issuing                number of whole years that you have held a public        of Delay (form RTB6) and send it to the Council.
Sandwell Council for less than 2 years (or 5 years       the form RTB2.                                           sector tenancy. The maximum discount allowed             You must give the Council one month to take the
if applicable) and have previous tenancies with                                                                   incash is limited to £ 26,000 in the West Midlands.      next step in the sale process. The Council may send
another Local Authority, the Notice must be issued       The Notice is an important Legal document and                                                                     you a Counter Notice if a Response Notice or an
within 8 weeks. If it is decided that you do not         will form the basis of the sale of the property to       On the next page there are two tables to illustrate      Offer Notice has already been served, or there is
have the Right to Buy your home, the reason              you. You should read it very carefully.                  the discounts available. The first table will give you   no action that can be taken by the Council to
will be stated on the Notice.                            It will tell you five main things:                       some idea of discount you could receive on a             speed up the sale.
                                                            It will contain the names(s) of persons               valuation of £55,000. The second table will give
Each property is individually valued and if your            included in the application and the full              you some idea of discount you could receive on a         If the Council does not send you a counter notice
application is admitted and the property is a               address of the property.                              home valued at £ 75,000.                                 within the time allowed, you can send the Council
house, a valuation will be requested and you will           It will contain the price the Council thinks you                                                               an Operative Notice of Delay (form RTB8). The rent
receive an appointment through the post. If the             should pay for it. To calculate this, the Council     The figures are intended to be used as a                 you pay during the delay period will be taken off
property is a flat or maisonette, a plan is drawn up        has the property valued as previously outlined,       guide only, specific information will supplied           the price of the property at the eventual sale of
and a Structural Report is necessary. You will be           assesses the Market Value as at the date of your      upon submission of an application and                    the property. If the Council delays the sale again,
contacted to arrange a suitable appointment.                application, and then deducts the discount. If you    subsequent valuation. See tables overleaf.               then this procedure can be repeated.
The Service Charge calculation is also necessary.           have made improvements to the property, these
                                                            will not be included in the market value.
Moving on or buying your home                                                      13   Moving on or buying your home                                                                             14



 AN IDEA OF DISCOUNT YOU COULD RECEIVE FOR A PROPERTY VALUATION OF £55,000              The forms RTB6 and RTB8 can be obtained by              Solicitor
 Qualifying period (years)    Houses                        Flats/Maisonettes           telephoning Home Ownership Unit on 0121 569             You should employ a solicitor or licensed
                                                                                        5029 where further advice can be offered, or by         conveyancer to look after the legal side of
 2                            32 %        £ 17,600          44 %        £ 24,200
                                                                                        contacting Communities and Local government on          buying your home. Before employing anyone,
 5                            35 %        £ 19,250          50 %        £ 26,000        0870 1226236.                                           always ask how much the advice will cost. Advice
 10                           40 %        £ 22,000          60 %        £ 26,000                                                                will be offered on the suitability of obtaining
 15                           45 %        £ 24,750          70 %        £ 26,000        If you have received the Landlord’s Offer Notice        searches in relation to your home such as Coal
                                                                                        and confirmed to the Council that you wish to           Mining report. The cost of these advices is varied
 20                           50 %        £ 26,000          70 %        £ 26,000
                                                                                        proceed further with your purchase and delay the        and depends on the complexity of individual cases.
 25                           55 %        £ 26,000          70 %        £ 26,000        sale, the Council can issue a Notice under Section
 30                           60 %        £ 26,000          70 %        £ 26,000        140 which asks that you complete the sale within        Survey
                                                                                        56 days of the Notice. If you do not, the Council can   You should have a survey of your home done.
 Over 30                      60 %        £ 26,000          70 %        £ 26,000
                                                                                        issue a further Notice under Section 141 which          These can cost between £ 250 and £ 600, or more
                                                                                        requires you to complete the sale within a further      if your home has any special problems.
 AN IDEA OF DISCOUNT YOU COULD RECEIVE FOR A PROPERTY VALUATION OF £75,000
                                                                                        56 days of the further Notice. If you do
 Qualifying period (years)    Houses                        Flats/Maisonettes           not, the application will be withdrawn.                 Arranging a mortgage
 2                            32 %        £ 24,000          44 %        £ 26,000                                                                If you take out a mortgage loan, you may
 5                            35 %        £ 26,000          50 %        £ 26,000        Initial costs                                           have to pay for the cost of arranging it and
                                                                                        Buying your home is a major financial                   you also have to pay a valuation fee
 10                           40 %        £ 26,000          60 %        £ 26,000
                                                                                        commitment. Apart from paying for it in either          (average cost £200 - £300).
 15                           45 %        £ 26,000          70 %        £ 26,000        cash or with a loan, there will be other one
 20                           50 %        £ 26,000          70 %        £ 26,000        off costs of buying your home.                          Land Registry
                                                                                                                                                When the sale is completed, you must pay the
 25                           55 %        £ 26,000          70 %        £ 26,000
                                                                                                                                                Land Registry to register you as the new owner.
 30                           60 %        £ 26,000          70 %        £ 26,000                                                                The cost of this depends upon the value of
 Over 30                      60 %        £ 26,000          70 %        £ 26,000                                                                the property.
Moving on or buying your home                                                                                  15   Moving on or buying your home                                                                              16



  Stamp Duty                                           If the property which you purchase is a flat or              Selling your property                                    Owners who wish to resell their home within 10
  You may have to pay stamp duty, which is             maisonette, then it will have been sold to you on            The amount of discount to be repaid if a property is     years of it having been sold under the Right to Buy
  a tax that people pay when becoming new              Leasehold basis and in addition to the above                 resold within 5 years is now a percentage of the         must first offer it at market value to their former
  homeowners. Stamp Duty is worked out as a            mentioned, a yearly service charge is also payable.          market value of the property when it is resold.          landlord or to another body prescribed by the
  percentage of the price you pay for a property       For this type of sale, there may be other significant                                                                 Secretary of State.
  that is worth more than £125,000. For property       costs in relation to major works/improvements                So if a sale was subject to a 50% discount
  values between £125,000 and £250,000,                which may be carried out to the block/building               entitlement, and the property was subsequently
  the cost is one percent.                             in which your property is situated.                          resold 18 months later, the discount repayable would
                                                                                                                    be calculated on the current market value and would
Regular payments as an owner of a dwelling             Please be advised that your home may be                      be 4/5 of 50%.
When you purchase your property, you will as a         at risk of repossession if you fall behind will
home owner, incur other regular costs in relation to   mortgage repayments, this may mean that                      Example - If the initial valuation was £100,000 with
the property which should be considered before         you will be homeless.                                        discount of £26,000 this would equal 26%.
you purchase. This will indicate whether you will                                                                   If the new value was assessed at £150,000 and you
be able to afford to both finance the actual           Property Deeds                                               were selling in the second year, the repayable
purchase of the property and then the continued        Once a property is sold to you under the Right to            discount would be £150,000 x 26% x 4/5 =
costs of property ownership.                           Buy Scheme, the Council does not retain the Deeds            £31,200.
                                                       to the property. These are issued to the Solicitor
Some of the regular costs as well as the cost of the   who acted in the matter, then if the purchase is             Tenants who agree to sell their home to a third party
mortgage loan repayment and mortgage payment           financed through a mortgage or loan, the Deeds               during the discount period must repay some or all of
protection, are things such as Buildings Insurance     will be forward to the Lender to be retained until           their discount as if they had actually sold their home
Council Tax, Water/Sewage charges, Life Assurance,     the mortgage or loan is repaid.                              at the time of the agreement. This is dealt with as a
Gas, Electricity, Internal upkeep, External                                                                         clause in the Deed and is actioned by selling
repairs/improvements. This is of course not            If the property is bought outright, then the Deeds           Solicitors at time of resale.
an exhaustive list.                                    will initially be issued to your Solicitor and advice
                                                       should be given on how best to store securely.
Moving on or buying your home   17   Moving on or buying your home   18

				
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