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The Housing Act

The Government's Housing Act received Royal Assent in November 2004 and includes further changes to modernise the Right to Buy. Most of these changes came into force on 18 January 2005.

It is still open to virtually any secure tenant who can afford to buy with the exception of dwellings occupied in connection with their employment (e.g. some police houses) and housing specially provided for the elderly and (in certain cases) the disabled. But exploitation of the rules for profit will become less financially attractive, discouraging early re-sales that put upward pressure on prices and recouping for public funds a more reasonable proportion of any appreciation in property values. 

The Act:

  • extends from two years to five years the period that the tenant must spend qualifying for the Right to Buy 
  • extends from three years to five years the period during which owners must repay their discount if they choose to resell their homes, and making the amount repayable dependant upon the resale value of the property 
  • exempts dwellings scheduled for demolition from the Right to Buy 
  • requires owners who wish to resell properties within ten years of their being sold under the Right to Buy to offer their homes back to a local social landlord 
  • makes tenants who enter into "deferred resale" deals to sell on to someone else, often a company, liable to repay discount 
  • shortens the time that tenants are allowed to take to complete the purchase of their homes 
  • ended the little-used Rent to Mortgage scheme

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