More tenants want to buy their own homes after change in rules

THE NUMBER of council house tenants wanting to buy their Eastbourne homes has increased by 50 per cent following a change in legislation.

New right-to-buy rules became effective from the beginning of April and the council has seen nine people apply to buy in the last two months, compared with six tenants between the end of May 2010 and May 2011.

The new rules offer tenants a discounted sale which requires payback over the first five years on a sliding scale.

If the seller can’t afford to pay back the discount, for example because the lender is selling their home following a repossession, it is in theory possible for a landlord to waive the discount repayment. Each case would be considered on its merits.

The discount also has to be paid back if the owner agrees to transfer the property to a company, such as a private landlord, within five years.

While the increase in applications shows the new rules are appealing to many council tenants, they may not necessarily result in purchases.

Cllr Margaret Bannister, portfolio holder for housing, said, “Eastbourne sees a role for all types of housing tenure. We have also made a commitment to do everything we can to ensure the money we receive from right-to-buy sales is used to provide new affordable homes.”