120,950 Right to buy house purchases in Northern Ireland since 1982

By Lauren Burns

New figures have been released in respect of the Right to Buy scheme in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, revealing that 120,950 former social housing properties were purchased by tenants in Northern Ireland between 1982 and 2018.

The first council property to be sold under the Right to Buy scheme was in 1980, and the scheme was introduced throughout the UK. It allows social housing tenants to purchase the property they have rented at a discount, the size of which is determined by the length of time they have been a tenant in the property. The maximum discount is now 70 per cent and in some areas of England it is capped at a certain monetary amount.

Around 2.6 million right to buy purchases have taken place since the scheme came into effect, though the scheme was stopped in Scotland in 2016, and is in the process of being scrapped in Wales with the last applications being accepted on 26th January this year. A consultation was launched into Right to Buy, known as the House Sales Scheme, in Northern Ireland in 2018

The scheme has come in for criticism because of what is believed to be a wide-spread practice of selling on the properties within a short space of time to earn the home owner a sizeable profit, because of the initial discount they had qualified for. Some measures do exist within the scheme to limit this practice, including the need to repay a percentage of the discount if the property is sold within 5 years, and previously the council had to be given the chance to buy back the property first if the sale took place within 10 years.

If you are considering purchasing a property under the Right to buy scheme you will need a property conveyancing solicitor to handle the legal process for you. Contact one of our conveyancing experts at Wilson Nesbitt in Bangor or Belfast for information or advice by clicking here.