Emma Coffey is head of sales at Goldsmith Williams Solicitors
Regardless of your client’s age, hopping onto the property ladder for today’s average individual is, to say the least, a challenge.
With fewer houses being built, house prices sky-rocketing and government support now harder to come by following the end of one strand of the popular Help To Buy scheme, it has never been more accurate to say – purchasing a home can be a big hurdle.
Despite the turbulent times though, all hope is not lost.
The government’s Right to Buy scheme is a prime example here.
Under the scheme, individuals who live in council housing (or, in some cases, housing now owned by housing associations, for instance) may be eligible for a large discount if they decide to buy the property themselves.
Eligible tenants may receive a discount of up to £103,900 or £77,900 outside London – a pretty meaningful chunk off their overall bill, I think most would agree.
Even better, in recent times, the number of years needed for eligibility (living in the residence for three years, as opposed to the former five) has been reduced.
So it’s a win-win situation for those clients hoping to make their rental property their own, yes?
Well, let’s back up for a second.
Like any government policy, the RTB scheme is tangled with a long list of T&Cs, exemptions and jargon not always understood by most.
Dealing with councils can be time-consuming and stressful – as if the prospect of buying a property isn’t daunting enough!
There are so many variables for you and your clients to consider that may complicate the process of purchasing their property – uncooperative landlords; the number of years they have lived in their home and the correlating discount they are entitled to; joint applications with partners or family members; previous issues with debt, outstanding possession orders or legal issues; and so forth.
In simple terms, this is not a straight-forward property purchase for your clients by any stretch of the imagination.
Enlisting the assistance of a good lawyer, who understands the complexities of the process could literally be the key (no pun intended) to opening your clients’ first home of their own.