Problem: Estate Agent and Right to Buy property

Discussion in 'General Property Investment Discussion' started by Chico, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. Chico

    Chico New Member


    I hope someone has some info around this issue that could help me.

    On Sep 8th I put an offer in for a flat which was accepted.

    Since then, the usual enquiries and searches were carried out until 27th Nov I received a call from my solicitor informing me that the sellers solicitor had informed them that Sandwell Council (the freeholder) had exercised their right to purchase the property. It turns out that the seller had purchased their flat through right to buy within the last 10 years and as such the freeholder had first refusal (I didn’t know about this at all until the phone call and certainly wasn’t mentioned by the estate agents).

    Additionally, the sellers solicitor confirmed that general enquiries were sent to the council and their response came 12th Sept. Their confirmation of intent to purchase was received 27th November. That makes 1 day short of 11 weeks. From what I can see from the law in this situation the council has 8 weeks to confirm intent to purchase (section 156A of the 1985 housing act ).

    My questions are:

    1. I believe the council has no right to step in here (the sellers solicitor is basically just saying thanks for your time but we’re going with the council now). Does this sound reasonable? What pressure can I exert here?

    2. I don’t believe this property should have been marketed in the first place by the estate agent (Dixon’s) - do I have grounds to make a complaint? Conveyancer is countrywide which are under the same umbrella with Dixon’s so ideally would like my fees cancelled.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Longterminvestor

    Longterminvestor Administrator

  3. FWL

    FWL Member

    I wasnt even aware that the council had the right to buy back the property up to 10 years after a right to buy purchase if the property went up for sale. How do they monitor sales of old right to buy properties?
  4. Chico

    Chico New Member


    It gets picked up by the conveyancers who have it as an enquiry to be fulfilled as part of the conveyancing.

    You basically need the councils permission (by way of refusing to buy your property) to sell it on the open market.

  5. Chico

    Chico New Member


    Landlord in this case is the freeholder, Sandwell Council, where the seller owns the lease having purchased the flat.

    So in my view, whichever way you cut it, 8 weeks has elapsed. I need to find out exactly what constitutes informing the council {ie does sending them general enquiries which clearly indicates an intent by the seller to sell the property) to be sure.

    Highly frustrating and costly.

  6. FWL

    FWL Member

    In the current political environment all political parties need to be seen to be doing all they can to build up council property stocks. Might be tricky getting this one away in the open market. Can you let us know how you get on please?
  7. lookinginvest

    lookinginvest Member

    I do find it bizarre that we are now in a situation where councils have sold houses at a discount to the market rate under the right to buy scheme, then many decide to take up the option to buy back at market rate. In your shoes I would certainly have bought the house under the scheme but have councils/governments really got any idea how to manage money?

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