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Buy your Council House?

If you live in a council house, how about buying it?!

In the UK some time ago council houses were property owned by the local authority and rented out to council tenants on an ongoing basis. Later, opportunity opened up for any council house tenant to buy the house from the council. People who might previously have considered themselves too poor were suddenly faced with the possibility that they might become home owners!

This was quite contentious at the time and different people take widely differing political views about what's right and wrong about this. But the fact is, it happened.

You could tell which of the houses in a council estate had been bought and were now owner occupied rather than being council owned, as the proud new owners would distinguish themselves from their state-owned neighbours by fitting a fancy new front door and painting their house in a non-conformist colour. As time went on more and more houses in previously all-the-same estates acquired the signs of individuality and distinct style, some with more taste than others.

Council houses were never regarded as the best built houses ever, but they can't be that bad, as they are still standing and most of them have been there since before the Second World War.

Owning your own house rather than renting it from the council has various advantages. Admittedly if the house needs repair you've got to arrange for it to be done, but in the long run it's worthwhile, and it's still cheaper than paying rent. Plus, houses traditionally rise in value better than money in the bank, so you could end up being able to sell the house at a considerable profit and keep the money. Although tax is high in the UK, the sale of your own house is exempt from capital gains tax in most situations.

The key feature of the opportunity to buy was this: When the local council offered you the chance to buy your house, the price was much less than the realistic value of the property! Sometimes you could be offered the house for less than half the market value.

So, if you live in a council house and the council offers you a chance to buy the house for less than it's worth, it would be a good idea to buy it. If you would like to have a mortgage to help you to buy the house, it might be worth knowing about Regency Mortgage who are a company who specialise in mortgages for council tenants to buy their own council house!

Initially, council tenants were just offered the chance to buy the house. But later, as political events went on, council tenants were given a RIGHT TO BUY. Some councils weren't so happy about this as they had no choice and had to sell if pushed on the matter.

It's also worth knowing that it's much better to own the house yourself rather than let it be bought up as part of a job-lot by a housing association. Although some are good, there are some stories where councils have sold off the whole municipal council estate to what is in effect a private landlord. Some of these arrangements have been a disaster. It's far better to own your own house.

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