Council Launches Right to Buy Roadshows

Following PM's launch of new extended discount scheme

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Hammersmith and Fulham Council is urging council tenants to consider taking advantage of the new £75,000 Right to Buy extended discount after Prime Minister David Cameron travelled to West London to launch the new scheme.

The council is holding a series of Right to Buy roadshows in Hammersmith and Shepherd's Bush which will offer tenants the chance to meet council experts and discuss their individual situations.

The Government recently announced that it would be increasing the maximum discount that council tenants can receive if they wish to buy their own home from £16,000 to £75,000.

H&F Council says that since then, its Home Buy team has been inundated with calls from council tenants keen to take advantage of this opportunity.

So far, 50 residents have expressed their interest in the scheme and the council expects that number to increase rapidly over the coming weeks.

Cllr Andrew Johnson, H&F Council cabinet member for housing, says: " Hammersmith & Fulham is a borough of housing opportunity with home ownership as its core and the new £75,000 discount is life-changing news for anyone who has ever dreamt of purchasing their own home but never thought that it would be financially possible. We have had a huge response already and we are expecting hundreds more calls from interested tenants over the coming weeks.”

The council says so far, 50 people have expressed an interest in the scheme, with many more expected to follow and this week a Hammersmith couple have become the first people in the UK to sign up for the discount.

Tarek Tuzani and his partner Laura Stevens will receive the huge cash discount on their flat in Standish House, St Peter’s Grove.

They plan to use the cash they saved, via the huge discount, to renovate their home and create a brand new bedroom for their baby daughter, Sophia.

Tarek, 31, says: "We have a one bedroom flat and when Laura gave birth in June 2011 we were keen to create a second bedroom by moving the kitchen. The problem was that in order to do that we had to buy the flat.

"I am delighted that we are now eligible for a full £75,000 discount. It is absolutely brilliant that we are able to save this amount of money and it means that we have extra cash to spend on renovating the flat.

"I am sure that we shall feel especially proud when we open the front door for the first time as owners of the property. We will finally be getting onto the housing ladder and it does feel quite empowering. Once we have bought the property we shall be looking to create the second room for Sophia very quickly."

The council says that though thousands of people have used Right to Buy over the last 30 years, completions under the scheme all but collapsed when the maximum discount in the capital was reduced in 2004 from £38,000 to £16,000. The move led to a slump from 245 Right to Buy sales in 2004/05 to a paltry seven in H&F last year.

H&F has the fourth most expensive housing in the country which meant that under the old form of Right to Buy a small discount would not have made purchasing their home a viable proposition for most borough tenants.

As a result, the council led calls for the Government to raise the Right to Buy discount to £75,000.

The first Right to Buy roadshow is on Saturday April 21, from 10am to 3pm, at H&F Advice, 145 King Street, W6 9XY. It will then visit the following locations:

Hammersmith Town Hall, Saturday May 5, from 10am to 2pm, in the Small Hall, King Street, W6 9JU

White City Community Centre, Saturday May 19, from 10am to 2pm, India Way, W12 7QT

Anyone interested in the scheme can simply drop in to one of these events. Those unable to make one of the roadshows can find out more about Right to Buy in H&F by emailing  h&fhome-buy@lbhf.gov.uk or telephoning 020 8753 6464.

To qualify, residents must meet certain criteria. For example the tenant must have been living in the property for at least five years, and the property must also be the tenant’s only or principal home.

April 5, 2012