Right to Buy service standards

right to buy

What is the Right to Buy service?

The Right to Buy team helps tenants who want to buy their council home

We receive and assess applications from secure tenants who are interested in buying their home.  The law sets out the actions and timescales our customers are entitled to.  We assess whether you are entitled to buy your home and whether the property is eligible to be sold under the Right to Buy scheme.

Our Core Values

We have a set of core values that apply to all Your Homes Newcastle services.  These have been agreed with customers, the YHN Board and staff.  They are:

  • Accountability – acting openly and taking responsibility
  • Integrity – acting fairly and honestly
  • Passion – working positively with enthusiasm
  • Respect - treating everyone with care and professionalism
  • Forward thinking – proactively seeking improvements and solutions

These values are central to the way in which our services are provided

Why have service standards?

Core Values are about the way we behave and how we deliver services.  In addition to these values, we have developed a set of service standards.  These standards are set to ensure that every tenant or possible service user is clear about the level of service they can expect to receive from us.  We review our service standards at least every two years and we involve service users in this process.  We monitor our service standards and report the results to YHN Performance Committee every three months and in ‘Homes & People’, our newsletter for all tenants and service users on a quarterly basis.

When offering our service we will treat everyone equally, no matter what their race, disability, sex, age, sexuality, religious beliefs, level of income or housing circumstances.  The service you receive will also be polite, confidential and appropriate to any special need you may have.

Our Service Standards

  • Where all information is available, we will send RTB2 notices to at least 96% of customers within four weeks
  • Following a RTB2 notice, we will send offer notices to at least 96% of customers:
    • Within eight weeks from the date of the RTB2 if you are buying a freehold property (normally a house or bungalow).
    • Within twelve weeks from the date of the RTB2 if you are buying a leasehold property (normally a flat or maisonette)
  • We will respond to 100% of customers who have sent us an initial notice of delay form within one calendar month

What else can you expect from the service?

Service standards provide an indication of how we are performing.  However, we also do more to help our customers, such as:

  • We will give you an information pack that explains the Right to Buy process.  Your pack will include your application form RTB1, and we will give you advice about how to fill it in.
  • Within four weeks of receiving your application form RTB1, we will send you a notice, RTB2.  This will tell you if you do not have the right to buy.
  • If you do not have the right to buy your home, we will tell you why we have turned down your application.  If your property is set aside for elderly or disabled people, you may have the right to appeal against this decision to the Residential Property Tribunal Service.  Details about how you can appeal are on the back of the RTB2.
  • If you do have the right to buy, we will arrange a free valuation to work out the value of your property.
    • Within eight weeks from the date of the RTB2, if you are buying a freehold property (normally a house); or
    • within 12 weeks from the date of the RTB2 if you are buying a leasehold property (normally a flat or maisonette)
  • You must tell us if you want to go ahead and buy your home.  If we do not hear from you within 12 weeks from the date of the offer notice, we will send you a reminder.  You will then have another 28 days to contact us.  If you do not contact us or return your acceptance, we will withdraw your application.
  • If you are not happy with the price you have to pay for the property you can appeal to the district valuer.  We will arrange this for you.  To make an appeal you must write to us within three months of receiving the offer notice.  The price the district valuer puts on a property will be the final price.
  • Once you tell us that you want to buy your home you must return your acceptance form.  This must include the name and address of your solicitor.  Our legal services department will draw up the legal document and send it to your solicitor.  If you do not tell us your solicitor’s name and address, we will send you the legal documents.
  • We will send you a warning notice 12 weeks after we have sent you your offer notice.  This will ask you to complete your purchase within 56 days.  If you do not complete your purchase, we will send you a second 56 day notice.  At the end of this period, if you have not bought your home, we will withdraw your application.
  • You may decide you no longer want to buy your home.  You have the right to withdraw at any point, up to the sale being completed.  You must do this in writing.
  • If we do not meet the timescales, you should ask us for the form RTB6.  This is an initial notice of delay form.
  • We will respond within one calendar month after we receive your initial notice of delay form.
  • If you have sent us the form RTB 6 at the wrong time and we are not holding up the sale, we will send you form RTB 7.  This is a notice which explains why the RTB 6 does not apply.
  • If we do not reply to you within one calendar month you should ask us for the form RTB 8.  This is an operative notice of delay where we have failed to meet timescales.
  • If we have caused a delay, we will give you rent back from the start of the delay until the end of the delay.  We will take the rent you have paid off the price of your home.

What is the charge for the service

Our Right to Buy service is free to eligible tenants who want to buy their home.

The council value your home and this will be free of charge.  Either the council’s property services department or one of their agents will carry out the valuation.  Their valuers carry personal identification with them.  You should always ask to see identification before allowing anyone into your home.

A lot of tenants have been contacted by companies offering to help them buy their council homes.  They may offer a mortgage, legal services or an ‘all-in’ package that may include improvements to your home after you buy.

Other companies do not represent the council or us.  If a person or company offers to help you buy your home, ask for identification, check out what’s in it for them and talk to us before signing up to any deal.  You could be signing for services that you can get for free from us.

What do you have to do

You can ask for an information pack from the right-to-buy team by phone or email.  You can also collect your pack from one of our customer service centers.

You will need to fill in an RTB1 form to find out the valuation and price of your home, and to get the process started.

Putting things right

We will always try to provide the best service that we can.  However, if you are not satisfied with our service, please let us know and we will try and sort out your complaint immediately   If you are still not satisfied, please ask for our compliments, complaints and comments leaflet which gives you details about how to complain.  A senior manager will investigate your complaint and write to you within 10 working days.

Contact Details

Right to Buy Team
YHN House
Your Homes Newcastle
Benton Park Road
Newcastle upon Tyne

Telephone     0191 278 7725
Fax              0191 278 8603
Email            rtb@yhn.org.ukCustomer Service Excellence

Visit the Right to buy section to find out more

Download the Right to buy Service Service Standards leaflet here