This idea is important for a number as it creates a number of difficulties for private individuals wishing to sell their home. These are:
1. The Council has 8 weeks under the SI to decided whether they wish to purchase the property. It often takes several weeks to get a response from some Councils. Throughout this time the conveyancing process cannot being. Often the seller will not know of the situation until they instruct a legal advisor. If the seller has a related purchase and the Council do not respond promptly the chain may collapse.
2. Some Councils are begining to charge for providing certificates that the property has been offered back to them. The certifcate is necessary to comply with a restriction placed on the title at the Land Registry. It seems inequitable that the Council’s should be able to charge for a certificate when, in fact, the seller is complying with legislation aimed to give the Council an advanage – i.e the opportunity to re-buy a previous Council home. Another facet of this is that low cost home ownership is supposed to be an assistance to people and yet the Councils are trying to make money out of the very people they are supposed to have helped.
3. In the vast majority of cases the Council do not wish to purchase the property due to lack of funding. Therefore it is an administrative burden to go through the process even though the Council are unlikely to want to purchase the property.
4. The legislation restrictts the price the seller can sell at to the market value of the property. Therefore if the Council wanted to buy and the seller had an offer in excess of the market value from a willing buyer the seller would lose out.
5. The right of first refusal is binding on successors in title. This means that this right of first refusal applies even when the original Council tenant has sold on to a new owner and that new owner then wants to sell.