Cornwall Council takes action to stop unauthorised use of homes bought under the government’s Right to Buy scheme

Cornwall Council is reminding people who have bought properties under the government’s Right to Buy scheme that there are legal restrictions on what they can do with their properties once they have bought them.

Andrew Mitchell said: “Council houses were built with public money to provide affordable homes for local people.  It is not right that they should then be used to make a profit or sold on to people who do not have a local connection to Cornwall. Especially as the discount on the purchase price under Right to Buy is significant and the Council will not have received enough money from the sale to be able to build a replacement home.” 

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Houses bought under the government’s Right to Buy scheme usually have a legal restriction on them which means that the owner should not be renting them out as holiday lets, letting them out to students or making significant alterations to their property.  In rural areas especially, there are also restrictions on who the property can be bought by or rented to in the future as, in many cases, the new owner or tenant has to have a Cornwall connection.

In some cases it may be that the person who has bought a former Council house some time ago is not fully aware that restrictions may still be in force so,  the Council is giving those people a period of grace of one year to put right any breaches.  Anyone who has bought a property from 01 May this year will be expected to abide by the restrictions from day one.

The Council can take legal action against anyone who is not abiding by the legal restrictions and apply for a Court injunction requiring that they put right whatever they are doing in breach of the restriction. Breaching an injunction is contempt of Court and the Court can impose an unlimited fine or even a custodial sentence.

Councillor Mitchell adds: “We also have a duty of care to our residents and the communities they live in.  If a former council owned home is bought under the Right to Buy scheme but is then let out as holiday accommodation or as a student let, this can have a significant impact on neighbouring residents and the local community.”

Homeowners who have bought their properties under the Right to Buy Scheme will be contacted direct to remind them of their obligations.

If anyone believes that a former right to buy property is in breach of a restrictive covenant you can report this to the Council Investigation team.

By telephone: Ring our 24 hour free-phone, confidential fraud hotline on: 0800 7316125

By e-mail: fraud@cornwall.gov.uk  or whistleblowing@cornwall.gov.uk 

By post: If you would prefer to make a report in writing, you can send information to the Counter Fraud Investigations Manager at the following address:

Room 5, First Floor, Dalvenie House, New County Hall, Treyew Road, Truro TR1 3AY

You can choose not to give your contact details if you prefer, but if you do give your details we will treat this with the utmost sensitivity and confidentiality. In addition, by providing your details it allows for the investigating officer to get in touch to clarify any of the information provided.

 

Story posted 15 April 2019