Buying or selling your home

Right to Buy

The Right to Buy was introduced in 1980. It means that certain tenants can buy their home at a discount to the full market value. Your discount is based on the number of years you have spent as a public sector tenant. There are different discount levels depending on whether your home is a house or a flat.

Who is eligible?

Not all Council tenants have the Right to Buy. You might be eligible if:

  • you are a tenant of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
  • you have been a tenant for at least three years
  • your home is your only or principal home
  • your home is self-contained (you do not share a bathroom or kitchen with another household) 

There are circumstances when tenants are not entitled to buy their home. In the Royal Borough the usual reasons for not being able to buy are:

  • the property is ‘sheltered accommodation’
  • the property is occupied as part of your employment, for example, as a caretaker or school-keeper
  • a court has made a possession order which says that you must leave your home
  • you are an undischarged bankrupt, have a bankruptcy petition pending against you, or have made an arrangement with creditors (people you owe money to) and you still owe them money.

What is the process?

There are several stages you need to go through when you buy your home.

Who should I contact for more details?

Please speak to your neighbourhood officer in the first instance about the options available to you.

If you are eligible, you may qualify for a discount of up to £110,500.

You will need to complete a form RTB1. Copies of this form are available from RBKC Housing Management Services on 0800 137 111, or you can download it from below.

You can hand in the form to the Housing Management Customer Service Centre or email it directly to HM-NeighbourhoodBusinessSupport@rbkc.gov.uk. Photographic ID will need to be verified when submitting an application and the property address should be included in the subject of the email. To do that, you need to come to the Housing Management Customer Service Centre with original documentation.

Right to Buy application form (RTB1)

If you would like to find out about other affordable home ownership options, please contact the Housingline on 020 7361 3008.

Buying your home

This page gives you a brief outline of what is involved if you decide to buy the lease of your current home.

You can buy your home if: 

  • you were a tenant of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea before 18 January 2005
  • your home is your only or principal home
  • your home is self-contained (you do not share bathroom or kitchens).

If you became a tenant after 18 January 2005, you will not be able to apply to buy your home until you have been a tenant for three years.

You may not be entitled to buy your property if: 

  • your property is sheltered accommodation
  • the property is occupied as part of your employment
  • a court has made a possession order which says you must leave your home
  • you have been declared bankrupt
  • you are no longer a secure tenant.

There are several stages you need to go through when you buy your home. Your first step is to complete a RTB1. You can get this form by contacting us on 0800 137 111. Please speak to your neighbourhood officer if you need advice.

Intermediate housing

Intermediate housing or affordable housing, covers a range of schemes to help you buy or rent a home that you can afford.

Buying affordable housing is often referred to as shared ownership because you buy a share of the property and pay a rent on the remainder of the property. When you can afford to, you can increase the share you own and reduce your rent.

Visit our Intermediate housing page for more information and details of available properties.

Home Sales

Before you buy or sell a leasehold property, your solicitor may request information about the property. If this is the case, we will provide them with a resale information pack, which includes the following information:

  • the last three years certified service charge accounts
  • an up-to-date statement of your service charge account
  • a copy of the current service charge estimate
  • copies of s.20 notices and/or s.20B notices about major works (if any)
  • planned five-year major works estimate
  • deed of covenant
  • fire risk assessment common parts
  • asbestos survey common parts
  • building insurance policy and schedule
  • copy of the lease

The charge of £250.00 plus VAT (£300.00) is the standard charge for delivery to you, which we will try to deliver to you within 10 working days on our receipt of your payment.

The two solicitors acting for you will use the information above to decide who pays for what. They agree these matters between themselves, and the landlord (the Council) has no involvement.

We advise all buyers and vendors of leasehold properties to obtain this information pack.  To request Pre-Sales pack please complete the Request for Pre-Sales Pack Form and return the form to Home Ownership team via Email : hm-homeownership@rbkc.gov.uk

Request for Pre-Sales Pack Form

Useful links

 

Buying your home

This gives you a brief outline of what is involved if you decide to buy the lease of your current home.

You can buy your home if: 

  • you were a tenant of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea before 18 January 2005
  • your home is your only or principal home
  • your home is self-contained (you do not share bathroom or kitchens).

If you became a tenant after 18 January 2005, you will not be able to apply to buy your home until you have been a tenant for three years.

You may not be entitled to buy your property if: 

  • your property is sheltered accommodation
  • the property is occupied as part of your employment
  • a court has made a possession order which says you must leave your home
  • you have been declared bankrupt
  • you are no longer a secure tenant.

There are several stages you need to go through when you buy your home. Your first step is to complete a RTB1. You can get this form by contacting us on 0800 137 111. Please speak to your neighbourhood officer if you need advice.

Intermediate housing

Intermediate housing or affordable housing, covers a range of schemes to help you buy or rent a home that you can afford.

Buying affordable housing is often referred to as shared ownership because you buy a share of the property and pay a rent on the remainder of the property. When you can afford to, you can increase the share you own and reduce your rent.

Visit our Intermediate housing page for more information and details of available properties.

Home sales

Before you buy or sell a leasehold property, your solicitor may request information about the property. If this is the case, we will provide them with a resale information pack, which includes the following information:

  • the last three years certified service charge accounts 
  • an up-to-date statement of your service charge account 
  • a copy of the current service charge estimate 
  • copies of s.20 notices and/or s.20B notices about major works (if any)
  • planned five year major works estimate 
  • deed of covenant 
  • fire risk assessment common parts 
  • asbestos survey
  • building insurance policy and schedule – this will be sent separately from our insurance team but is covered in the cost of the resale pack
  • copy of the lease

The charge of £250.00 plus VAT (£300.00) is the standard charge for delivery to you, which we will try to deliver to you within 10 working days on our receipt of your payment. Alternatively, we can offer you faster delivery of the package within three working days for £300.00 plus VAT (£360.000).

The two solicitors acting for you will use the information above to decide who pays for what. They agree these matters between themselves, and the landlord (the Council) has no involvement.

We advise all buyers and vendors of leasehold properties to obtain this information pack.

 

External wall system survey – EWS1 forms

The Council has received numerous requests for completed EWS1 forms. Leaseholders who are remortgaging or selling their homes may require the completed form.

What is an EWS1 form?

EWS stands for an external wall system survey. The EWS1 form was created by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and is completed following an external wall system survey. It enables a building owner to confirm that the external wall system on a residential building of 18 meters in height (approximately six storeys) or higher, has been assessed for fire safety. It was launched in December 2019, and the RICS website provides more information. Please visit the RICS website for further information on the EWS.

Not every building above 18 meters will require an EWS1 form, only those with some form of combustible material. The form must be completed by a qualified professional and is valid for the entire building for five years. The form was created to allow lenders to offer mortgages.

Is the completion of an EWS1 form a legal requirement?

No. The Housing Minister has said, “The EWS1 form is not a Government document, and there is no agreement between the Government and RICS stating that a building owner must produce an EWS1 form.”

The legislative requirement is the completion of a suitable fire risk assessment (FRA) under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Please visit our page on FRAs avaiabile for residents for more information.

Why can’t the Council complete the form?

  • Many lenders are insisting that an EWS1 is completed on all buildings – even those below 18 metres in height. An EWS1 is not needed for buildings less than 18m high. Where your building is under 18m, our advice is to send back a blank copy of an EWS1 form to the lender stating that the form is not required for your building because it is under 18 meters.
  • There is a national shortage of independent professionals that are both suitably qualified to complete an EWS1 form and who also have a suitable level of professional indemnity insurance. This means that most landlords and building-owners cannot get the forms completed. 
  • These surveys are extremely expensive. Some estimates received indicated a cost of £40K for one EWS1. If the Council paid the many thousands per building it would deplete vital funds that could be spent maintaining buildings and making sure they were safe. Paying for them would, in effect, be an exercise in assisting leaseholders to sell their flats. 
  • We do not think it is reasonable to pass the cost on to other leaseholders where the survey is carried out to assist individual mortgage applications. Below are some of the reasons why:
    • There may be a very few leaseholders in the block 
    • Some leaseholders have no mortgage, making EWS1 irrelevant to them 
    • Some leaseholders may have a cash buyer for their flat, so again EWS1s are irrelevant 
    • Some leaseholders may have a long fixed-term mortgage deal, so it will run out before they get to use it. 
    • Those leaseholders not trying to sell or remortgage may not be agreeable to the charge.

How can this be resolved?

The completion of EWS1 forms affect the whole country now, and the EWS1 process envisaged by RICS is causing an issue for thousands of people. 

As EWS1s is not a legal requirement, there is no obligation on landlords to complete these at a cost to themselves. Work is underway to try and resolve the cost issues arising from EWS1s and who should be responsible for these. 

Government and key stakeholders have been lobbied about this issue and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have taken a paper to Ministers. We are currently awaiting a response from them regarding EWS1s.