Council tenants who want to buy their own homes are being urged to apply for £20,000 grants to help them onto the property ladder.
Both Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council were successful in applying for funding from the Government’s £84m Right-to-Buy Social Mobility Fund, which was launched earlier this year.
The two-year funding opportunity, called HomeOwn, is designed to help district council tenants move out of their existing rented accommodation and to buy a home that best suits their needs on the open market.
The scheme enables Babergh and Mid Suffolk to make one-off payments to council tenants, of up to £20,000, as a cash incentive to buy a house for the first time – freeing up a council house for someone else in the process.
Initially the scheme was offered to tenants living in one and two-bed-homes. It has now been opened up to all eligible tenants regardless of the size of their current property.
A maximum of ten tenants from each council area can use the grants but so far only one grant has been successfully applied for.
Former council tenants Andrea Brown and Samuel Bennett are the first tenants to take advantage of the scheme. They moved into their new home in Needham, Norfolk, last month, with their children Skye, seven and Lewi, four.
Miss Brown said: “When we first started looking for a home to buy, we saw this bungalow and with the amount of mortgage we could borrow along with our savings we couldn’t quite afford to buy the property.
“Then, luckily for us, about a week later we read in the local newspaper about the HomeOwn scheme and the grant enabled us to buy a home we could only dream about before.
“The application form was extremely easy to fill in and we received a quick decision from Babergh and Mid Suffolk allowing us to have our own home and to free up a council house for someone in need.”
Jennie Jenkins, Babergh’s portfolio holder for housing, said: “Both councils are delighted that our first family to take advantage of these grants have bought their house and are now enjoying family life in their new home.
“I am so pleased that we were successful in gaining this Government funding. Babergh and Mid Suffolk tenants can now have access to a choice of homes on the open market which they may otherwise have not been able to afford. Anyone who thinks they could take advantage of this offer should contact us immediately.”
To apply for the incentive, tenants will need to show that the purchase of a property on the open market will be a sustainable one, they must have a clear rent account for the past 12 months, be purchasing a property that meets their current housing needs and prove that they can re-pay a mortgage.
For more, contact Paulina Malinowska, Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils’ home ownership officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01449 724753.