Your Tenancy Agreement is a legally binding document which details the rights and responsibilities of both you the tenant and SMHA as your landlord. The following provides a guide to the main elements of the Agreement and will be used as a source of information in the event of a dispute.
Statutory House Sales Scheme
SMHA operates the ‘Statutory House Sales Scheme’ approved by the Department for Social Development. The scheme offers tenants the opportunity to purchase their home outright or buy a percentage equity share, providing they meet the eligibility criteria set out within the scheme.
If you wish to purchase your home, you must meet the criteria set out in the ‘Statutory House Sales Scheme’ which states that you must have been a ‘secure’ tenant with a qualifying tenancy of 5 years. Time spent as an ‘introductory’ tenant will count towards this, unless any of the following criteria apply:
- You are a squatter.
- You are under investigation for anti-social behaviour.
- SMHA has served a relevant statutory notice to seek possession during the previous three months
- Proceedings for possession of the dwelling are pending.
- You are obliged to give up possession by order of the court.
- SMHA is actively considering, within the next 3 months, serving a statutory notice for possession based on:
- Ground 2 of Part 1: Schedule 3 of the Housing (NI) Order 1983 or an allegation that you have been guilty of nuisance to neighbours.
If you apply to purchase and you are in rent arrears, your application will not be rejected on those grounds but shall be allowed to proceed to completion stage. However, no sale shall be completed until all arrears, whether for rent or any other payment due have been paid.
Property Types Exempt From Sale
All properties that are part of a group housing scheme, including special needs and sheltered housing are exempt from sale under the terms of the scheme. All bungalows with 2 bedrooms or less, are also exempt from sale. Further information on the details of the scheme can be found within the House Sales booklet which can be obtained from SMHA.
The purchase price will be the market value less any available discount. The market value will be assessed independently by a suitably qualified professional surveyor. The valuation will make deductions for any improvements carried out by the tenant.
The purchase price shall be the market value less any available discount. Available discount will be determined on the following criteria:
- 20% discount for 5 completed years qualifying tenancy
- An additional 2% for each completed year served thereafter
- The maximum discount applicable in any case is £24,000 or 60%, whichever is lower. This is based on the proviso that the selling price does not fall below the historic cost of the property (conditions apply)
- Tenants purchasing an equity share will have their discount calculated based upon the percentage of the share purchased. These discount percentages have been predetermined by the Department for Social Development and are on an incremental scale, details of which are available from the Association.
Conditions of Re-Sale
If you purchase your property and decide to dispose of it within 5 years of purchase, you will be required to pay back the entire discount received. Some disposals are exempt from the requirement to repay the discount, for example, disposal to a joint purchaser. For further information, reference should be made to the House Sales Scheme.
If you decide to sell within 10 years, SMHA must be offered the opportunity to re-purchase.
Steps to Purchasing Your Home
If you wish to purchase your home, you should request a ‘House Sales Booklet’ and ‘House Sales Application Form’ from the Association.