Laura Sharman 03 September 2015

Councils warned to be upfront about Right to Buy restrictions

Councils warned to be upfront about Right to Buy restrictions image

A council has come under fire after it failed to inform two homeowners about restrictions affecting their ex-council properties.

The two homeowners struggled to sell their properties after discovering they could only be sold to people living in a specific area. The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) said South Oxfordshire District Council failed to inform the homeowners it was enforcing the local restriction.

The ombudsman also said the council had not checked if the homeowners themselves were entitled to buy the properties, which had previously been sold under the Right to Buy scheme.

‘Selling a home is a stressful time for most people, but in these two instances South Oxfordshire Council made the moving process all the more difficult because of the historic restrictions they were now enforcing on the properties,’ said Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin.

‘I have found no evidence that the council made an active decision not to enforce the restrictions when the homeowners bought their properties, and officers should have properly informed the sellers and buyers’ legal representatives when they made enquiries.’

The LGO is calling for the properties to be revalued to find out if they were sold at a reduced rate because the restriction was enforced. It said the council should pay half the difference if this is the case, as well as provide compensation for the two complainants.

The council said if had used its discretion not to enforce the restriction until 2013, and it was the responsibility of the homeowners’ solicitors to inform them of the restrictions.

A spokesperson for the council said: 'We are reviewing our procedures and will take the recommendations to cabinet to consider at the earliest possible opportunity.'

Meeting new planning requirements for trees image

Meeting new planning requirements for trees

Concrete block permeable paving offers an important opportunity to help satisfy the requirement for extensive tree planting and retention of existing trees in developments. Chris Hodson reports.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Accountant x2

Islington London Borough Council
£39,462 - £45,594 per annum
There are two roles currently being advertised, one working with our Resources finance team, and one with our Housing and Public Health finance team. Islington, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Islington London Borough Council

Programme Director – Fisheries

Falkland Islands Government
£50,771 up to £56,292
The Programme Director – Fisheries will support the Director of Natural Resources Falkland Islands (FK)
Recuriter: Falkland Islands Government

Principal Engineer/Team Leader Street Works

Bath & North East Somerset Council
£39,880 - £42,821 pa
The Council’s Street Works Team is responsible for managing all aspects of road works and events that take place on our highway network. Keynsham, Bristol
Recuriter: Bath & North East Somerset Council

Social Worker / Advanced Practitioner – Children & Families Service

North Yorkshire County Council
£30,451 - £39,880 per annum pro rata + relocation support
North Yorkshire County Council have a national reputation for excellence. Skipton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Senior Technician - Asset Management - Highways & Flood Risk

West Berkshire Council
£23,541 to £29,577 per annum (Grade G)
We are currently looking to recruit to two exciting opportunities who will join us and play a role in improving West Berkshire’s highways. Newbury, Berkshire
Recuriter: West Berkshire Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue