Housing Act 1980

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1980 c. 51


Housing Act 1980

1980 CHAPTER 51

An Act to give security of tenure, and the right to buy their homes, to tenants of local authorities and other bodies; to make other provision with respect to those and other tenants; to amend the law about housing finance in the public sector; to make other provision with respect to housing; to restrict the discretion of the court in making orders for possession of land; and for connected purposes.

[8th August 1980]

B e it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Public Sector Tenants

Part I

Public Sector Tenants

Chapter I

The Right to Buy

S-1 Right to acquire freehold or long lease.

1 Right to acquire freehold or long lease.

(1) A secure tenant has the right—

( a ) if the dwelling-house is a house, to acquire the freehold of the dwelling-house;

( b ) if the dwelling-house is a flat, to be granted a long lease of the dwelling-house; and

( c ) in either case, to leave the whole or part of the aggregate amount mentioned in section 9(1) outstanding on the security of a first mortgage of the dwelling-house or, if the landlord is a housing association, to have the whole or part of that amount advanced to him on that security by the Housing Corporation;

in the circumstances and subject to the conditions and exceptions stated in the following provisions of this Chapter.

(2) In this Chapter the right mentioned in subsection (1)( a ) and ( b ) above is referred to as the right to buy and that mentioned in subsection (1)( c ) above as the right to a mortgage.

(3) The right to buy only arises after the secure tenant has been a secure tenant for a period of not less than three years or for periods amounting together to not less than three years; but—

( a ) neither the landlord nor the dwelling-house need have been the same during the whole of that period; and

( b ) any period during which the secure tenant was a tenant of a body specified in subsection (1) or (2) of section 2 shall be left out of account; and

( c ) this subsection is subject to subsections (4) to (7) below.

(4) In determining whether the condition in subsection (3) above is satisfied a person who, as a joint tenant under a secure tenancy, occupied a dwelling-house as his only or principal home shall be treated as the secure tenant under that tenancy; and where the secure tenancy is a joint tenancy that condition need be satisfied with respect to one only of the joint tenants.

(5) Where the secure tenant became a secure tenant on the death of his spouse, and at the time of the death they occupied the same dwelling-house as their only or principal home, any period during which the deceased spouse was a secure tenant is to be counted for the purposes of subsection (3) above unless excluded by paragraph ( b ) of that subsection.

(6) In determining whether the condition in subsection (3) above is satisfied in the case of a person who is, or of persons one of whom is, a previous purchaser, a period counts as a period during which the previous purchaser or his spouse was a secure tenant only if it fell after the completion of the previous purchase or, if more than one, the last of them.

(7) In subsection (6) above ‘previous purchaser’ means a person who has exercised the right to buy or the right to purchase conferred by Part I of the Tenants' Rights, Etc. (Scotland) Act 1980 on a previous occasion (whether he has exercised it alone or jointly with another person) and ‘previous purchase’ has a corresponding meaning.

(8) References in this Chapter to the purchase price include references to the consideration for the grant of a long lease.

S-2 Exceptions to right to buy.

2 Exceptions to right to buy.

(1) The right to buy does not arise if the landlord is a housing trust which is a charity within the meaning of the Charities Act 1960 .

(2) The right to buy does not arise if the landlord is a housing association which either—

( a ) is a charity (within the meaning of the Charities Act 1960); or

( b ) falls within paragraph ( d ) of section 15(3) of the 1977 Act (certain societies registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965) ; or

( c ) has at no time received a grant under section 119(3) of the 1957 Act, section 29, 31, 32 or 33 of the 1974 Act or under any enactment mentioned in paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to that Act.

(3) The right to buy does not arise unless the landlord owns the freehold.

(4) Subject to subsection (5) below, the right to buy—

( a ) does not arise in any of the circumstances mentioned in Part I of Schedule 1 to this Act, and

( b ) cannot be exercised in any of the circumstances mentioned in Part II of that Schedule.

(5) The Secretary of State may by order enable the right to buy to be exercised in relation to dwelling-houses held by local authorities otherwise than under Part V of the 1957 Act or such descriptions of such dwelling-houses as may be specified in the order; and any such order may contain such supplementary provisions, including provisions modifying the following provisions of this Chapter, as appear to the Secretary of State necessary or expedient.

S-3 Meaning of ‘house’, ‘flat’, ‘dwelling-house’ and ‘relevant time’.

3 Meaning of ‘house’, ‘flat’, ‘dwelling-house’ and ‘relevant time’.

(1) The following provisions apply to the interpretation of ‘house’, ‘flat’, ‘dwelling-house’ and ‘relevant time’ when used in this Chapter.

(2) A dwelling-house is a house if, and only if, it (or so much of it as does not consist of land included by virtue of section 50(2) of this Act) is a structure reasonably so called; so that—

( a ) where a building is divided horizontally, the flats or other units into which it is divided are not houses; and

( b ) where a building is divided vertically, the units into which it is divided may be houses; and

( c ) where a building is not structurally detached it is not a house if a material part of it lies above or below the remainder of the structure.

(3) Any dwelling-house which is not a house is a flat.

(4) There shall be treated as included in the dwelling-house any land used for the purposes of the dwelling-house which the landlord and the tenant agree to include.

(5) The relevant time is the date on which the tenant's notice claiming to exercise the right to buy is served; except that, if that notice is served within six months of the commencement of this Chapter, the relevant time is the date on which this Act is passed.

S-4 Joint tenants and members of family occupying dwelling-house otherwise than as joint tenants.

4 Joint tenants and members of family occupying dwelling-house otherwise than as joint tenants.

(1) Where a secure tenancy is a joint tenancy then, whether or not each of the joint tenants occupies the dwelling-house as his only or principal home, the right to buy and the right to a mortgage belong jointly to all of them or to such one or more of them as may be validly agreed between them; and the agreement is not valid unless the person or at least one of the persons to whom the right to buy is to belong occupies the dwelling-house as his only or principal home.

(2) A secure tenant may, in his notice under section 5 claiming to exercise the right to buy, require that not more than three members of his family who are not joint tenants but occupy the dwelling-house as their only or principal home should share the right to buy with him; but he may validly do so in the case of any such member only if—

( a ) that member is his spouse or has been residing with him throughout the period of twelve months ending with the giving of the notice; or

( b ) the landlord consents.

(3) Where by such a notice any members of the tenant's family are validly required to share the right to buy with the tenant, both the right to buy and the right to a mortgage belong to the tenant and those members jointly and he and they shall be treated for the purposes of this Chapter as joint tenants.

S-5 Notice claiming exercise of right to buy.

5 Notice claiming exercise of right to buy.

(1) Where a secure tenant serves on the landlord a written notice claiming to exercise the right to buy, the landlord shall (unless the notice is withdrawn) serve on the tenant, within four weeks, or in a case falling within subsection (2) below, eight weeks, either—

( a ) a written notice admitting the tenant's right; or

( b ) a written notice denying the tenant's right and stating the reasons why, in the opinion of the landlord, the tenant does not have the right to buy.

(2) A case falls within this subsection if the periods counting towards the three years required by section 1(3) above include a period during which the landlord was not the landlord on which the tenant's notice under subsection (1) above is served.

(3) A tenant's notice under subsection (1) above may be withdrawn at any time by notice in writing served on the landlord.

S-6 Purchase price.

6 Purchase price.

(1) The price payable for a dwelling-house on a conveyance or grant in pursuance of this Chapter is—

( a ) the amount which, under this section, is to be taken as its value at the relevant time; less

( b ) the discount to which the purchaser is entitled...

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