Do You Have a Home to Sell? Council Scraps Estate Agency Fees

A council initiative to purchase existing homes to add to its list of rental properties is now available to private landlords including those who have tenants in-situ. Officials state that expanding North Lanarkshire Council’s open market purchase initiative will help prevent homelessness and drive the council’s housing supply forward.

The local council has ownership of almost 600 properties since it first launched the scheme four years ago, providing extra homes for rent in areas of demand. In locations where the council allows to obtain full ownership of a communal block, it in turn, also addresses empty/abandoned flats & houses. The initiative is now being extended to allow the council to purchase property from private landlords for the first time.

Existing renters would then be able to continue living in their current homes as council tenants, or move out of the property if they wish. Council officials explain that the scheme (upheld by the Scottish government) gives permission towards the purchase of properties which are for sale on the public market.

Housing convener Heather Brannan-McVey said: ‘This scheme has been really successful in recent years and by expanding it to private landlords, we hope to be able to attract additional sellers and provide more homes for council tenants to rent. Providing new, affordable homes is a priority for North Lanarkshire Council and we’re undertaking a hugely ambitious new house building programme to deliver 5,000 homes by 2035. The market has been difficult over the last few years with the pandemic and cost of living crisis affecting sellers, but we hope that by extending our scheme, we can purchase and deliver more homes in areas where there is demand for that type and size of property.’ 

She added ‘it also gives us the opportunity to bring empty properties back into use that have been lying empty or derelict. There are lots of benefits to potential sellers that can make it much easier for them to sell their home, including no requirement for home reports, estate agency fees, viewings or being part of a chain of sellers.
The opportunity for sellers in mixed tenure blocks of flats to sell to the council and stay in their home also allows us to progress with common refurbishment works which will benefit all tenants.’