Your offer letter (called a Section 125 Notice) is a very important document and you should read it carefully. It contains the valuation, discount amount, purchase price, structural problems (if any exist) and the terms and conditions of the sale.
If you are not happy with the costs or terms of your letter, you have some options.
Challenging the valuation
If you do not agree with the valuation you must let your landlord know, in writing, within 3 months of receiving your offer notice. Your landlord must then refer the request to the District Valuer who will conduct an independent valuation. You should let the District Valuer have any information you think might be relevant to their valuation – for example work that you’ve done to the property.
The District Valuer will inspect your home to determine the value of the property and send their report to you and your landlord. However, bear in mind that this new valuation is binding on both the landlord and you – even if the valuation is higher than the one from your landlord. If you still disagree with the valuation, a review can only be requested if there has been a significant factual error or they did not take into account information provided by you or your landlord.
If the District Valuer sets the same valuation as your landlord, they will need to write to you confirming this. Your landlord will then send you another offer letter (Section 125 notice).
If the District Valuer sets a different valuation, your landlord will send you a new offer letter (Section 128 notice) containing the new valuation amount, discount amount and sale price.
In both these cases, your 12 week notice period starts again from the date of the offer letter and you have up to 12 weeks to tell your landlord whether you want to proceed or withdraw your application.
Challenging other things in your offer letter
If you want to question anything else in your offer letter (the size of your discount, service charges, conditions of sale, your home’s boundaries) you should contact your landlord. If you and your landlord disagree about something, you have the right to go to the county court for a ruling. But this can be expensive, and you should get legal advice first.
If you are buying a leasehold property, go to our Buying a Leasehold property page for further details on what you should consider.
Where to get help and advice
It’s important to get professional advice before you sign anything. There are a number of places to get free and unbiased advice to help get you started.
To find a surveyor in your area visit the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) website. They may be able to help if you disagree with any of the structural problems identified in your offer letter.
The Law Society includes guides on how to find the right solicitor for you.
If you are buying a leasehold property, the Leasehold Advisory Service (020 7832 2500) has free and unbiased information and advice. Or you could try the Citizens Advice Bureau.
The Government has also set up an impartial Right to Buy Agents service to help guide you through the Right to Buy process. You can call, email or chat online with them.
Decided not to buy?
If you decide not to buy, you will need to inform your landlord in writing. They will then close your application. If you reconsider at all in the future you can submit another application.