I'm BANNED from buying my council flat because it was adapted for my disability – no one told me it'd be a problem | The Sun

A DAD-of-two claims he is banned from buying his council flat because it was adapted for his disability.

Antony Carter, who has cerebral palsy, had the bathroom in his South London studio converted into to a wet room to make showering easier.

The 34-year-old has lived comfortably in his Lewisham home for more than 10 years and, like many of his neighbours, is now ready to get on the property ladder.

But Antony alleges the local authority is refusing to let him buy his Forest Hill flat at a discounted rate because it has been modified.

He claims Lewisham Council failed to mention when he signed the lease in 2012 that he would be unable to purchase the flat if it was altered thanks to a clause within the Housing Act.

Antony, who said he now feels "stuck", told MyLondon: "They didn't say or tell me anything, or mention it to my mum, who was helping me at the time.


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"Some of the neighbours have bought their properties because they haven't been adapted, but I don't have that right because mine has."

The law exempts properties from the Right to Buy scheme if they are "substantially different from those of ordinary dwelling houses" and are "designed for people who are physically disabled".

The council advised Antony to look into using HomeSwapper to exchange his studio for another, but he said that would only leave him in the same predicament he is in now as he would be stuck renting an adapted flat.

He added that he wants to avoid renting privately due to the increased cost and his desire to be a homeowner.

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"I don't want to rent for the rest of my life but I have been given additional barriers to stop me benefitting like others," he said.

"I’m not getting the same respect, rights and opportunities as everyone else.

"All disabled people in adapted council flats will be in the same position as me.

"Disabled people are being discriminated [against] and aren’t being given equal right-to-buy opportunities as abled people.

"This is huge prejudice and discrimination.

"As a disabled man this is just another way my opportunities have been severely limited and it feels infuriating because I already have numerous hurdles."

What is the Right to Buy scheme?

Right to Buy is a government scheme that allows council – and some housing association – tenants in England to buy their property at a discounted rate.

It's now been abolished in Scotland and Wales but is still currently running in Northern Ireland.

Across England, the maximum discount you can receive if you qualify is £87,200, or £116,200 in London.

Tenants must have lived in their home for between three and five years to be eligible for the 35% discount.

An additional 1% can be claimed for every year after that up to 70 per cent.

It was brought into effect 40 years ago by then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, through the Housing Act 1980.

The rules around eligibility for this scheme can be quite complex.

There's a handy eligibility checker on the Own Your Home website if you're not sure.

A spokesperson for Lewisham Council said: "With over 10,000 families on our housing waiting list, we want to increase the supply of social housing in Lewisham, rather than sell existing homes.

"We would not look to sell off council homes into the private sector, other than where we are legally obliged to under the Right to Buy scheme.

"While we understand the frustrations raised by Mr Carter, the Right to Buy scheme and the exceptions to it are governed by national legislation and made clear to tenants on the Lewisham Homes website.

"Mr Carter’s property has been determined to fall under the exceptions set out in this legislation and therefore does not qualify for the Right to Buy scheme.

"Decisions around changing the current legislation ultimately rest with the Government, rather than the council.

"We remain committed to supporting disabled residents with their housing needs by adapting council-owned properties where needed and ensuring there is a good supply of accessible housing in the borough."

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: "It is important houses for the elderly and disabled are preserved.

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"For that reason, certain accommodation can be exempt from Right to Buy.

"Councils decide whether a property is exempt, in line with the criteria set out in the Right to Buy legislation."

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