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Govt launches ‘free advice’ service for Right to Buy

The Government has set up a “free advice” service for council tenants looking to buy their property to help buyers “avoid hidden fees that can be charged by IFAs”.

According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, which launched the Right to Buy agent service this week, it will offer “free advice, support and information” at each stage of the purchase. Around 19,500 tenants have bought their council home through the scheme since 2012.

A DCLG spokesman says: “Tenants wanting to buy their own home can ring a dedicated local rate helpline to speak to a member of the new Right to Buy agent service. The service…will provide free advice at each stage of the purchase.

“In providing tenants with a dedicated source of information and guidance on the Right to Buy process, the service will help tenants to avoid hidden fees that can be charged by some independent financial advisers for Right to Buy advice.”

The maximum discount for tenants looking to buy their home has also increased in line with CPI from £75,000 to £77,000, and 100,000 to £102,700 in London.

When the Thatcher Government first launched Right to Buy in 1980, there was widespread criticism that council housing was not replaced.

DCLG says that since it was re-launched in 2012, receipts from any sales have been reinvested in building affordable rented homes.


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There are 11 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Nick Pilkington 5th August 2014 at 1:30 pm

    & I wonder if the IFAs are going to have to pay for this?

  2. Will these people ever learn not to say free advice ????

  3. Please could the DCLG spokesman confirm exactly what “hidden charges” are being levied, as I can’t think of any that would apply. Not that I would want to advise people in this market anyway…..

  4. I think these comments show the true attitude of those in power towards IFA’s.

  5. They mention hidden charges and then say they will give free advice, in other words hiding who is paying for it and how. Is this paid for out of general taxation or another one part paid by the industry?

  6. To be an IFA refers to Investment and Pension advice NOT to mortgage advice. It may be a co-incidence that an *IFA ALSO has a mortgage qualification and permissions. Were APFA still AIFA, then they should be taking this spokesman to task for lumping all IFAs in with all mortgage advisers.
    I in no way imply that there are significant numbers of mortgage advisers charging unfair fees and as someone else above has pointed out, there is NO SUCH THING AS FREE. Someone else is paying either with free time or tax redirection. This is increasingly feeling like an attempt by govt to get rid of ANY independent thinkers by making Independence a dirty word and nationalising “advice” a la 1984.

  7. I had a dream that our dear regulator will come out of hiding and say:

    “IFA’s are all very well qualified and held to high professional standards by a powerful regulator. IFA’s must fully disclose ALL fees and charges in pound note terms before they give advice every time. If they don’t we close them down. It is extremely disappointing that after all our (the regulator’s) hard work in raising standards government spokesmen are still spouting such offensive rubbish…”

    Then I woke up and remembered the regulator has forgotten at least one of its statutory obligations under The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA)

    •market confidence – maintaining confidence in the UK financial system;

  8. Hidden charges eh? That’s a good one. What next? Taking the pot and the kettle to the next think tank?

    I suppose this service will offer the same level of “advice” as MAS? and come to think of it, why is this duplication of effort even being organised and promoted by DCLG when their own government hierarchy has MAS for so called “free advice”?

    It’ll be interesting to know what DCLG plans to do in terms of submitting application, chasing valuers, lenders and solicitors….. in with their “free advice”…. they seem to have missed out on all the other things we do as part of our professional chargeable service which is up front about fees at numerous points in the process….

    Just when you thought MAS has wasted millions of tax payer £’s, along comes DCLG….

    If it wasn’t such a futile exercise, I’d write to my MP about things like this….

  9. When will these people stop using the term ‘Advice’? They are neither qualified nor authorised to give advice and that goes for MAS as well!

    Most annoyingly, if you ask ‘the Right to Buy Agent Service’ who can give advice, they incorrectly say MAS! MAS can’t give advice either, they can only give generic information!

    This is what happens when bureaucrats get involved in an industry they know nothing about!

  10. I think the wording could be a little misleading – I don’t believe that its the intention to provide ‘advice’ as we all know it, like it has been said on the previous posts the use of the word ‘advice’ is being banded around in the wrong context. The key wording I take from this they ‘can ring a dedicated local rate helpline’ – that’s all it is, a helpline. That’s a big difference.

  11. Much money is given away to cover the mortgage insurance by each family and such opportunity will bring many benefits to all of them. Hidden rates and fees make a tangible hole in the family budget. Any problem with the house may be also solved with the help of “free advice” service. But if I want to get a loan with no credit check at can I count on such support?

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