MORTGAGE lenders are urging council house tenants in Burnley to buy their own homes - ahead of the £74 million sell off of the entire municipal housing stock to a new landlord.

Council community services director Ian Saville said a number of lenders had targeted tenants, who qualify for discounts of up to 60 per cent of the value of their homes under the Government's Right to Buy Scheme

Latest in line is Alliance and Leicester, which has specially earmarked Burnley for a special mortgage deal offering householders to buy their homes without having to raise a deposit.

The 100 per cent mortgage offer, being marketed under the slogan "You don't need a nest egg to buy your council home," also offers tenants the opportunity to borrow extra funds for home improvements.

Local Alliance and Leicester manager Cecilia Kenyon said there had already been interest from would-be buyers in the town. "One or two have said they are trying to get out of the system because they are not sure it will work," she said.

A new publicly-owned housing company is set to take over Burnley's entire 5,500 council house stock next year, if tenants vote in favour of the deal this month.

The new company, unlike the council, will have £30 million to spend on home improvements over the next five years and says it will keep rent rises down to one per cent above inflation at most.

New tenants, however, will be expected to pay 20 per cent over the current rent rate when they move in.

Mr Saville said the council was aware a number of firms had been encouraging tenants to take up their right to buy.

He said there was no need to rush into any scheme because the same buying rights would apply to existing tenants after any transfer.

He said those hoping to buy their homes should shop around for the best terms and be sure they could afford to go ahead.

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