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A guide to the Right to Buy scheme

A guide to the Right to Buy scheme

If you’re a council house or housing association tenant, you might be able to buy your home from your landlord at a discounted price. We take a look.

Tobi Owens
From the Mortgages team
minute read
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Posted 3 JANUARY 2020

What is Right to Buy?

Right to Buy is a government scheme that helps council and housing association tenants in England buy their home outright, by offering discounts of up to £80,900 (or £108,000 in London) on the market value.

How much discount could I be eligible for?

That depends on where you live. The maximum discount across the United Kingdom is as follows:

  • £108,000 - London
  • £80,900 - elsewhere in England
  • £8,000 - in Wales
  • £24,000 - in Northern Ireland

In Scotland, the scheme ended in 2016.

Do I qualify for Right to Buy?

You could qualify for Right to Buy if:

  • You’ve been a council or public sector tenant for three years. Your landlord must be: the council, a housing association, NHS trust or another public sector body
  • You intend to use your home as your main residence
  • The property isn’t shared with others – in other words, it’s self-contained.

You can apply for Right to Buy if you share a tenancy or live with up to three family members, but you’ll need to have lived together for at least a year.

If you live in an ex-council home and the council sold the property to a public sector landlord while you were living there, you could still qualify under what’s known as a ‘Preserved Right to Buy’. The government’s website has more details about this.

When might I not qualify for Right to Buy?

You could be ineligible for Right to Buy if:

  • You have large debts or have been declared bankrupt
  • You’ve been threatened with eviction
  • Your home is reserved for the elderly or disabled
  • There’s a shortage of housing in your area.

How do I apply for Right to Buy? 

Speak to your landlord and ask for a Right to Buy form. Your landlord must reply within four weeks. If they refuse to let you buy, they must explain their decision. If the answer is ‘yes’ they’ll then need to send you an offer letter which includes a valuation and purchase price set by your landlord. If you’d like to challenge the valuation, you can get an independent view from the Valuation Office Agency from HM Revenue & Customs. You’ll have 12 weeks to decide whether to go ahead and buy your home. Alternatively, you can pull out of buying the property and carry on renting. 

Compare mortgages 

If you decide to proceed with the Right to Buy scheme, then it’s likely you’ll need a mortgage to pay for your home. Our mortgage calculator is a simple-to-use tool that can help you work out how much you could borrow. 

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