Right to buy
The Right to Buy scheme allows qualifying secure Council tenants and some housing association tenants to buy their home at a discount.
Do I qualify for the Right to Buy?
You can apply for Right to Buy if you've been a council or public sector tenant for three years (it doesn't have to be three years in a row).
If you have lived in a property provided by a housing association, the armed services or a public body like an NHS trust, this would count as a public sector tenancy.
The qualifying period does not all have to be with the same landlord.
Even if you are not joint tenants, your husband or wife may share the Right to Buy with you if the property is their only or principal home. Other members of your family may also be able to share the Right to Buy if the property is their only or principal home and they have lived with you throughout the last 12 months. A person living with you as your husband or wife, but not actually married to you, is regarded as a member of your family.
Some properties are excluded from the scheme, such as those designated for the elderly or in some rural areas.
In certain cases, the Council can exclude properties from the Right to Buy where there is a Demolition Notice in place.
What is the maximum discount available?
The discount increases depending on how long you have been a secure tenant, up to a maximum of £78,600.
The discount may be reduced if the Council has spent a considerable amount repairing or renovating your property, or if you have had a previous discount to buy a council property.
Would I own the freehold?
If you buy a house, you will buy the freehold and own the property outright. If you buy a flat or maisonette, you will purchase a long lease. The Council will still be the freeholder and will be responsible for the upkeep of the building and any communal areas and facilities.
As a leaseholder, you will have to pay the Council a nominal ground rent and service charge. You may also be expected to contribute towards the costs of certain repairs and refurbishment works. You can find out more information on the Leaseholders page, which gives advice on relevant rights and responsibilities.
Would I have to repay the discount if I sell my home?
You will have to repay all or some of the discount if you sell your property within five years of completing a purchase under the Right to Buy.
More information and how to apply
The Government have provided more detailed information on the Right to Buy website.
Detailed and impartial help and advice for tenants on eligibility and the purchase process is available from the Right To Buy Agent Service.
You must complete the application form (RTB1) to apply.
The Council cannot accept your application unless all parts of the form are completed.
If you give false or misleading information or omit information for the purpose of gaining the Right to Buy, it may be regarded as a criminal offence and action could be taken against you. This could include court action and the recovery of property.
Once you apply for the Right to Buy, the Council will not carry out any repairs and maintenance, except in extreme circumstances, as the property will be valued at the date of your application.
Prospective purchasers are advised to seek their own legal and financial advice. Your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loan secured on it.