Listen to our very own Gary Boyack on the Mortgage & Protection Podcast talking all things Right To Buy.

What actually is the right to buy scheme and how does it work?

It allows most Council tenants to buy their Council houses at a reduced price (lower than the full market value) subject to eligibility tests.

Depending on the length of time spent as a tenant, it then applies a discount on the property.

This discount then acts as the deposit.

To explain this we normally tell our right to buy clients your essentially getting the rent back that you have paid in to the council already.

Who qualifies for the Right To Buy scheme?

You need to be either a council or public sector tenant for at least three years within the property you wish to purchase.

The home that you want to buy must be your main residence (You cannot buy the property under the right to buy scheme then immediately let it out).

You cannot share rooms, so the property must be self-contained like a whole house or flat.

The scheme ended in Wales in 2019 and in Scotland on 31st July 2016 so it is currently* (2021) only available in England and Northern Ireland.

What’s the process if I do qualify for Right To Buy?

The easiest thing to do is give one of our team a quick call, or leave your details for a callback.

We treat a right to buy enquiry first and foremost as a mortgage enquiry, so we’ll run some affordability checks to see how much you can borrow.

We’ll then ask you to request an “RTB1 notice” form from your council (which we can help you fill out if you need it).

Once you have submitted the RTB1 notice the council have around 4 weeks to get back to you with a decision.

In that time the council need to work out how much the property is worth and what discount you are eligible for.

If everything goes well you’ll get a qualifying certificate from the council that should last for a number of months – giving us enough time to complete the purchase.

There is a bit of admin required but we’ll assist you every step of the way giving you the support and advice you need.

Property Discounts

There are discounts available on your home when you buy it if you qualify for the Right to Buy scheme.

The maximum discount is £84,600 across England, except in London boroughs where it is £112,800. It will increase each year in April in line with the consumer price index (CPI).

The discount is based on how long you’ve been a tenant with a public sector landlord
the type of property you’re buying – a flat or house
the value of your home.

Don’t worry if you’re buying together and one of you has just moved in because if you’re buying with someone else, you count the time of whoever’s been a tenant for the longest.

You’ll usually have to repay some or all your discount if you sell your home within 5 years.

You might get a smaller discount if you’ve used Right to Buy in the past.

There are different discount levels for houses and flats.

Right To Buy discount For Houses

You get a 35% discount if you’ve been a public sector tenant for between 3 and 5 years.

After 5 years, the discount goes up 1% for every extra year you’ve been a public sector tenant, up to a maximum of 70% or £84,600 across England and £112,800 in London boroughs (whichever is lower).

Right To Buy Discount For Flats

You get a 50% discount if you’ve been a public sector tenant for between 3 and 5 years.

After 5 years, the discount goes up by 2% for each extra year you’ve been a public sector tenant, up to a maximum of 70% or £84,600 across England and £112,800 in London boroughs (whichever is lower).

Right To Buy Mortgage

The longer you have lived in the property the bigger the discount is, this affects the mortgage because you’ll need to borrow less.

Depending on the discount you could end up paying less on your mortgage than the rent and be mortgage-free in 10 years.

We will work with your budget, so if we need to help you extend the term of the mortgage then that could be an option too.

Some lenders will consider lending more for home improvements too.

It costs nothing to call our team and see what’s possible for you on your property within your budget.

Can the Council refuse my Right To Buy application?

Yes, and it could be you don’t fit the criteria (check if you’re eligible above).

They will check your history as a tenant, rent payments any disputes and that you are not at threat of eviction.

The council will only refuse your application if there is a really good reason for it and they’ll normally let you know what that is.

Are there options if I’m refused by the council?

Right To Acquire is a scheme by the England housing association for people who do not qualify for Right To Buy.

The discounts are generally a bit lower than Right To Buy but you could still purchase your home.

*Web page published in September 2021 – Please use the eligibility form or speak to one of our team if you are unsure if you qualify. 

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