Who can apply for the Right to Buy scheme?
You can apply to buy your property if:
- You have had a public sector landlord such as a council, housing association, armed services landlord or NHS trust for three years.
- Your property is your only or main home.
- Your property is self-contained.
- You are a secure tenant. A secure tenant is somebody who has the right to live in their property for the rest of their life.
Can you buy an ex-council property?
If your property was a council house but sold to another landlord whilst you lived there, then you may have the ‘Preserved Right to Buy’. You will need to ask your landlord if you are eligible for this scheme.
If you are not eligible for ‘Preserved Right to Buy’, you may be able to apply to another scheme called ‘Right to Acquire’. This scheme is for those who have had a public sector landlord for three or more years.
To be eligible for ‘Right to Acquire’, your property must have been bought or built by the landlord after 31st March 1997 and funded by a social housing grant. Alternatively, it must have been transferred from a local council to a housing association after 31st March 1997.
Another scheme called ‘Voluntary Right to Buy’ is currently being piloted by the government. If you are not eligible for any of the other schemes, this may be an option for you. To find out, talk to your landlord.
What discount do you receive with Right to Buy?
When you purchase your council house or flat through the Right to Buy scheme, you will receive a discount on the market value. The maximum discount is more than £80,000 (over £100,000 in London), and it increases each April. Check the government website for an up-to-date figure.
The exact discount you receive will depend upon how long you have been a tenant, the type of property you are purchasing, and your property's value. If you are buying your property jointly with another person, the discount will be based on the person who has been a tenant for the longest.
Usually, you will be expected to repay at least some of the right to buy discount if you sell your ex council house or flat within five years of purchase.