The Right to Buy scheme is a procedure for buying your council home at a discounted price. Find out how to apply and who is eligible to buy a council house.
RIGHT TO BUY: Tenants can apply to buy their council home providing:
You can also make a joint application to buy your council home with:
Some councils sell off their homes to another landlord even while you live in it. The properties are often sold to a housing association.
The 'Preserved Right to Buy' scheme means you may still have the Right to Buy this type of home. Your landlord will confirm if this opportunity is available for you.
There are other ways you can buy your council home. What is you were not living in the home when the council sold it? In this case the 'Voluntary Right to Buy' pilot might allow you to buy it.
Note: The Right to Buy website has an eligibility checker to find out if you can apply. But, different rules apply for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Right to Buy council house qualification means you can get a discount when you buy it. The discount gets based according to the market value of your home.
In England, the maximum council house discount is £77,900. There are exceptions in some London boroughs where the top discount could be £103,900. Council house discounts increase in April each year. They usually fall in line with the consumer price index (CPI).
The amount of discount on council home purchase gets based on:
If you make a joint purchase you count the number of years of the longest running public sector tenant.
Selling your council home within 5 years often means you have to repay a part, or all, of your discount.
Those who used the Right to Buy scheme in the past may get a smaller discount on any new purchases.
Different levels of discount apply for council houses and flats.
Note: You can use the government Right to Buy calculator to work out how much discount you might get.
A discount of 35% is available for those who have been a public sector tenant for 3 to 5 years.
The discount increases by 1% after 5 years for every extra year you have been a public sector tenant. The highest discount is 70% which relates to £77,900 in England or £103,900 in London boroughs (whichever is lowest).
A discount of 50% is available for those who have been a public sector tenant for 3 to 5 years.
The discount increases by 2% after 5 years for every extra year you have been a public sector tenant. The highest discount is 70% which relates to £77,900 in England or £103,900 in London boroughs (whichever is lowest).
Your landlord may have spent money building or maintaining your home. In this case, council house discount often reduces if:
Note: There is no discount if the landlord spends more money on the property than its market value.
Assuming your landlord agrees to sell the property, their offer will inform you of:
You must decide if you want to buy within 12 weeks of getting your landlord's offer. But, the landlord should send you a reminder if they do not get a reply from you about their offer.
If you fail to reply to their reminder within 28 days the landlord can choose to drop your application to buy. But, you can withdraw from the sale and continue paying your rent at any time you choose.
If you disagree with your landlord's offer you should contact them and explain why.
You may feel that your landlord set the market value too high for your home. In this case you must write to them within 3 months of getting their offer. The next step is to ask your landlord to get an independent valuation.
HM Revenue and Customs will send a district valuer to visit your home. They will determine how much the property is worth. You then have another 12 weeks to either accept their valuation or withdraw from the sale.
What if you get stopped from the right to buy your council home? In some cases it happens because it's deemed more suitable for elderly people.
You can appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber - Residential Property). Your appeal to the tribunal must occur within 56 days of having your application turned down by the council.
Landlords must complete certain parts of your Right to Buy application within set time limits. You might get a sale price reduction if they delay the purchase completion.
The first step is to fill in the 'Initial notice of delay form RTB6' and then send it to your landlord.
Your landlord must respond by moving the sale along within 4 weeks or sending you a 'counter notice'. A counter notice states they have already replied or it explains why they are unable to speed things up.
Fill in the 'Operative notice of delay form RTB8' if your landlord fails to reply within one month of getting the form RTB6. This action results in any rent you pay while waiting to hear from them may get taken off the sale price.
Note: You can repeat this action each time your landlord delays their response to you.
There are rules to follow if you sell your council home within 10 years of buying it through the Right to Buy scheme. If you decide to sell it you must first offer it to either:
You should sell the property at the full market price agreed between you and the landlord. A district valuer will value your home and set the price if you fail to agree.
As a rule, their independent valuation is free of charge. If the landlord declines to buy the home within 8 weeks, you can then sell it to anyone you choose.
Selling a Right to Buy home within 5 years of buying it means you have to pay back some (or all) discount you received.
If you sell it within the first 12 months you will have to pay back all the discount. Following that, the total amount that you pay back reduces to:
Note: The total amount you pay back will depend on the market value of your home when you sell it.
There are certain situations where you do not have to pay back council house discount. As a rule, transferring home ownership to a family member may exclude you from paying it back.
You must first agree this with your landlord and then you may need a solicitor to complete the sale.
Former landlords can limit who you sell your bought council home to. For example, if your home is:
An Example: You may need to sell to someone who has worked or lived in the area for at least 3 years. In some cases, this could make it difficult to secure a mortgage to buy your council home.
Note: Your landlord can confirm if this might apply to your home when you apply for Right to Buy council homes.
Right to Buy Council House Rules and Regulations
Last Updated 2018