Right to Buy scheme: England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Money Advice Service

If you are a council house or housing association tenant, you might be able to buy your home for less than its market rate. Here’s some information on the Right to Buy scheme and how to apply for it.

Right to Buy

How much will my discount be?

Right to Buy in Wales has ended for all Council and housing association tenants on 26 January 2019.

The maximum right to buy discount is:

  • £108,000 in London
  • £80,900 for the rest of England
  • £24,000 in Northern Ireland

If you sell within five years you will have to pay back your total discount, or some of it, plus a share of any profit.

Can I Apply?

Yes, if:

  • you’ve been a council or public sector tenant for three years
  • the home you want to buy will be used as your main home
  • you don’t share rooms with other people – i.e. the property is self-contained
  • your landlord is the council, a housing association, NHS trust or other public sector landlord

Also:

  • you can apply for Right to Buy with someone else who shares the tenancy with you; or with as many as three members of your family if you’ve lived together for at least the past 12 months
  • If the council sold your home to another public sector landlord while you were living there, you may still buy it under ‘Preserved Right to Buy’

When don’t you have a Right to Buy?

  • If you’re under threat of eviction, are bankrupt or have large debts
  • If your home is reserved for the elderly or disabled
  • When there’s a shortage of housing

How do I start the process?

Ask your landlord for a Right to Buy form. Once you’ve posted it, your landlord must reply within four weeks.

If the answer is no they must say why, and if the answer is yes they’ll send you an offer.

You can also speak to the Right to Buy Agents’ service which will signpost tenants to no-obligation independent advice and to help them with the application process.

Right to Buy useful contacts

How much will it cost to buy the property?

Your landlord will name their price and explain the discount.

If you don’t think it’s fair you can ask for a valuation from the independent Valuation Office Agency from HM Revenue & Customs.

  • The landlord’s offer will include a description of the property and any land, details of any structural problems and an estimate of the service charge (if any) for the first five years
  • The landlord must tell you if there are restrictions on who you can sell your home to later. This could make it more difficult to get a mortgage
  • You have 12 weeks to decide whether to go ahead

Can I change my mind?

Yes, you can pull out of the sale and carry on renting at any time.

Raising the money

Most buyers need a mortgage to pay for their home.

You can apply for a mortgage from a bank or building society and the lender will check you can afford to meet the repayments.

How much can you afford to borrow?

Before going ahead, make sure you have enough money to cover fees and other costs you’ll need to pay when buying your home.

A guide to mortgage fees and costs

Mortgage payments calculator

Right to Buy in England

Right to Buy in Wales

Right to Buy in Northern Ireland

Right to Acquire

Right to Acquire will end in Wales for all Council and housing association tenants on 26 January 2019.

Right to Acquire is a scheme offered in England and Wales for housing association tenants who don’t qualify for Right to Buy.

  • You must have been a tenant for three years and be buying your property to use as your main home
  • You can’t join the scheme if you’re under threat of eviction, bankrupt or if you have any large debts
  • If properties are due to be demolished, or are provided for the elderly, disabled or those in certain jobs, they are not eligible
  • Discounts are lower than under Right to Buy and typically range from £9,000 to £16,000

To qualify for the scheme, your landlord must be a housing association or on the register of social housing providers.

Your home must have been built with public funds or taken over from a local council after 1 April 1997.

More information

Right to Acquire

Help to Buy and other housing schemes

Northern Ireland

If you live in Northern Ireland and are a Housing Executive or housing association tenant for five years or more, you might be able to buy your home with a maximum discount of £24,0000.

The discount you will get depends on how long you’ve lived at the property.

Find out more on the Housing Advice NI website.

Your next step

Shared ownership schemes explained

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

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