A revamped Right to Buy scheme will offer council tenants in England up to £75,000 off the market price of their council home. Here’s what you need to know about the scheme.
In a bid to help thousands of people “achieve the dream of home ownership” David Cameron is regenerating the Right to Buy scheme first launched by Margaret Thatcher in the 80s.
Tenants across England can now get up to £75,000 off the cost of buying their council home through the scheme, with the coalition government promising to replace each council property that’s sold with new affordable social housing.
We look at how the scheme has changed and explain how you can benefit from it if you’re a council tenant.
To be eligible for the Right to Buy discount scheme you will need to have been a council tenant for at least 5 years, although this doesn’t have to be in one continuous period or just in the home you want to buy.
You cannot apply for a Right to Buy discount if any of the following apply:
the property isn't your main home
Certain properties are also excluded from the Right to Buy scheme, usually if they are reserved for the elderly or for tenants who work in a specific public sector, such as firemen or the police.
For more information on the properties that could be excluded from the scheme, visit the Directgov website.
The maximum discount available through the Right to Buy scheme has increased to £75,000 for properties across England (£100,000 in London boroughs).
The exact amount you will get will depend on how long you have been a council tenant, whether you live in a flat or house and the value of the property you want to buy on the open market.
The maximum discount for a council flat is 70% of the market value, but the discount starts at 50% for those who have been council tenants for 5 years and increases by 2% for each additional year of council tenancy.
The maximum discount for a council house through the right to buy scheme is 60% of the market value starting at 35% and increasing by 1% for every year you have been a council tenant.
Regardless of how long you have lived in your home, or how much it is worth on the open market, the maximum discount on offer through the Right to Buy scheme is £75,000.
Although the maximum discount available through the new revamped Right to Buy scheme is set at a generous £75,000, the amount of money that will be deducted from your property could be capped by the Cost Floor rule.
This rule allows your landlord, in most cases your local council, to claim back money they have spent on repairing and maintaining your property over the past 15 years from your Right to Buy discount – even if you’ve not lived there the entire time.
If you purchase your home through the Right to Buy housing association you may have to repay some or all of your discount if you sell it again within five years.
The amount you would have to pay back would depend on how long you had owned the property when you sell:
The market value of your home when you sell will also affect the amount you would have to pay back, this applies whether your property has increased or decreased in value. For example, if your home was worth £100,000 and you got a discount of £40,000 only to sell it for £110,000 the discount would be calculated as £44,000. So if you sold it 30 months after purchase you would repay 60% of £44,000.
You may also have to give your original landlord first refusal on the property when you come to sell.
If you want to benefit from the Right to Buy discount increase and are a qualifying tenant you can start your application by downloading an completing the RTB1 application form on the DirectGov website.
You will then need to send your application to your landlord who will have four weeks to tell you if you can buy your home (eight weeks if they have been your landlord less than two years).
If your landlord is happy to sell you your home they will then send you a Section 125 notice.
This will contain a formal valuation of your property including the price you will be expected to pay.
It will also set out details of the new right to buy discount 2012 rates and estimates of any charges that will be deducted from your discount.
Once you receive your Section 125 notice you will have 12 weeks to accept the offer or reject it and continue renting your home.
Purchasing your home through the council Right to Buy scheme is very similar to buying a property on the open market, except the home owner (in most cases the council) is able to offer a substantial discount on the price you have to pay.
However, this does mean that you will need to apply for a mortgage and put down a deposit unless you have the cash to purchase the property outright.
Many lenders will offer mortgages specifically tailored to Right to Buy applicants, although you should carefully consider all you different options when looking for the best mortgage.
For more help read our guide: 10 Steps to Your Perfect Mortgage or compare mortgages using our Right to Buy mortgage table. You can complete our mortgage broker form to speak to an independent mortgage broker in your area.
Control over social housing is a devolved issue, meaning that the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have control over the Right to Buy schemes in these countries.
In Scotland the Right to Buy scheme was closed to new social tenants from 1st March, 2011.
This means that if you took up your tenancy for the first time after the 1st of March that you will not be eligible to apply for a Right to Buy discount.
If you left social housing and returned to become a social tenant after the 1st March, 2011 it is unlikely that you will qualify for the Right to Buy scheme either.
However, while the Right to Buy scheme has now been withdrawn to new social tenants in Scotland, if you took up your tenancy before 1st March, 2011 you will still qualify for the scheme and be eligible to receive a discount on purchasing your home, although these will be much lower than the £75,000 limit introduced in England.
For more information on the Right to Buy scheme in Scotland visit the Scottish Government website, or read this short Right to Buy Scotland guide.
To a large extent the rules governing Right to Buy discounts are the same in Wales as they are in England, however the maximum discount available in Wales is much lower at £16,000.
Additionally the Welsh Assembly has given powers to local authorities to suspend the Right to Buy programme in areas where they are short of social housing.
This means that you may not be able to purchase your home if your local area has suspended the programme.
For more information on the Right to Buy Wales scheme, visit the Welsh Government website.
While the Northern Ireland Right to Buy scheme allows Housing Executive and housing association tenants to purchase their home at a discount, the maximum discount available in Northern Ireland is £24,000.
Most of the other rules and regulations regarding the scheme are the same as in England, with tenants having to have been a tenant for a minimum of 5 years to qualify.
For more information and details of how to apply, visit the Housing Rights Service website.
Can anyone help. I was sent an offer for my rtb flat and they have now sent me another letter saying the price was incorrect and they would be sending me a new letter in the next 10 days.
To add to the above. When I first received my offer. There was a letter saying the work that would need to be carried out in the next 5 years and how much I would have to contribute. I disputed this as all of the work they claimed needed doing such as a door entry system, electrics etc, has all been done. I asked why they would do this all again in the next five years and they said there had been a mistake and that they would be sending me a letter with a new offer. I asked why this would be the case? Surely they had sent around an independent surveyor who said that the cost of my flat as it stood today was worth the amount offered? They said it was, but there had been some other errors. I suggested to them that as they'd already done the works on the letter that was proposed, they were simply going to add that price onto my offer. They said this was not the case. How can this be the case then if they sent round a surveyor and made me an offer. Can they do this? Any help or advice on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Has it been resolved?
I am in the process of buying mine and they got the service charge all wrong. I questioned the council about building insurance as that was missing from the service charge (believe it or not). I now am being told that I have an extra £500 in cost of the building insurance and lift maintentance.
why is the right to buy discount lower in wales than anywhere else..surely this is discrimination???
The Welsh Assembly are currently reviewing their own Right to Buy scheme and are considering bringing it line with the English scheme I.e same discounts etc
i think the maximum discount in london is bigger than elsewhere in england. i don't live in london and i still find it fair. it reflects how much more expensive the properties are there.
Is it possible to take the right to buy discount and purchase a property in the private sector? How would you go about that? Thank you in advance.
No you can't.
Would I have the right to buy if I have a bad credit history and still owe creditors?
Ryem88 - On of the criteria on getting the RTB is that you cannot owe any money to creditors. This is purely because, like banks the council want to be assured that you are debt free and are able to pay the costs of your home. I don't think a bad credit history is taken into account by the council, however, if you were to apply for a mortgage, the bank who will be lending you the money will certainly take this into account - I found it hard enough getting a student account which gave me an 1700 overdraft due to bad history so you can imagine the dilemma when needing to borrow 100k+. Saying that, there are banks and mortgage schemes out there who are specifically designed for people who have bad credit ratings,you just have to shop around. Moneysupermarket and moneysavingexpert are good sources for this. Hope this helps
If I took a mortgage out on my council home would i have to pay a deposit or would they take the rtb discount into consideration
No deposit... Your discount is classed as your deposit. :)
You need to check. lenders such as halifax take the discount as a deposit, Barclays however still ask for a deposit on top of the discount.
Hi. We have just applied for a mortgage to buy our council house and have 53% discount . The mortgage advisor ( Halifax)told us we do not need a deposit and the right to buy scheme is the only way of buying your home where no deposit is needed. Hope this helps. Jo
Thats great advice thanks
peter kings i bought my flat. pros and cons, good and bad. did they tell you, you have to pay for your repairs, and good with making money last, to pay your bills. and you pay service charges. and very hard to get benefits. they only pay the interest only. for short time. PS you need to be good saving money. LOW PAID JOB IS OK, BUT YOU NEED TO BE IN A GOOD JOB, AND A TRADE, TO FIND WORK. REMEMBER ITS YOUR HOME. .
can someone share my mortgage with me? I am the sole tenant at my property. Sarah
If they have lived with you for the last 12 months you can add them to the mortgage and amend the section 125 to include the other person
if my debts are paid off first , and final settlements made with the creditors would i then be able to apply for the right to buy
It all depends on your credit rating-if its o.k. again your bank should be happy to proceed Phil,
Another question, Ive finally applied for my rtb but Im after an idea of the initial cost, solicitor fees etc.I want to try and put some money aside but have absolutley no idea how much its going to cost. (im talking for the surveyor etc). Can anybody help ??
all depends on the property price,it could be anything between 450-2000 quid
I am paying £900 in total
I have accepted the offer of right to buy, but now find out the discounts have been incresed. Can I now ask for the higher discount ?
I dont normally comment, but I can tell you "YES" you can ask for the higher discount that came into effect this year. Be aware that it may change the initial offer as the council may try and cover new cost. By new cost I mean if they think the value of the property has gone up ( depending on when you got the offer) the council may consider to survey the property again if they think the prices have gone up, and then apply the new discount. However I have a friend who got the new discount last year without any other changes.
My advice is to write to them and request for the new discount. I think Writing is better because you can keep a reference.
hope that helps,
Hi, I applied to purchase my property under the Right to Buy scheme but my council has tried to block the sale. I have served two notices of delay unsuccessfully. I want to appeal to the secretary of state. How do I go about it? To date, the process has taken 17 months
Hi we applied for rtb in my husbands name only.after accepting the valuation I also needed to be on the morgage buy council wont change this. They say I have to reapply. Can anyone help?
I don't know if you got this sorted already but some councils will add the name back on for a small admin charge
Sorry I can't directly answer your question, but can I ask, was the valuation of your property expected as the market value or was it lower than you thought? I too am looking at RTB in London and on the borderline if I will be able to afford it. I looked on Zoopla and it says around 250k although the local houses are being sold of 280 or 290k and if it is that price I won't be able to afford it even with the max discount of 100k..
Yes it was at the right price although I did dispute it and got another valuation from the district valuer. I got 5 grand off. Zoopla under values properties and is not always correct.
i think it's the way zoopla do their calculations, two identical properties in the same street but last sold 15 years apart end up with two different values as they use the last known sold price to calculate present day value.
Hi, If I buy my rtb house can I rent it out
You can after the first 5 years have elapsed, otherwise you would have to repay some of your discount back within the first 5 years
I'm not sure. I think maybe you can.
You can rent it out providing you ask permission from your morgage lenders.
Hi Saiqa its Kane - remember me?
Sorry no...... Do not know who you are.....
We were served a notice of the offer of right to buy under section 125 by our housing association for the sale price of 31000 signed by their solicitor however on accepting this offer the association being Helena housing has come back with a change in price of 32400 owing to an error on their part of calculating the discount . Are they allowed to do so or do they have to honour the initial price that we signed and accepted for
This is a grey area in term of the value and a S125 notice and at some point it will end up at the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court but from the cases I've seen it appears they can at the moment. There is provision in the legislation for correction of mistakes and it appears to be OK for them to do it to correct the discount.
What happens when the bank under values your property than what the council had valued at?
That means your Bank thinks it's worth less than the Council estimates. Either the Council is wrong (too high) or the Bank is wrong (too low). What do you think? You can appeal (against the Council's decision) if it's the right thing to do. Check values in the same street or nearby.
Hi there,Is one entitled to extra discount if they have also lived in another council property before? For example, I lived with relatives for over 20 years in our council house ( family home) and was given a council property where I have lived for the past 11-12 years. The reason I ask is because they have based the discount on my secure tenancy only at the property I live in now and not given me the maximum discount and Im sure they should have given discount on my previous address.
I lived in my council flat for about 9 years and was offered full discount.
It's based on YOUR tenancy or that of your spouse or partner. Not a relative you aren't "living with" even if you're in the same house.
Mogardo/ hi , I have lived 3 & half years on my council flat , with new rules I can buy it , now how much the discount well be regarding that a similar flat it's for sale private at £ 179000 - and if I apply to buy and have a estimate from the council , how long do I have the deadline on that estimate ( thanks in advance )
Your qualifying years do not have to be continuous, in other words you can add the years up to gain the maximum discount
Hi I have been a tenant for 6 years but have been told I don't qualify for the right to buy as it was after the 2005 cut off date, I have been told I only qualify for a 'right to acquire' which is a flat rate of 10,000 off the current market value. Could anyone tell me if this thread is meaning that they are bringing the right to buy back for later tenants? Thanks for any help
Hi, if you were in a council tenant prior to this date you may have the preserved right to buy.
Hi, we are just buying our house and wondered if we are aloud to rent it out once it's ours, nationwide are happy with our plans and said they give us consent but is there council rules or law against it
hi, as far as i have researched, the answer is no, u can only claim for your time in the council property and u or ur partner (if applying as a joint applicant) had to have been a secure tenant to qualify.
Hi I hope somebody can help me. I first became a council tenant in 1995 and was with the council until 1998/99 we then moved into a housing association property until now. We have found a council house tenant who wants to exchange with us and we are due to swap soon. The question is when we decide to buy our council house will we get a discount on our time with the housing association as well as the time spent with the council . Ie if we were to buy now would we get 3-4 years or 18 years?Thanks in advance
I have been a public sector tenant for 15 years I live on council for 5 years then on a housing associon for 10 years now going back to council have I still got the right to buy and how long do I have to live in the property before I can buy it
Me and my neighbour applied to buy our flats from our landlord through a preserved right to buy. We think the cost floor calculation is too high (£85k). I asked the landlord to provide me a breakdown of this cost but it has been 3 month now and I still didn't get any reply. The reply my neighbour got says "recent major works runs to 23 pages, cost floor calculation was assessed and approved by several staff members in our Finance team and we have no reason to doubt their validity and we will not be providing any further details".
So I want to know if it is our right to ask them provide us this cost floor breakdowns?And I saw the "cost floor rule in Scotland" (http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/1035/0041347.pdf ) it says the cost floor calculation even need to be certified. Do we have the same rule here in England?
You could appeal the decision by asking for a second opinion from the district valuer and you may also be able to apply for a RTB 8 for the delays you have encountered
Can someone please explain this. I have been a housing association tenant for 15 years, never a council tenant. I do not have the right to buy under the old scheme as the cut off was 1995 in my area. I also do not have the right to acquire as my property was built before 1997. Do I have the right to buy under this new scheme? According to the criteria listed above I do however looking at other websites, apparently I don't. It's very confusing.
Hi, I am thinking about buying my inlaws house for them. They have stayed in it for 35 year's.how much discount roughly will they get it for and roughly how much?? There house is probably worth 60000 on the market. I have got 15000 saved up however Will I be able to get a small mortgage under my name if im a bit short as they wont get one due to age.
Hi if the house is eligible for the right to buy scheme I.e council or HA you will have to of lived in the property for the last 12 months to be eligible to transfer the discount across to yourself so that you can purchase the property via a mortgage.
Hello. Can anyone help me. Would a lender know if I was buying my home through the rite to buy scheme when they do their checks. I cant put a lot on this page due to proceedings currently taking place against my lender. Thankyou
Can anyone tell me if I would be eligible to rtb. I've been an Tennant of an ha 5 years. Not a council Tennant. Thanks
Hi, you are more than likely eligible for the right to acquire instead
The sale date for our RTB was supposed to be today but the council has charged us rent for this week, does anybody know the final stages of a RTB. We went to the solicitors and paid our fees and signed the transfer on Saturday. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
Hi woody 123, councils normally complete RTB's on a Monday and normally charge rent upto that date when working out the final purchase price
Thanks for the response, its all gone through now, I think the councils( legal side of things) were dragging their feet a bit !
Right To Buy is not for everyone. It will work for some but will be a disaster for others because they will be incurring a long term debt of which they may NOT be in a position to pay not to mention other hefty costs such as maintenance.
The Goverment are now looking at reducing the qualifying years down from 5 years to 3 years
Hi. can someone please advise. my partner has 8 years council tenancy to go towards our RTB discount but we are looking at swapping properties which would move us to a neighbouring coucil. My question is, if we were then to buy that property, would his 8/9 year discount from the council we are with now be carried over to the new council?thank you
yess your years go with you
I think it would be best if you asked your local council if your partners qualifying years as a council tenant is portable to another property without them losing your right to buy status.
I know you can take them to another property within the same council area, I just don't know if you can take them over to a different authority. I.e from say Norfolk council to a Midlands council?
Hi jemmac819 as a precaution and so that you do not lose out please confirm it with them first.
Good advice to check your position with the councils concerned prior to,moving
if i want to buy my house out right do i need a solicator
You may need them to assist with conveyancing, but if you do decide to go it alone then be very careful.
thanks for advice
You're welcome. :)
Hi if I buy my rtb outright can i rent it out to a tenant as soon as it's completed
If you buy your home in cash I cannot see why you could not rent it out as you would not have any mortgage attached to it, hence no lender to gain consent from.
On the other hand the council or housing association may decide to put conditions in the covenant stating what you can and cannot do, please don't give them any ideas.
It may be best to get direct advice from the council involved about renting out your home after you have bought it and make sure that you keep a record of all letters, meetings, valuations and costing's.
Please bear in mind also that if the council became aware of your intentions to rent out the property as soon as you buy it they may not be so generous with the right to buy offer. Hopefully all will go well. :)
Hope this helps.
Hi Sandz, you could but the council still has an interest in the property for 5 years due to the discount they have given you, so you would have to understand your obligations before renting which your landlord will provide
if so anyone recomend a good solicator
Hi and welcome. If you can't find one by personal recommendation, then you could look here
any advice how much a solicator would cost if buying outright
Hi, it varies from area to area, if I were you I'd contact a few locally and ask them to quote
Hi can anyone help I'm ha and swapping to council (dads house) he's been there nearly 29 yrs I've been ha for 12 yrs does his discount transfer to me taking on his tenancy and if so is this immediate or do I have to wait? If so how long?
Hi, once you have lived in the premises for at least 12 months then you can share your Dads discount entitlement.
my partner has a council house for 2 years and applied for the right to buy which was accepted last month, i live in this house (1 year 2 months) but not on the tenancy (was told this would change the right to buy to right to acquire)
Her credit rating is terrible and her wage isnt great which will make a mortgage difficult,
Can i also apply for a mortgage with her even tho im not on the books. My bank seem to say the mortgage can only be in the tenants name
Hi, you can add yourself to the RTB1 as a family member and ask your partner to complete their details within the form to say that they don't want to exercise the right to buy, liaise with the council then to ensure that the section 125 offer letter is in your name.
Hi can anyone help? We are getting frustrated by our council. It took them about 10 months to respond to our application for the RTB and when we sent our response, our mortgage application was approved within a couple of months.
Now the council has not responded to our solicitors despite 2 correspondences since October. I have tried the council many times myself just to know what is going on but we have met a brick wall. I am worried that our mortgage offer might be withdrawn by the bank(not that I am sure if that will happen). THe council is claiming our file has been passed on to the legal dept and everything just seem to be dragging on for too long.
Can you please advice the next step to take in this situation?
Hi can anyone help with my query plz. I am a council tenant of 12 years and about to apply rtb.i know sum 1 who has applied to buy there home,council has valued it at £125,000.It has no fitted kitchen,bathroom hardly any work done to it.private Houses on same street r going for this price immacutely done inside and out.why do the council valuate your house at the same price of houses which have been renovated to a high standard. Thanks
Can anyone help. I live with my mum in our council house for 22 yrs, she is nearly 60. As her child , do I have the ability to apply for the right to buy scheme in my name only?
Hi Mthatc, If you are on the tenancy then you could try to remove your mother's name if she is happy to do this, but if not you could apply for the right to buy as a family member if you have lived there for the last 12 months.
I been in my council house for 10 years do I have the right to buy?
Hi Hannah1, If you are on the tenancy you will have the right to buy, if you are not on the tenancy then, as long as the tenant does not object to you using their discount to purchase then again you can buy it the discount if it is an house would be 40% of the open market value
Hi my mum has lived in her council house for 30 years. Would I be able to give her the money to buy the house outright to have it in her name and live rent free?
Hi, I was wondering if I saved enough money, can I buy my council house in one go? Because ihave heard that council won't take cash to prevent money laundering. Is that true?
Hi ,can I buy my council house if I save enough money to buy it? ? Because I heard that the council doesn't accept cash, in order to prevent money laundering, is that true?
Hi Beyden, you can pay cash for your council house no problem. The council will do fraud and money laundering checks to see that the source of the funds are coming from you or somebody living with you and not some unscrupulous property magnate trying to have away with your equity.
hi can anonye tell me if its possible to get a interest only mortgage on a right to buy flat?
Hi Alan80, Interest only mortgages are quite hard to come buy these days due to affordability checks by the lenders, although you can still get them. Normally it is best to go through a broker who can navigate the lenders underwriting requirements a little better.
Ive lived in my council flat for ten yrs ive been approved for TRTB and will have it surveyed this week.How long does the process take after my flat which is a house conversion to go though ruffly? Also what the best bank to apply for the morgtage with seeing as the deposit will be covered. Thanks
Hi Sabrin80, the process from start to finish for the Right to Buy normally takes around 3-4 months subject to you having a good understanding of how you can help the sale along i.e liasing with your solicitor, council and lender. There are a number of high street lenders who will offer 100% of the discount price.
what does it mean owe money to creditors, i wish to buy my council flat but i have a car on a 3 year contract plan.
That's not a problem as long as you have got the affordability still to afford your mortgage payments and associated costs.
or does it mean those with iva are not allowed but those with bank loan, store card etc are fine
are you currently in an iva or is it paid off?
I'm now going for thr rtb I've lived in my house 7years but was in another council house 7yrs previous so do I get 14yrs towards the house? Also my husband was a council tenant but in another district could we use that too? Thanks
Hi hayley8, yes you can add your discounted years together for yourself to apply for 14 years discount, although if your husband has over that then you can use his to gain a better discount. You cannot add his discount to yours though unfortunately.
add your response here
Hi, I'm going through the RTB process and it's been in conveyancing since 1st Nov last year (4 months) and the landlord's solicitor says the earliest they can complete is 31st march - which happens to be the day my mortgage offer runs out (and I'll be returning from a holiday that day). I'm amazed how long it's taken. the mortgage lender has already told me if it's not completed by that date I'll have to reapply for a mortgage - will I be able to claim any financial losses from my landlord as their solicitors have taken so long) and can I complain about how long they have taken/ thanks. neil
Has the lender said why your application is taking so long?
Hi Angeld - thanks for getting back. Its not the lender - they approved my mortgage before I instructed my solicitor in November - it's my housing association's solicitors who are dragging their heels with their side of the conveyancing that is the cause of the problem - I'm concerned that S******** won't allow me an extension on the mortgage offer. N
Hi Neil, sorry to hear about your delays, you are not alone it happens quite a lot presently due to the overwhelming response local councils and housing associations have had due the reinvigorate right to buy scheme which is having a knock on effect for all of the schemes. The lender will let you extend your offer but may insist that you send them up to date payslips, bank statements or working tax award letter.
Hello , I'm looking to buy my council home and wanted to know if anyone can advise of any banks or mortgage lenders who accepts the discount as the deposit . I know Halifax would but wanted to see if any others does. Many thank
The key is knowing that you and your property fit the lenders lending criteria
You will be glad to know that there are a few more who will offer you a mortgage where they will accept your discount as the deposit, there is Santander, Halifax, Skipton, Leeds, Market Harborough, Principality + more
hello people i have had my house valued and im quite happy with the price only problem is im working 16 hours and banks will not accept that how wil this work for me :(
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