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    Right to Buy: Your Guide to Council & Housing Association Homes

    By The reallymoving Team Updated 15th Mar, 2024

    Government schemes to buy council and housing association homes, such as Right to Buy and Right to Acquire, are designed to help tenants improve their circumstances. Buying your own can be home a fantastic long-term investment for the future.

    Right to Buy: Your Guide to Council & Housing Association Homes

    Government schemes, such as Right to Buy, are designed to help tenants improve their circumstances by allowing them to buy their council house or housing association home.

    Right to Buy is available for council tenants, and, in 2015, it was extended to housing association tenants.

    Buying your own home can be a valuable assess for you and your family. Taking a step onto the property ladder is, however, a significant life event, and you should make sure you discover the full information before starting the process.

    About Right to Buy

    Right to Buy was implemented in 1980 and is a scheme that offers council tenants the legal right to purchase the property they are living in at a discounted price. It has since become available to housing association tenants, who were previously constrained to the Right to Acquire scheme which offered smaller discounts, giving housing association tenants the same rights as council tenants.

    To apply for Right to Buy, you need to fill in the Right to Buy application form and submit it to your landlord.

    The maximum discount for Right to Buy properties in areas of England outside London is £77,900. Properties in the London boroughs have a maximum discount of £103,900.

    The discount is based on the length of time you have been a tenant for, the value of the property and the type of property you are buying; there are different levels of discount for houses and flats.

    With the added complexities in a Right to Buy property purchase, it is important to use a quality conveyancing solicitor to help you with the transaction

    Eligibility for Right to Buy

    You will be able to apply for Right to Buy if:

    • the property you are buying is your only or main home

    • you have had a public sector landlord for 3 years

    • you are a secure tenant

    • the property is self-contained.

    There may be a time limit by which your transaction must be completed – your conveyancing solicitor will be able to advise you about this.

    Confusion about Right to Buy

    Unfortunately, many tenants are experiencing confusion when it comes to purchasing their council or housing association home. Relevant legislation has changed, and has continued to change considerably over the last decade. In some cases, there are different rules depending on when you first moved into your home.

    Some of the issues tenants struggle with:

    • whether they are entitled to a discount

    • how to budget effectively for the purchase

    • which forms to fill in and who to send them to

    • concern over their suitability for the scheme

    We feel that confusion is significantly preventing take-up of the Right to Buy, Right to Acquire and Social HomeBuy schemes. Many are so put off by the perceived complexity that they simply do not apply and fail to benefit.

    Help with buying your council or housing association home

    reallymoving.com has produced a full, in-depth guide to buying your council house or housing association home to clear up this confusion. We hope the information in our comprehensive guide answers the common questions tenants have and will help them move forward with their property purchase.

    It is important to note that Right to Buy is not the same in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Right to Buy scheme in Scotland ended in 2016, and it has currently been suspended in Wales, due to concern about a lack of available social housing. The scheme still runs in Northern Ireland, but there are limits on the type of housing it applies to, how long a tenant has to live there to qualify, and the monetary discount. 

    We also have a completely free First Time Buyer Guide that can be downloaded to help you purchase your first home.


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