The Right To Buy was introduced in 1980. It means that secure tenants can buy their home at a discount to the full market value. Your discount is based on the number of years you have spent as a public sector tenant.

If your secure tenancy was in existence before 18 January 2005, or you were a public sector tenant before 18 January 2005 (and you have been a public sector tenant continuously since that time), you do not have the Right to Buy until you have spent at least 2 years as a public sector tenant. A public sector tenant is a tenant whose landlord is either a ‘Right to Buy landlord’; or one of the public bodies listed under ‘Other public bodies’. For anyone else, you do not have the Right to Buy until you have spent at least 5 years as a public sector tenant.

What are the RTB changes?

The Government is concerned about the impact of the Right to Buy on the availability of affordable housing in some areas; and about exploitation of the rules. So it decided to modernise the Right to Buy with the aim of restoring the balance between long-term home ownership and the building of stable communities, and to tackle exploitation.

Call us now on our National Right To Buy helpline or complete the enquiry form opposite.

What discount am I eligible for?
The Right to Buy scheme gives tenants a discount on the market value of their homes. The longer you have been a tenant, the more discount you get, up to a maximum limit that varies depending on where you live.
Are there any other limits on discount?
Yes, two:

A special rule called the cost floor may apply. Your discount will be reduced to reflect what your landlord has spent on building, buying, repairing or improving your home during the last 10-11 years before you apply to buy; and

If you have previously bought another council property, any discount that you got then will usually be deducted from the discount that you get when you buy again.

What is Rent to Mortgage?
If you want to buy your council home but can’t afford to pay for it all at once, Rent to Mortgage lets you pay for it by instalments. To start with, you pay a lump sum that is less than the Right to Buy price (i.e. the market value less your discount). Your landlord retains a share in the property and you can buy his share when you can afford it. The scheme is called ‘Rent to Mortgage’ because if (like most people) you pay your initial lump sum by getting a mortgage, your mortgage repayments will be about the same as you were paying in rent.

When will Rent to Mortgage end?
Rent to Mortgage will end on 17 July 2005. But if you apply on or before that date, your application will still be valid.

What is Preserved Right to Buy?
If you are a secure tenant of a local authority, and your home is transferred to a Registered Social Landlord (for example, a housing association) and you become an assured tenant, you may still have the Right to Buy, although on slightly different terms.

Call us now on our National Right To Buy helpline or complete the enquiry form opposite.

What is a leaseholder?
If you buy a house you will usually buy the freehold. This means you will be the outright owner. If you buy a flat, you will become a leaseholder. Normally, this means that you will be responsible for the interior of your home whilst your landlord will be responsible for looking after the structure and the exterior of the block. He will ask you to pay for major repair and improvement works, through service charges. These can be high – sometimes as much as several hundred pounds each year, or even more if your block needs major repairs.

Can I resell my home after purchasing it under the Right to Buy?
You may sell your home whenever you like. But if you applied for the Right to Buy before 18 January 2005 and sell within 3 years of buying it, you will have to repay some or all of the discount that you received. If you sell:

– during the first year, all of the discount will have to be repaid;
– during the second year, two thirds must be repaid; and
– during the third year, one third must be repaid.

After 3 years, you can sell without repaying any discount. But if you live in a rural area, you may only be able to resell to the council or to a person who lives or works locally.  If you apply for the Right to Buy on or after 18 January 2005, and sell within 5 years of buying it, you will have to repay some or all of the discount that you received. If you sell:

– during the first year, all of the discount will have to be repaid;
– during the second year, four fifths must be repaid;
– during the third year, three fifths must be repaid;
– during the fourth year, two fifths must be repaid; and
– during the fifth year, one fifth must be repaid.

The repayment of discount will be a percentage of the market value of the property when it is resold within the first 5 years of purchase. After 5 years, you can sell without having repaid any discount. But if you live in a rural area, you may only be able to resell to the council or to a person who lives or works locally. If you applied for the Right to Buy on or after 18 January 2005, and purchased your home and you wish to sell within 10 years of buying, you must first offer it back to your landlord or other local social landlords. Your landlord would have to pay you the full value of your property.

What happens if my landlord delays the sale?
Landlords have to deal with Right to Buy applications within certain time limits. If there is a delay because (for example) your landlord hasn’t sent you the right form or notice when he is supposed to, you may be able to get the purchase price reduced.

Who values my home if I want to buy it?
Landlords have to do this. If you think your landlord has valued your home too highly, you have a right to an independent valuation from the District Valuer. But you have to accept his valuation, even if it is higher than the landlord’s.

Do I have to complete the purchase within a specified time?
No. You can take the time you reasonably need to get a mortgage or legal advice. You can also take your time to discuss the terms of sale with your landlord. But you should let your landlord know as soon as you are ready to go ahead and buy. If he doesn’t hear from you for a long time, you may get a warning notice asking you to either complete the purchase or to discuss any problems. If you don’t respond to this, you may receive a second notice asking you to complete the purchase within a certain time. If you don’t do this, your application will be withdrawn.

Can I apply to buy if I have rent arrears?
Yes. But your landlord is not bound to complete the sale if you have not paid all the rent or any other payment within 4 weeks from the date you were asked to pay it. Also you may lose your secure tenancy and no longer have the Right to Buy if your landlord has obtained a suspended possession order against your property, as a result of your rent arrears, which you subsequently breach.

Call us now on our National Right To Buy helpline or complete the enquiry form opposite.