Right to Buy: buying your council home

Right to Buy allows most council tenants to buy their council home at a discount.

The Right to Buy scheme gives tenants a discount on the market value of their home. The longer you have been a tenant, the more discount you get.
 

Eligibility

You can apply to buy your council home if:

  • it's your only or main home
  • it's self-contained
  • you're a secure tenant
  • you've been a council tenant for 3 years - it does not have to be 3 years in a row

Use the eligibility checker on the Own Your Home website to find out if you can apply.
 

Joint applications

You can make a joint application with:

  • someone who shares your tenancy
  • up to 3 family members who've lived with you for the past 12 months (even if they do not share your tenancy)
     

Discounts

You can get a discount on the market value of your home when you buy it if you qualify for Right to Buy.

The maximum discount increases each year in April in line with the consumer price index (CPI). Check the current discount on the Own your own home website.

The discount is based on:

  • how long you've been a tenant with us
  • the type of property you're buying - a flat or house
  • the value of your home

If you're buying with someone else, you count the years of whoever's been a public sector tenant the longest.

You'll usually have to repay some or all your discount if you sell your home within 5 years.

You might get a smaller discount if you've used Right to Buy in the past.
 

Working out the discount

Use the Right to Buy calculator on the Own your Home website to find out how much discount you could get.

There are different discount levels for houses and flats.

Houses

You get a 35% discount if you've been a council tenant for between 3 and 5 years.

After 5 years, the discount goes up 1% for every extra year you've been a council tenant, up to a maximum of 70%.

Flats

You get a 50% discount if you've been a council tenant for between 3 and 5 years.

After 5 years, the discount goes up 2% for every extra year you've been a council tenant, up to a maximum of 70%.
 

Apply

You will need to fill in a Notice claiming the Right to Buy application form (PDF) [293KB] .

You can contact us to ask us to send you an application form and for a copy of the 'Right to Buy' booklet.

The Right to Buy: summary booklet is also available on GOV.UK.

Our offer

If we agree to sell a house or flat, our offer will tell you:

  • the price we think you should pay for the property and how it was worked out
  • your discount and how it was worked out
  • a description of the property and any land included in the price
  • estimates of any service charges (for a flat or maisonette) for the first 5 years
  • any known problems with the property's structure, for example, subsidence

Deciding to buy

You have 12 weeks after you get our offer to tell us you still want to buy.

We will send you a reminder if you do not reply to the offer. You have 28 days to reply to the reminder, or we could drop your application.

You can pull out of the sale and continue to rent at any time.

If you disagree with our offer

Contact us and tell us why.

If you think we have set your home's market value too high, you must write to us within 3 months of getting the offer and ask us for an independent valuation.

A district valuer from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will then visit your home and decide how much it's worth. You have 12 weeks to accept their valuation or pull out of the sale.
 

Appeals

You can appeal to a tribunal if you're stopped from buying your home because it's suitable for housing elderly people.

You must appeal within 56 days of the council turning down your application.
 

Delays

We must complete parts of your Right to Buy application within set time limits.

You could get a reduction in the sale price if we do not. Find out how to apply for a reduction because of a delay on GOV.UK.
 

Selling your home

If you sell your home within 10 years of buying it through Right to Buy, you must first offer it to either:

  • us
  • another social landlord in the area

The property should be sold at the full market price agreed between you and us.

If you cannot agree, a district valuer will say how much your home is worth and set the price. You will not have to pay for their valuation.

You can sell your home to anyone if we do not agree to buy it within 8 weeks.

Paying back your discount

You'll have to pay back some or all of the discount you got if you sell your Right to Buy home within 5 years of buying it.

You'll have to pay back all of the discount if you sell within the first year. After that, the total amount you pay back reduces to:

  • 80% of the discount in the second year
  • 60% of the discount in the third year
  • 40% of the discount in the fourth year
  • 20% of the discount in the fifth year

The amount you pay back depends on the value of your home when you sell it.

 

Example
You bought your home worth £100,000 and got a 40% discount (£40,000). You then sold your home after 18 months for £120,000.

40% of £120,000 is £48,000. As you're in the second year, you would repay 80% of £48,000 (£38,400).

You may not have to pay back the discount if you transfer ownership of your home to a member of your family. You'll need to agree this first with your landlord and then get a solicitor to do this for you.

Help and advice

You can get free advice from us about:

  • how to complete your Right to Buy or Preserved Right to Buy application
  • whether the scheme is right for you
  • how much it will cost you
  • your eligibility

Right to Buy Agent service

The Right to Buy Agent service offers free advice on things like:

  • the Right to Buy and Preserved Right to Buy process
  • eligibility
  • filling out your application form
  • where you can get financial and legal advice
  • what to do if your application is delayed

Right to Buy Agent Service
enquiry@righttobuyagent.org.uk
Telephone: 0300 123 0913
Find out about call charges

Other help

Read the Right to Buy summary booklet and the Right to Buy guidance on GOV.UK.

You can also get advice on Right to Buy from: