Right to Buy
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. The maximum discount you can get is £84,600.
Changes to eligibility
From May 2015, the eligibility criteria has been reduced from five years public sector tenancy to three. This means you now have to be a tenant for three years instead of five before you can apply to buy your home.
Your home could be an asset and an investment for years to come, for you and your family - giving you the security that home ownership can bring. You'll have more freedom to make the changes you want - it'll be a place of your own.
Remember, buying your home is a big decision for you and your family. So you should always get independent advice before deciding whether buying is right for you.
With a bigger discount now available this could be a good time to think carefully about taking that step onto the property ladder.
For further information on key points - please use the following links:
- How do I apply?
- Who has the Right to Buy?
- How much is my home worth?
- How much discount will I receive?
- Do I repay the discount if I sell?
- Buying a flat or maisonette
- Costs of buying
- Exceptions to the Right to Buy
- Further information
Alternatively, for an application form or copy of the Right to Buy booklet please contact :
Customer Services Centre on 01799 510510 or
Please be aware that the market value of properties can rise or fall.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or any other debt secured on it.
You probably have the Right to Buy if you are a secure tenant of a 'Right to Buy landlord' -.
You have the Right to Buy when you have spent 5 years as a public sector tenant.
The council cannot estimate the value of your home as all properties are different due to number of rooms, size of garden, location etc. but you can apply for an independent valuer to visit the property and provide a professional valuation. However, local estate agent advertising may provide an indication of the current market or you can visit to the District Valuer's website at www.voa.gov.uk.
The longer you have been a tenant the more discount you get, up to the maximum limit of £84,200.
Subject to maximum limit - the amount of discount for which you are eligible depends on the time you have spent as a public sector tenant with:
- Your present landlord
- Another 'Right to Buy landlord'
- Any of the public bodies listed under the scheme
The basic discount for five year qualification is 35% for houses and 50% for flats plus:
Houses: 1% more discount for each extra full year to a top limit of 70%
Flats: 2% more discount for each extra full year to a limit of 70%
But whatever the percentage - your discount cannot be greater than the maximum discount (currently set at £84,600 nationwide).
The qualifying period for discount can include time spent in different homes and with different landlords.
If you have bought your home under Right to Buy you can sell it at anytime, but if you sell within the 'discount repayment period' - see below - you will have to repay some or all of the discount. The amount you repay will depend on when you made your application to buy.
If you sell within 5 years:
Year 1 - Entire discount will have to be repaid.
Year 2 - Four fifths must be repaid
Year 3 - Three fifths must be repaid
Year 4 - Two fifths must be repaid
Year 5 - One fifth must be repaid
After Year 5 - No repayment
In addition, the amount of discount to be repaid if you sell within 5 years of the purchase will be a percentage of the resale value of the property, disregarding the value of any improvements.
If you buy a house, you will purchase the freehold and will own the property outright.
If you buy a flat or maisonette, you will usually purchase a long lease. This allows you and your successors to live in it for a fixed time, usually 125 years.
The block will still be owned by a landlord, and he will be responsible for the upkeep of the building as a whole and of any communal areas and facilities.
As a leaseholder, you only have to pay the landlord a nominal rent (known as 'ground rent') of £10 a year. But you and other leaseholders will also have to pay him service charges. These can be perhaps several hundred pounds each year, or much more if the block needs major repairs or maintenance, such as a new roof or windows, and improvements
Leaseholders can sell their properties at any point during the lifetime of the lease. The person who buys it pays to take over the remainder of the lease. So if you buy your home on a 125-year lease, and sell it after 15 years, the buyer will get a 110 year lease.
For further information please refer to the Leasehold Services section within Housing Services on this website.
Your landlord may refuse to let you buy on various grounds, for example because your home is particularly suitable for the elderly or due to be demolished. Other reasons include sheltered housing, properties purchased for development or where the tenancies are for specific use e.g. employees.
The full list of exceptions is detailed in the 'Your Right to Buy Your Home' booklet .
Buying your home is a major financial commitment - so please take time to consider whether it is the right choice for you.
Please consider the following:
- Future outgoing costs including the loan or mortgage, home maintenance and repairs, and also service charges if you are a leaseholder
- The loss of housing benefit now or in the future
- If you are elderly, the value of you home may be taken into account in assessing eligibility for financial help for residential home costs
Is someone trying to advise you to buy your council home?
Uttlesford District Council is concerned that tenants do not always receive good advice when they ask private companies and individuals for help buying their council homes.
Sometimes, tenants are asked to pay a lot of money which the council would not charge - for example:
- Right to Buy application forms are available free from the council
- Money may be requested as part of a deal under which the company ends up owning the property. This may be good for the company, which can charge a higher rent than council rent but it is not always good for tenants. The money received may not be sufficient to prevent them becoming homeless.
- It is sometimes claimed the Right to Buy scheme will end, but the government is totally committed to the principle of Right to Buy. Be suspicious if anyone tries to tell you otherwise. They may be trying to persuade you to do something that benefits them rather than you.
If you need advice on any aspect of the Right to Buy scheme, contact the council first.
If you are approached by a person or a company offering to help you buy your council home, check out what's in it for them and talk to the council before signing up to any deal.
It is always wise to shop around for a mortgage. Get quotes from other lenders before accepting any quote.
A step-by-step guide on the Right to Buy process is detailed in the Your Right to Buy booklet which is available on request