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Right to acquire housing association homes

Consider if you can use the right to acquire to buy your housing association home at a discount if you are a housing association tenant or if other options may suit you better.

What is the right to acquire?

You may be able to buy your home at a discounted price through the right to acquire scheme if you are a housing association tenant.

To be sold under this scheme, your home must have been built or bought by the housing association after 1 April 1997 and paid for through a social housing grant.

If your home doesn't qualify, your housing association could offer you a different property to buy instead.

The scheme doesn't apply to tenants of housing co-operatives.

Right to Buy has more information on the right to acquire

Discounts on the purchase price

Right to acquire discounts are fixed for each area by the government. The maximum discount you can get is 50% of the property value.

Discounts usually vary from £9,000 to £16,000 depending on where you live. You may get less than this in an area where property prices are low.

See Gov.uk for more about right to acquire discounts

Qualifying for the right to acquire

You must be a housing association tenant. The property you want to buy must be your only or main home.

To qualify, you must have been a housing association, council, armed forces or other public housing tenant for a total of at least:

  • 5 years if your tenancy started on or after 18 January 2005
  • 2 years if your tenancy started before 18 January 2005

If you qualify, you can buy your home:

  • on your own
  • with a joint tenant
  • with up to three family members who have lived in your home for at least the last 12 months

How to apply

Complete form RTA1 or ask your housing association for a form

If you have the right to acquire, the housing association has to send you written notice explaining:

  • the terms and conditions of the sale
  • the market value of the property
  • the discount you will get and how it is calculated
  • estimates of any service charges you will have to pay
  • any structural problems the council is aware of

The housing association may offer you a choice between your existing home and other available properties.

The housing association has to tell you if you are eligible within:

  • 8 weeks for a house
  • 12 weeks for a flat or maisonette

Visit Gov.uk for more on applying for the right to acquire

Selling your home

You must repay some or all of the discount if you bought a housing association home after 18 January 2005 if you either:

  • sell your home within the first 5 years
  • it is repossessed by your mortgage lender during that time

The amount you have to pay back depends on how soon you sell the property.

The housing association has the right of first refusal if you sell within 10 years.

Housing association homes that can't be sold

Your housing association property won't qualify for the right to acquire if:

  • it isn't self-contained
  • you live in sheltered housing where services are provided
  • it's designed or adapted for people with special needs
  • it's provided as part of your job (for example, if you are a caretaker)

The housing association must explain its decision if it tells you that you can't buy your housing association home. You don't have the right to appeal this decision.

Other options for buying a housing association home

You may be able to buy your housing association home using a new housing association right to buy scheme that has been proposed. This is likely to offer a higher discount.

You may have a different right to buy if you used to be a council tenant, but your home was transferred to a housing association. This is called the preserved right to buy.


Last updated 21 Dec 2015 | © Shelter

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