Right to acquire housing association homes

Some housing association tenants can buy their housing association homes at a discount under the right to acquire scheme.

What is the right to acquire?

Right to acquire allows some housing association tenants to purchase their homes at a discount.

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.

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

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. 

Discounts vary from £9,000 to £16,000 depending on where you live. 

You may get less in an area where property prices are low.

See Gov.uk for more about right to acquire discounts

Qualifying for the right to acquire

The property you want to buy must be your only or main home.

You (or your spouse or civil partner) must have been a council or housing association tenant for at least 3 years. Time spent in forces accommodation also counts.

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 must 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 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 either:

  • you sell your home within the first 5 years
  • your home 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 says 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

Government has proposed a new housing association right to buy scheme. This is likely to offer a higher discount.

The government plans to pilot this scheme for housing association tenants in the Midlands later in 2018.

Follow Government Right to Buy for updates.

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 24 Jul 2018 | © Shelter

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