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Right to buy for council and housing association tenants

You may be able to buy your home at a discounted price under the:

  • right to buy for secure or flexible council tenants

  • right to acquire for some housing association tenants

If you qualify, you can buy your home:

  • by yourself 

  • with a spouse, civil partner or other joint tenant

  • with up to 3 family members who have lived in your home for the last 12 months

The property must also be your main and only home.

Check if you qualify

You must have been a council or housing association tenant for at least 3 years. This doesn't have to be continuous or in the same property.

Time spent in armed forces accommodation also counts.

Some homes don't qualify. For example:

  • some sheltered or adapted properties

  • homes that are due to be demolished within 2 years

  • homes that aren't self-contained

  • some homes provided as part of your job

Right to buy

You must be a secure tenant or a flexible tenant.

Your right to buy may be lost or suspended if your landlord applies to court to:

  • evict you from your home

  • demote your tenancy

Right to acquire

You must be a housing association tenant. Not all housing association tenants have this right.

Your home must have been:

  • built or bought by the housing association after 1 April 1997

  • paid for through a social housing grant

If your home doesn't qualify, your housing association could offer you the option of buying a different property.

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

Preserved right to buy for housing association tenants

You may already have a right to buy if you're a:

Find out more about preserved right to buy on the Government Right to Buy website.

Valuation and discounts

The rules on discounts are different depending on if you buy your home using the right to buy or the right to acquire.

Valuation and discounts under the right to buy

Your landlord will assess the market value of your home and work out the discount you are entitled to. 

The discount you get depends on:

  • how long you've been a council or housing association tenant 

  • if the property is a house or a flat

  • whether your landlord has spent money building or refurbishing your home in the last 15 years

Maximum discounts

The maximum discounts available are:

  • £127,900 in London

  • £96,000 in other areas

The maximum discount increases every April in line with the consumer price index (CPI).

Find out more from GOV.UK about how Right to Buy discounts are calculated.

Discounts under the right to acquire

Right to acquire discounts are fixed for each area by the government. Discounts vary from £9000 to £16,000 depending on where you live.

GOV.UK has more information about right to acquire discounts.

Reselling the property

You'll have to repay some or all of the discount if you sell your home within 5 years of buying it.

If you sell within 10 years, you must offer the property back to the council or a housing association before you can sell it on the open market.

If you buy your home using the right to acquire, you'll also have to repay some or all of the discount if your home is repossessed within 5 years of buying it.

How to apply 

Apply for right to buy

You can complete the application online or ask your landlord for an application form. Use the GOV.UK council finder to find your council's website.

Apply for right to acquire

Complete form RTA1 or ask your housing association for a form.

Your landlord's response

Your landlord must write and let you know if you have the right to buy or right to acquire. They must do this within:

  • 4 weeks if you've been their tenant for more than 3 years

  • 8 weeks if you've been their tenant for less than 3 years

They must give reasons if they say you don't have a right to buy or acquire your home.

Formal offer

If you're eligible, the next step is an offer of sale from your landlord.

You have 12 weeks from getting your formal offer to let your landlord know if you still want to buy.

If you think your landlord has set your home's market value too high in their offer, you can ask for an independent valuation within 3 months of getting the offer.

You have 12 weeks from the independent valuation to accept the valuation or pull out of the sale.

Read more about formal offers for:

Repairs and service charges

You'll be responsible for repairs once you own your home.  

If you buy a flat, you'll probably be a leaseholder. You may have to pay ground rent and service charges.

Need help?

More information is available on the Government's Own Your Home website.

Last updated: 10 November 2023

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