Right to buy for council and housing association tenants
Right to buy and right to acquire
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:
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
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:
former council tenant whose home was transferred to a housing association with a 'preserved right to buy'
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
The maximum discounts available are:
£112,800 in London
£84,600 in other areas
The maximum discount increases every April in line with the consumer price index (CPI).
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.
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.
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.
Last updated: 13 January 2022