Housing association right to buy

You only have the right to buy your housing association home if you're a former council tenant. The government may expand the right to buy to other housing association tenants in the future.  

Who has the right to buy

You usually have the right to buy your home at a discount if you're a secure tenant.

You will only have a secure tenancy if you've rented from the housing association since before 15 January 1989.  

Former council tenants

You usually keep a 'preserved right to buy' if:

  • you're a former secure council tenant

  • your home was transferred to a housing association while you lived there   

You may also keep your preserved right to buy if you move to a different housing association home with the same landlord after a stock transfer.

Find out more about the right to buy a housing association home from GOV.UK

Expansion of the right to buy scheme

A pilot scheme to expand the right to buy to other housing association tenants is running until 2020. 

The scheme is closed to new applicants. There is no date set for further expansion of the scheme. 

Other ways to buy a housing association home

You may qualify to buy your home under the right to acquire scheme.

The maximum discount is less generous than under the right to buy scheme. It varies between £9,000 and £16,000 depending on where you live

Shared ownership

Shared ownership allows you to buy a share in your home and pay rent to a housing association on the share you don't own.

Things to consider before you buy

Buying a home is a big step and there are a few things to think about.


You'll probably need a mortgage to buy your home. 

A mortgage is secured on the property. Your home could be repossessed if you don't keep up with the payments.


Repairs and maintenance will usually become your responsibility if you buy your home. 

If it's a leasehold flat, the housing association will usually have an ongoing responsibility for the:

  • structure and exterior of the building

  • communal areas such as hallways and stairs 

Service charges in leasehold properties

You usually have to pay a service charge to cover the landlord's maintenance costs if you buy a leasehold property.

Your home will be usually be sold as leasehold if it's a flat or a shared ownership property.

If you buy your home under either the right to buy or the right to acquire, the housing association must give you an estimate of the service charges for the first 5 years.

Selling your home

You will have to repay some of your discount if you sell your home during the first 5 years after you've bought it.

Check that a lender will offer a mortgage on the property even if you don't need one yourself. Otherwise you could find it hard to sell in the future.

It can sometimes be difficult to sell shared ownership properties or leasehold flats. Discuss any restrictions in the lease with your conveyancer.

Last updated: 16 December 2019

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