Housing association right to buy

In 2018, housing association tenants could have a new right to buy their housing association home. Find out what's being proposed.

New housing association right to buy

You may be able to apply to buy your housing association home at a discount using a new right to buy scheme.

The new right to buy is being negotiated between the government and the National Housing Federation (who represent housing associations). Homes can only be sold under the new scheme when agreement is reached.

Although most housing associations have agreed in principle to take part in the scheme, some oppose it and are unlikely to participate.

Discounts for new right to buy properties

The price you pay is the market value of the property less any discount.

Discounts for the new housing association right to buy scheme haven't yet been agreed. The discounts are likely to be the same as for the council house right to buy.

The discount could depend on:

  • how long you have been a tenant
  • if you are buying a house or a flat
  • the value of the property

It's likely the discounts will be paid for by the sale of some council houses.

How the right to buy scheme could work

The new right to buy will probably be restricted to housing association tenants who have an assured tenancy.

It's likely you'll need to have lived in your home for a minimum amount of time.

If your housing association takes part, they'll decide if your home can be included in the scheme.

Pilot scheme for the new right to buy

The government has set up a pilot scheme for the new right to buy for housing association tenants living in:

  • some London boroughs
  • Liverpool
  • South Norfolk
  • Oxfordshire
  • Surrey

The housing associations taking part in the pilot are London and Quadrant, Riverside, Saffron, Sovereign and Thames Valley.

Find out more from Government Right to Buy about the pilot scheme

Homes excluded from the right to buy

Housing associations will probably be allowed to refuse to sell some types of home.

Homes excluded from sale could include those:

  • adapted for use by disabled people
  • in rural areas
  • built a long time ago without government subsidy

If the housing association decides your home can't be sold, you could be offered alternative housing association homes instead. Any discount that would have applied will transfer to the alternative home.

Other ways to buy a home from a housing association

You may already have the right to buy your housing association home at a discounted price under the right to acquire scheme.

The discounts under this scheme are less generous than those proposed for the new housing association right to buy scheme.

The new scheme won't apply if you rented your home from the council and your tenancy was transferred to a housing association.

You may be able to buy your home instead under the preserved right to buy rules for former council tenants.

You may be able to buy a shared ownership home from a housing association, even if you are not already a housing association tenant. Home ownership schemes allow you to part rent and part buy a home.

New responsibilities if you buy a home

If you buy a home, you could become responsible for paying new expenses such as:

  • a mortgage
  • buildings insurance
  • repairs costs or service charges for repairs and maintenance
  • charges for the upkeep or improvement of communal areas

Find out more from the Money Advice Service about the costs of buying a home.

Risks of buying a right to buy home

Buying a home with a mortgage is a risk for any homebuyer.

Mortgage interest rates can go up. Your home could be repossessed if you don't keep up the payments.

Check if a mortgage company will offer a loan on the property, even if you don't need one yourself. If they won't, you could find it hard to sell in future.

Consider the potential life of the building. A flat may not retain its value if it could be demolished within the period covered by the lease.

Assess if expensive repairs could be needed in the future and if you'll be in a position to pay them or take out further loans.

Consider if you'll be able to pay the cost of extending the lease in future years if you buy a flat or leasehold house.

Gov.uk has more on if you can afford to buy a home.

Last updated 21 Dec 2015 | © Shelter

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