With Right to Buy, you can get a discount when purchasing your council or housing association property. The discount acts as a deposit, and you pay a mortgage on the remaining balance.
In England, the maximum discount allowed for Right to Buy is currently £87,000. In London, this maximum increases to £116,200. This value increases each April.
The discount increases the longer you have lived at the property. For example, tenants who have lived in their house for between 3 and 5 years receive a discount of 35% on the market value of the house. For every one year after the first give years, the discount increases by 1% until it reaches the maximum discount allowed in your area.
The discount also varies depending on the type of property you are buying (a flat or a house). The above figures refer to houses. For flats, tenants who have lived there for 3 to 5 years receive a 50% discount. After the initial five years, this increases by 2% every year until the maximum is reached.
The discount may also vary depending on the value of your home and whether any works have been carried out. There are certain circumstances where a discount will be reduced if the landlord has spent money on the property. If the landlord bought the property before 2nd April 2012, any funds spent improving the property during the last ten years may be deducted from the discount. IF they purchased the property after 2nd April 2012, the cost of improvements is considered over the past 15 years.
How to apply
If you want to buy your council or housing association home, you need to fill in a Right to Buy application form and submit this to your local authority or housing association landlord.
Your landlord has four weeks to respond to your application. If they accept, they will send you an offer. Their offer will include a valuation of the home, the calculated discount, a detailed list of service charges and any known issues with the property, such as repairs or structural issues. Once you receive the offer from your landlord, you have twelve weeks to accept or decline it.
You can dispute the terms of the offer such as their valuation of the property. If you do this, the property will be independently valued to ensure that a fair valuation is given.
To be eligible for the Right to Buy scheme, you must meet the following criteria:
- You are a tenant of a council or housing association property. (If the property used to be a council property but was sold to another landlord, you may still be eligible under ‘Preserved Right to Buy’ – ask your landlord for more details).
- You live in the property as your main and only home.
- You have a secure tenancy.
- You have lived in the property for a minimum of three years.
- For joint tenants, you must both be on the tenancy. For buying with family members, they do not need to be on the tenancy but must have lived with you for at least 12 months before you apply.