Right to Buy: buying your council home

If you are a council tenant you may have the right to buy your council home at a price lower than the market value as part of the Right to Buy scheme.

If you qualify for the right to buy, you can buy your home jointly with up to 3 family members who have lived in your council home for at least the last 12 months. Family members can only buy your council home if you want to buy it with them.

Qualifying for Right to Buy

You are eligible to apply to buy your council home if you:

  • are at least 18 years old
  • are a council tenant with a secure tenancy agreement
  • have had a public sector landlord (a council, housing association or NHS trust) for 3 years - it doesn’t have to be 3 years in a row

Time spent in temporary accommodation (for example, a bed and breakfast or a hostel) or time spent as a demoted tenant does not count towards your qualifying period.

Housing association tenants, armed forces tenants and tenants of a public body such as the NHS may also qualify.

You may not qualify for the right to buy if:

  • you have an introductory or demoted tenancy agreement
  • you have a possession order against you, or you have broken the terms of a suspended possession order
  • you are not up to date with rent payments before you complete the purchase - you will need to pay any suspended arrears in full before purchasing your council home
  • you have been declared bankrupt or are waiting to hear the outcome of a bankruptcy petition against you, or you have made an arrangement with creditors (people or organisations you owe money to) and you still owe them money
  • you (or any household members or visitors) are involved or threatening to be involved in anti-social behaviour
  • you have an application pending against you for a demotion order, a suspension order or a possession order because of anti-social behaviour. Or the court has changed your tenancy from a secure to a demoted tenancy because of anti-social behaviour. This will suspend any current right to buy application you have and prevent you from applying to buy your home while your tenancy is demoted.

Before you apply

Before you apply, consider all the costs involved in buying your own home. You should see what sort of mortgage you will require. You can speak to high street lenders to find out what they advise. There is also a lot of information on the internet on this subject.

Getting advice

The Government has appointed a Right to Buy agent service. It provides free advice at any stage of the purchase, and will also help you avoid hidden fees which some independent financial advisers charge for their Right to Buy advice.

If you are a tenant and you want general advice on buying your council home, please contact the government’s Right to Buy agent:

Right to Buy - Right to Buy Advisers (external link)

Tel: 0300 123 0913

Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service offers free, impartial advice about money, including buying a home and taking out a mortgage.

Money Advice Service (external link)

Tel: 0300 500 5000

Other help

Read the Right to Buy summary booklet and the Right to Buy guidance.

You can also get advice on Right to Buy from:

  • the Right to Buy website
  • Citizens Advice
  • Shelter
  • your local Law Centre

WARNING!

There are private companies or people who may offer you help in buying your home. They generally do not give good advice. They will often charge you lots of money for things that we or the government provide free of charge. Or, they may overcharge you for other services, such as arranging your mortgage.

Sometimes companies or individuals offer tenants money for a deal where the company ends up owning the property. If you do this in order to buy your property, you will almost certainly have to repay your discount as soon as you buy it.

Tenants have become homeless after agreeing to deals like this. It is very important that you get independent legal advice from your own solicitor or the Citizens Advice Bureau, before you enter into any agreement of this kind.

Types of property not included

The following properties are not included in the scheme:

  • temporary accommodation
  • properties that are particularly suitable for elderly people
  • sheltered housing for older people, disabled people or people suffering from mental ill-health
  • properties where the council owns the lease, not the freehold, and where the lease is fewer than 21 years for a house and fewer than 50 years for a flat or maisonette
  • properties due to be demolished - in this case, the council may suspend your right to buy by sending you an initial demolition notice, or end your right to buy by sending you a final demolition notice

How to apply

Fill in an RTB1 application form, then print and sign it.

Start your application

Once you have completed the form, please send it to us:

We will email you a confirmation letter within 5 days to confirm that we have received .

We cannot accept applications in person. Find out what you can expect from us in our  Right to Buy Service Standards (PDF, 136KB)

There is no charge for applying, however you will have to pay the cost of applying for a mortgage and solicitor fees.

Page last updated:

October 17, 2023