Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I’m eligible for Right to Buy?
You probably have the Right to Buy if you are a secure council tenant and have spent at least 5 years as a public sector tenant. The 5 years does not have to be continuous and you can add together any time you have spent as a public sector tenant. A public sector tenant is someone whose landlord is a public body such as a council, housing association or Government Department. Your landlord will be able to confirm if you have the Right to Buy and you could also check our handy eligibility quiz.
I am a housing association tenant. Do I have the Right to Buy?
Most housing association tenants do not have the Right to Buy. But, if you were a secure council tenant and were living in your home when it was transferred from the council to another landlord, like a housing association, then you may have a ‘Preserved’ Right to Buy. If you do, then you can buy your home under the scheme in the same way as if you were still a council tenant. We advise that you check with your landlord.
What discounts will I be entitled to?
The maximum Right to Buy discount is 75,000 (£100,000 if you live in London). The discount is set out in legislation and individual councils cannot decide to vary it.
You won’t know the exact discount you can receive until your home is valued under the application process. The amount you get will depend on how long you have been a public sector tenant and whether your home is a house or a flat.
Check out the handy Right to Buy calculator, which will help you work out the discount you could receive.
If you want to have further information about the recent changes announced for London take a look at our Q&A.
Can the discount be considered as a deposit to reduce the amount I have to borrow?
Mortgage lenders are generally prepared to treat the Right to Buy discount as part of the deposit. We strongly advise you to get professional financial advice from the Money Advice Service, or a bank, building society or independent financial advisor about what’s right for you.
What if I decide to sell? Will I need to repay the discount?
If you resell your home within five years you will usually have to repay some or all of the discount you received. The amount will be linked to the resale price of your property and how long you have owned it. Within the first 10 years you will also have to offer the property to your former Landlord, in the first instance. Only if the Landlord declines will you be able to sell on the open market.
How can I find a mortgage for Right to Buy?
For most people, buying a home is the biggest investment they will ever make. Our summary guide to the Right to Buy sets out some of the things you need to think about, including where to get financial advice.
The Money Advice Service offer free, impartial advice about money, including on buying a home and taking out a mortgage. They can be contacted via their website or by calling 0300 500 5000.
Can I buy my home if I am on benefits?
Being on benefits doesn’t affect your legal Right to Buy but you will need to make sure you can afford your monthly repayments. And you won’t be eligible for housing benefit if you become a homeowner, so you may need life cover in case anything happens to you while you’re paying back your loan or mortgage. So take time to work out the costs involved. Look at our ‘can I afford it’ page for further information.
Can I make a joint application?
You may be able to exercise the Right to Buy jointly with members of your family who have lived with you for the past twelve months, or with someone who is a joint tenant with you.
Is this scheme not just designed to reduce social housing?
No, as part of the updated Right to Buy scheme, money raised through extra sales is now going straight towards building new affordable homes.
If I lived in armed forces accommodation, does this affect my right to buy?
Any time that you lived in accommodation provided for you as a member of the armed forces counts towards your qualification period for Right to Buy. You can also count this time if your husband/wife/civil partner was a member of the armed forces and you lived with them in this accommodation.
If you currently live in armed forces accommodation you do not have the Right to Buy.
How will the changes affect me if I live in London?
If you live in a London Borough and are interested in finding out more about how the changes mentioned in the Budget affect you, take a look at our specific Q&A here
Is there a Right to Buy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?
The devolved governments do run Right to Buy but with different restrictions.
You can find out more on their websites: