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Buying your housing association home

Right to Acquire

News & Blog

Buying your housing association home

Overview

Right to Acquire allows most housing association tenants to buy their home at a discount. You apply using the Right to Acquire application form.

You can apply to buy your housing association home if you’ve had a public sector landlord for 3 years. These landlords include:

• housing associations
• councils
• the armed services
• NHS trusts and foundation trusts

Eligible properties

Your property must either have been:

• built or bought by a housing association after 31 March 1997 (and funded through a social housing grant provided by the Housing Corporation or local council)
• transferred from a local council to a housing association after 31 March 1997
Your landlord must be registered with Homes England.

The home you want to buy must also be:

• a self-contained property
• your only or main home

Joint applications

You can make a joint application with:

• someone who shares your tenancy
• up to 3 family members who’ve lived with you for the past 12 months (even if they don’t share your tenancy)

Who doesn’t qualify?

You can’t use Right to Acquire if:

• you’re being made bankrupt
• a court has ordered you to leave your home
• you’re a council tenant – you may be able to use Right to Buy instead
• you have ‘Preserved Right to Buy

Right to Buy: buying your council home

Overview

Right to Buy allows most council tenants to buy their council home at a discount. Use the eligibility checker on the Right to Buy website to find out if you can apply.
There are different rules for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

You can apply to buy your council home if:

• it’s your only or main home
• it’s self-contained
• you’re a secure tenant
• you’ve had a public sector landlord (for example, a council, housing association or NHS trust) for 3 years – it does not have to be 3 years in a row

Joint applications

You can make a joint application with:
• someone who shares your tenancy
• up to 3 family members who’ve lived with you for the past 12 months (even if they do not share your tenancy)

Ex-council homes

If your home used to be owned by the council, but they sold it to another landlord (like a housing association) while you were living in it, you may have the Right to Buy. This is called ‘Preserved Right to Buy’.

Ask your landlord if this applies to you.

Other ways to buy your home

If you were not living in your home when it was sold by the council you may still be able to buy it through the Voluntary Right to Buy pilot.

Discounts

You can get a discount on the market value of your home when you buy it if you qualify for Right to Buy.
The maximum discount is £82,800 across England, except in London boroughs where it’s £110,500. It will increase each year in April in line with the consumer price index (CPI).

The discount is based on:

• how long you’ve been a tenant with a public sector landlord
• the type of property you’re buying – a flat or house
• the value of your home

If you’re buying with someone else, you count the years of whoever’s been a public sector tenant the longest.

You’ll usually have to repay some or all your discount if you sell your home within 5 years.

You might get a smaller discount if you’ve used Right to Buy in the past.

Working out the discount

Use the Right to Buy calculator to find out how much discount you could get.

There are different discount levels for houses and flats.

Houses

You get a 35% discount if you’ve been a public sector tenant for between 3 and 5 years.

After 5 years, the discount goes up by 1% for every extra year you’ve been a public sector tenant, up to a maximum of 70% – or £82,800 across England and £110,500 in London boroughs (whichever is lower).

Flats

You get a 50% discount if you’ve been a public sector tenant for between 3 and 5 years.

After 5 years, the discount goes up by 2% for every extra year you’ve been a public sector tenant, up to a maximum of 70% – or £82,800 across England and £110,500 in London boroughs (whichever is lower).

If your landlord has spent money on your home

Your discount will be less if your landlord has spent money building or maintaining your home:

• in the last 10 years – if your landlord built or acquired your home before 2 April 2012
• in the last 15 years – if you’re buying your home through Preserved Right to Buy, or if your landlord acquired your home after 2 April 2012

You will not get any discount if your landlord has spent more money than your home is now worth.

Applying

1. Fill in the Right to Buy application form (RTB1 notice).
2. Send it to your landlord.
3. Your landlord must say yes or no within 4 weeks of getting your application (8 weeks if they’ve been your landlord for less than 3 years). If your landlord says no, they must say why.
4. If your landlord agrees to sell, they’ll send you an offer. They must do this within 8 weeks of saying yes if you’re buying a freehold property, or 12 weeks if you’re buying a leasehold property.

Your landlord’s offer

If your landlord agrees to sell, their offer will tell you:

• the price they think you should pay for the property and how it was worked out
• your discount and how it was worked out
• a description of the property and any land included in the price
• estimates of any service charges (for a flat or maisonette) for the first 5 years
• any known problems with the property’s structure, for example, subsidence

Deciding to buy

You have 12 weeks after you get your landlord’s offer to tell them you still want to buy.

The landlord will send you a reminder if you do not reply to the offer. You have 28 days to reply to the reminder, or the landlord could drop your application.

You can pull out of the sale and continue to rent at any time.

If you disagree with the landlord’s offer

Contact your landlord and tell them why.

If you think your landlord has set your home’s market value too high, you must write to them within 3 months of getting the offer and ask them for an independent valuation.

A district valuer from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will then visit your home and decide how much it’s worth. You have 12 weeks to accept their valuation or pull out of the sale.

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