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RTB Eligibility

If you are interested in purchasing your council property through the government’s Right to Buy scheme, it’s first important to assess your eligibility.

The government takes into account various criteria when considering eligibility, and qualification under the Right to Buy usually means satisfying the following:

  1. The property is your main home or only home
  2. You have been a council tenant for three or more years
  3. You do not live in sheltered housing
  4. You do not have any outstanding possession orders against you
  5. The property you live in is not scheduled to be demolished

In most instances, satisfying the above requirements is sufficient to qualify for the government’s Right to Buy scheme. However, your eligibility will need to be confirmed by your council and additional checks may be carried out. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your eligibility, contact a member of the team at UK Property Finance to discuss your case in more detail.

Important Notethere are many unscrupulous service providers whose aim is to mislead Right to Buy clients with overpriced services they do not need. Seeking independent professional support is advisable, but it’s also important to establish fee structures and understand your obligations, before involving third-party service providers.


Changes to Eligibility

In 2015, the government relaxed Right to Buy eligibility criteria from five years’ public sector tenancy to just three years. As a result, qualifying tenants must now live in a council property or qualifying housing association property for just three years, before being able to buy their home at a heavily discounted rate.

Right to Buy Joint Applications

It’s often preferable for eligible Right to Buy tenants to apply alongside a second qualifying applicant. If you’re eligible for the scheme, you have the option of purchasing your property alongside:

  • An individual who shares your tenancy
  • Your spouse or civil partner
  • A maximum of three family members residing with you for a minimum of 12 consecutive months at the time of the application

If you qualify under the Right to Buy scheme, there are no specific rules regarding how to obtain a mortgage for the purchase. Instead, it is the same process of obtaining a mortgage (or the funds needed to cover the cost of the property) as with any other residential property purchase.

At UK Property Finance, we provide independent advice and support on all aspects of mortgage applications. Whatever your financial status and credit history, we’ll set you up with an unbeatable deal to suit your requirements and your budget.

Housing Association Tenants

The rules are slightly different for housing association tenants, though the government has announced plans to extend Right to Buy eligibility to more occupants of housing association properties. Nevertheless, you may need specialist support to determine your eligibility.


Ex-council homes (Preserved Right to Buy)

Most tenants occupying housing association properties do not qualify under the Right to Buy scheme. However, the Right to Buy program does extend to secure council tenants who were occupying a property at the time it was transferred to another landlord by the relevant council. In which case, the tenant may have a ‘Preserved’ right to buy their property at a heavily discounted rate.

Preserved Right to Buy is only applicable when the tenant was living in their property at the time it was transferred. The same tenant may also be eligible if they moved to a different property owned by the same landlord, but not a property owned by another landlord.

The rules for tenants with a Preserved Right to Buy are exactly the same as those for regular council tenants. As are the basic eligibility requirements for the scheme. Speak to your landlord to establish whether or not you are eligible for a discount under the Right to Buy program, or contact a member of the team at UK Property Finance for more information.

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 your council to another landlord, like a housing association, then you may have a ‘Preserved’ Right to Buy.


Other Homeownership Schemes

At the time of writing similar home ownership schemes for council tenants and housing association tenants exist in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However this is forecast to change.  Each of these jurisdictions has its own unique rules regarding both eligibility and the extent to which discounts are made available.

Tenants who fail to qualify for the government’s Right to Buy or Right to Acquire programs may still be eligible for a different type of home buying scheme. Examples of which include Share Ownership and Help to Buy, both of which can make first-time home ownership significantly more affordable.

Some local authorities also have their own unique programmes and policies in place, which may be suitable for your requirements.

UK Property Finance can help guide you through the options available and determine the best course of action to suit your preferences and your budget.  Book your obligation-free consultation with a member of our team today.


Right to Acquire

Housing association tenants who do not qualify for Right to Buy may still have the opportunity to buy their home with a smaller discount under a secondary ‘Right to Acquire’ program. This is a somewhat different scheme with different eligibility requirements and potential discounts available of between £9,000 and £16,000 on the price of your property.

The government’s Right to Acquire program is, however, subject to change – contact UK Property Finance if interested in purchasing your housing association property.

Right to Buy is an affordable housing scheme open exclusively to council property tenants (and some housing association tenants). Qualifying tenants upon meeting specified length-of-tenancy requirements are automatically given the right to purchase their home, with discounts available of up to £82,800, increasing to £110,500 for qualifying properties in London. Lower discounts of £24,000 and £8,000 are available in Northern Ireland and Wales respectively.
The UK government introduced the Right to Buy scheme to help public-sector tenants purchase their homes with potentially huge discounts from their actual market value. Right to Buy was introduced by the UK Government in 1980, though initial property discounts were relatively low - up to £16,000 maximum. Discount amounts were subsequently increased on an annual basis to reflect inflation and are now significantly more generous, opening the door to potential home ownership for more tenants than ever before.
It is already possible to qualify under the Right to Buy scheme to purchase a housing association property. However, there are specific terms and conditions governing the program. Tenants occupying ex-council houses who lived in the property at the time it was transferred to a new landlord have what’s known as ‘Preserved Right to Buy’. Otherwise, Right to Buy may qualify under a secondary ‘Right to Acquire’ scheme, for which discounts of £9,000 up to £16,000 are available. Contact your landlord or local housing association for more information.

There is an eligibility quiz on the official government Right to Buy portal. Check that out and answer a few simple questions to determine whether you may be eligible for an enormous discount on your home’s current market value.

Housing Association Tenants - Recent changes have affected eligibility for the Right to Buy scheme for occupants of housing association properties. Find out more and determine how much you could save by purchasing your home through Right to Buy.

UK Property Finance has extensive experience and expertise in all aspects of Right to Buy applications for council and housing association tenants alike.

If you purchase your property under the Right to Buy, you are perfectly entitled to let it out to tenants. However, you must inform your local council of your new address - i.e. where you will live while renting out your property.
Upon receipt of your application to purchase your property under the Right to Buy, your landlord is typically obliged to reply with a decision within four weeks. This is sometimes increased to eight weeks, depending on your length of residency in the property. A complete offer notification including the value of the property, the discount you are eligible for and the resulting purchase price for your home will be sent within no more than 8 weeks for a house, or 12 weeks for a leasehold property. If you choose to go ahead, it will then be your responsibility to organise a mortgage and the general administrative/legal side of the purchase process. From start to finish, it typically takes at least 3 to 6 months to purchase a property under Right to Buy, although it can be quicker.
Not necessarily, as many lenders accept the discount on the property’s value as the deposit. Depending on the lender, you may therefore not need to provide any deposit. Nevertheless, this is determined on a case by case basis. In some instances, your deposit obligations will be exactly the same as if you were purchasing a property through the normal channels. Right to Buy mortgage lenders in the UK require deposits of anything from 0% up to 20%, which must be paid before the mortgage completes. If you have concerns as to your ability to cover the necessary mortgage, contact a member of the team at UK Property Finance to discuss the alternative options.
The typical maximum discount available on a property in England is £82,800, increasing to £110,500 for qualifying properties in London. It is also possible to qualify for a discount under the Right to Buy scheme in Northern Ireland and Wales, where the maximum discounts available are £24,000 and £8,000 respectively. Anyone interested in purchasing a property outside England should consult with the relevant government website using the links below:
Possibly however the deposit you need to pay will be determined entirely by the size and nature of the mortgage you need to pay for your home. There are various different types of mortgages available, along with alternative secured lending options and general property finance packages. To discuss the available options and assess your suitability, contact a member of the team at UK Property Finance anytime.
Stamp duty is payable on all properties in the United Kingdom, including those purchased under the Right to Buy scheme. Stamp duty is only payable when purchasing a property with a value in excess of £125,000. Most property purchases are subject to the usual 3% stamp duty, which is payable at the time of the property purchase by the individual (or individuals) buying the home.
The maximum discount currently available under the Right to Buy scheme in England is £82,800, increasing to £110,500 for qualifying properties in London. Discount amounts are revised and updated every April, in line with inflation, For more information on any of the above issues or to discuss your eligibility for a Right to Buy discount in more detail, contact a member of the team at UK Property Finance today.
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Last Updated: Apr 3, 2020 @ 2:37 pm
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