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Buying a Council House & The Right to Buy Scheme

Who can Buy their Council House using the Right to Buy Scheme?

The Right to Buy scheme in the United Kingdom, helps social tenants in England with buying their council house at a discount.

You can apply for the Right to Buy Scheme if you've been a council or public sector tenant for five or more years. The five years don't even need to be consecutive! If you have lived in properties provided by a housing association, the armed forces or a public body like an NHS trust, you are classed as a public sector tenant!

Joint applications can be made for buying a council house through the Right to Buy scheme with someone who shares the tenancy with you or with members of your family. They must have lived with you for the past 12 months for this to be allowed by the Right to Buy Scheme.

You can't buy through the Right to Buy Scheme if:

Some properties won't be sold through the Right to Buy scheme, for example: if your home is suitable for housing the elderly. The exceptions for the right to buy scheme are outlined a little further down

Right to Buy Discount

As of 2 April 2012, the Right to Buy discount has increased - the new maximum Right To Buy Discount is £75,000!

If you qualify for the right to buy scheme, you can get a RTB Discount on the market value of your home when you buy it. Your home's market value is the price it would fetch if it was sold. As of 2nd April 2012, the right to buy discount has increased. Previously, the maximum discount ranged from £16,000 to £38,000, depending on where you lived. Now, the maximum Right to Buy Discount is £75,000 for anywhere in England. Making now the perfect time to buy your council house!

The RTB discount you can get is based on:

If you've previously had a discount to help you buy a council house or flat, this may be taken off your Right to Buy Discount.

The Right to Buy Application Explained

If you are planning on buying a council house through the Right to Buy Scheme, first you will need to get the 'right to buy application form (RTB1), you can get it from your landlord or request one via the contact form below.

When you have completed the form, photocopy it and send it to your landlord. It's best to send it by recorded delivery, or deliver it by hand and ask for a receipt.

For more information on the Right to Buy scheme contact us using the form at the bottom of this page or call 0800 652 1646.

Your landlord's reply to your Right to Buy application

Once your landlord has the RTB application, they must tell you if you can buy your home through the Right to Buy Scheme within:

If your landlord says no, they must state why. This could be because your home comes under one of the exceptions for the Right to Buy Scheme. Use the link below to find out more about the exceptions to the Right to Buy Scheme.

You can only appeal against your landlord's decision if your application has been turned down because your home is suitable for housing the elderly. You can't appeal for any other reason! If you wish to appeal you should appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal Service.

Your Right to Buy offer notice

If your landlord agrees to sell your council house to you, they will send you an offer, known as a 'Section 125 notice'. You must get this within:

The Section 125 offer notice will tell you:

If you disagree with any information in the Section 125 notice, eg how much your home is worth you should contact your landlord.

Deciding on Buying a Council House through the Right to Buy Scheme

Once you receive your Section 125 offer notice, you have 12 weeks to let your landlord know that you still want to buy your council house / home. Your landlord will send you a reminder if they don't hear from you in this time.

You need to reply to this reminder within 28 days, otherwise your landlord can drop your application. You can ask for more time if you have a good reason for not replying, eg you were in hospital.

You can pull out from buying a council house at any time during the right to buy application and continue to rent your council home.

If you think the 'market value' of your Right to Buy Council House is set too high

If your landlord agrees to sell your rented home to you, they will send you a 'Section 125 notice'.

The Section 125 notice lists everything you need to know about the sale, including the full market value of your home. This is the price your home would normally sell for. It is not the price you pay - buying through Right to Buy means you get a discount.

If you think your landlord has set your home's market value too high, you must write to them within three months of getting the Section 125 notice. Say you want a 'determination of value' under Section 128 of the Housing Act 1985.

HM Revenue & Customs will send a district valuer to visit your home and evaluate how much it is worth. You will then have 12 weeks to accept their valuation or pull out of the sale.

You must bear in mind the district valuer can also increase the valuation of your council house and their decision is final!

Delays with your Right to Buy application

You can get all the Right to Buy forms you need from your landlord
Your landlord must complete parts of your Right to Buy application within set times.

They must send you a notice (form RTB2) that tells you if you can buy through Right to Buy within:

If your landlord doesn't send these notices in time, you could get a reduction in the price you pay for your home by using the delay procedure.

Right to Buy Delay procedure

You first need to fill in an 'initial notice of delay' (form RTB6) and send it to your landlord. You must give your landlord at least one month to take the next step in the application process.

Once your landlord receives the initial notice of delay, they must either:

If they don't do this within a month, you should send them an 'operative notice of delay' (form RTB8). This means that any rent you pay while you're waiting to hear from your landlord could be taken off the price of your home.

You can do this each time your landlord is late getting back to you.

This may all seem very complex but don't worry. The mortgage advisors at KPM Financial Services know all the processes involved and can help you through each step.

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