Understanding the Right to Buy scheme. Is it right for you? What are the pros and cons?

The Right to Buy scheme is a straightforward process, which supports eligible council and housing association tenants all over England to buy their own home. This makes it possible to for people to buy the properties that they live in at a big discount. The scheme exists to give families a discount of as much as £82,800 across England.


What is Right to Buy?

Originally introduced in the Housing Act 1980, it permits the majority of council housing tenants to purchase their council house at a discounted price. If you had a secure council tenancy, even if it was transferred to a new social landlord, then you might have a ‘Preserved’ Right to Buy. This means that you have the right to buy your family home.

The current rules mean that you are eligible to purchase your council home if: –

  • It is your main and only residence.
  • You are a secure tenant with an official legal contract between yourself and a public sector landlord.
  • That it is self-contained. No rooms can be shared with people outside of your household.
  • That you have maintained a contract for over three years (which does not need to have been held for three years in a row).
  • You are not legally in debt.
  • It is also possible to make a joint application with somebody who resides in your home, or as many as three family members who have lived in the residence for the past 12 months.


What discount can you get?

The discount you can obtain by going through the Right to Buy scheme differs dependant on whether you live in either a house or a flat:


Living in a house:

You are eligible to receive a 35% discount when you have been a resident for between three and five years.

Following this five-year time period, the discount increases by 1% for each year that you have been a resident, up to a limit of 70% or the maximum of £82,800 in England.


Living in a flat:

You are eligible to receive a 50% discount when you have been a resident for between three and five years.

This increases after five years by 2% for every for every year to an upper limit of 70% which equates to £82,800 across England and £110,500 in London.


Pros of Right to Buy scheme

  • You can receive a discount on the total sale value of your home making it more affordable.
  • It enables people to become homeowners who would not ordinarily be able to have enough money to buy their own home.
  • Owning a home gives all families financial protection.
  • It offers relatives something they can pass on from generation to generation.


Cons of Right to Buy scheme

  • Not all families can afford to purchase their own council house.
  • You will be responsible for expensive upkeep and maintenance on your own home.

Understanding the Right to Buy scheme is not too complex you just need to weigh up the pros and cons to decide if it is right for you.