Right To Buy makes it possible for public sector tenants to purchase their home at a significant discount to market value.
The discount is based on a number of different things, including how long you’ve been renting from a public sector landlord, and the sort of property you are looking to buy.
What’s it all about?
The purpose of Right To Buy is to enable long-term council tenants to purchase the homes they have lived in for a long time. By providing a discount based on how long you have lived in your council home, up to a maximum discount of £84,200 (£112,300 in London), the idea is to increase accessibility to homeownership for those who would otherwise be unable to afford a home on the open market.
Flats and Houses
The rate of discount is also based on the type of property you are hoping to buy.
You can get a 50% discount on a flat if you’ve been a public sector tenant for 3-5 years. After 5 years, the discount increases by 2% for every year you’re a public sector tenant, up to a maximum discount of 70% or £84,200 (£112,300 in London), whichever is lower.
You can get a 35% discount if you’ve been a public sector tenant for 3-5 years. After 5 years, the discount increases by 1% for every year you’re a public sector tenant, all the way up to a 70% total discount, or £84,200 (£112,300 in London), whichever is lower.
Am I eligible for Right To Buy?
There is a quiz you can take to find out if you are eligible for Right To Buy, but the basic rules are that you must have been a tenant with a public sector landlord for at least 3 years; the home must be your primary residence; and you can’t have any outstanding debt issues or possession orders.
Can I buy my Nans council house?
People frequently asked whether they can take advantage of their parents’ or grandparents’ Right To Buy eligibility by buying their home off them at a great market discount.
The answer is no. Only the tenant themselves is eligible for Right To Buy.
For those who wish to buy their grandparents’ home and then flip it on the open market for a big profit, it’s bad news, too. If you sell a property within 5 years of purchasing it with Right To Buy, most or all of the discount must be returned.
There are, of course, potential loopholes which people work hard to exploit, some of which could well be within the law. If, for example, you were to provide the money for your Nan to buy her council flat with Right To Buy, once the 5-year tie-in period is over, it could be possible to transfer the ownership over to you.
The law isn’t airtight on this because there are rare and specific scenarios where a transfer of deeds is necessary. But this doesn’t mean you should try to exploit any gaps in the rules. Not only might it be considered morally questionable, but the uncertainty of what kind of response you will get from the government means you can’t rely on this as a method of home purchase.
Have you made use of the Right To Buy scheme? If so, we’d love to hear how you got on. Drop us a message in the comments section below. And do the same if you have a question for our property expert, Russell Quirk.