Right to Buy
In order to qualify for the right to buy scheme, you will need to have been a public sector tenant for a minimum of three years.
Changes to the right to buy as of the May 2015
The Government has recently announced changes to the legislation governing the right to buy scheme. The qualifying years will be reduced from 5 to 3 years effective from the 26 May 2015.
This means tenants with 3 years public sector tenancy (who meet other eligibility criteria) could qualify for the Right to Buy.
The calculation of the discount remains the same and tenants will only be entitled to any additional discount from the 6th year onwards. This means if you are buying a flat the discount calculation is set at 50% between year 3 and 5 of your tenancy. You will only be entitled to an additional discount once you have completed a total of 6 years public sector tenancy.
The same applies if you’re buying a house but the discount is calculated at 35% between year 3 and 5 of your tenancy.
The current maximum cash discount is £103,900 (for claims submitted after 6 April 2015). This will be increased in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) on an annual basis.
You will need to carry out your own research in order to make an informed decision. You can contact the Right to Buy Agent service on 0300 123 0913 who offer free advice and signposting to financial and legal advice.
The Steps to owning your own home booklet gives you basic information about your right to buy, what you will need to think about if you want to take advantage of the scheme and any restrictions that may apply to either you or the property you live in.
You can download an application form from the Government's Right to Buy website. Please print the application form, as it must be signed and returned to:
Home Ownership Services,
153-159 Abbeyfield Road
If you need to discuss your application in person it is advisable to make an appointment with a right to buy officer on 020 7525 7850.
Social homebuy is an alternative to right to buy and allows you to acquire your home on a shared ownership basis. This means you can buy some of the equity in the property but pay rent on the share that you do not own, allowing you to get closer to full ownership. You will also get a discount on the purchase price.
As with right to buy, you will still need to have been a council tenant for a minimum of two years if your tenancy started before January 18 2005 or three years if your first tenancy started after that date.