What is Right to Buy? The Basics Explained

If you currently live in a council house or a housing association property and would love to own your own home, then you may like to consider the Right to Buy scheme.

What is Right to Buy?

The government-ran Right to Buy scheme helps council and housing association tenants purchase their own homes for a discounted price.

Generally, the longer the tenant has lived in the property, the more money they can save. Right to Buy will look at how long you have been with your current landlord or any previous ‘Right to Buy’ landlords, when assessing your application.

Does it Matter Where I Live?

Right to Buy differs greatly depending on where you live in the country.


In England, successful candidates can earn a discount of up £78,600 or £104,900 if in London. However, this amount increases each April in-line with inflation.

Applicants can get a 35% discount after three years. After year five, the discount will go up 1% for every extra year of public sector tenancy up to a maximum of 70% or the maximum value (whichever is lower).

If you are considering buying a flat rather than a house, the discount is 50% after three years rather than 35%. This discount stays the same until year five when it begins to increase 2% for every extra year until the maximum is reached.

To be eligible you must live in a council or housing association property for three years or more, and all money raised is used to build new affordable homes for rent.

Right to Buy has been available in England since 1980, however it has seen a major makeover since April 2012 where the maximum discount increased considerably. Since then more than 63,000 homes have been bought using the scheme.


Right to Buy Wales is slightly different. It allows public sector tenants to purchase their home at a discount, however limits are much different.

In Wales, the maximum discount that can be achieved is £8,000 and this is only available to secure tenants of Local Authorities, not assured tenants of Registered Social Landlords – although an alternative scheme may be available.

If you are considering purchasing via Right to Buy Wales, you may like to act quickly. Right to Buy wales is set to be abolished by 2019. Since its introduction in 1980, 139,000 council and housing association homes have been bought, which has resulted in a 45% reduction in housing stock – something the Welsh government now claim is causing a housing shortage.


Right to Buy in Scotland ended on 31st July 2017. Councils or housing associations may still sell a property, however they are under no obligation to do so.

Get a Right to Buy Mortgage

Want to buy your home and make it your own? Then it’s likely you’ll need a specialist mortgage.
Make things as easy and quick as possible by using Ignite. We do all the hard work for you, scouring the finance market to find quotes that are tailored to your specific needs. Discover our Right to Buy mortgage services today.

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