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Are You Eligible For The Right To Buy Scheme? 19 May 2020

The Right To Buy (RTB) scheme enables individuals to buy the council or housing association property they are living in, for a discounted price - are you eligible to buy the property you rent at below market value?

Buying your council or housing association property enables you to climb the property ladder or to secure your home for your and your family's future. If you can apply for the RTB scheme, it means you could potentially buy the property for a discount of £100,000 or more. Furthermore, you wouldn't need to repay any of the discount if you sell the property after 5 years and house prices continue to rise.

The RTB Scheme Facts

The scheme is currently available for properties in England, although it is unknown for how long. The scheme ended in Scotland on 1 August 2016 and in Wales on 26 January 2019.

Who can apply for the scheme?

The RTB scheme offers eligible Local Authority Tenants and some Non-Charitable Housing Association Tenants the right to buy the property they live in - a right stated in the Housing Act 1980 that includes both houses and flats, and freehold and leasehold properties.

The scheme is available mainly for Local Authority Tenants although previous council tenants who are now Housing Association Tenants have a "preserved right" also.

To assess if you're eligible for the scheme, there is a quiz on the gov.uk website and the Government has also set up an advisory service if you'd like to speak to someone. You can access help with going through the quiz and the advisor will answer any questions you have and help you with the application process.

As a guide, you can buy your home if:

  • It's your only property
  • You rent all the property and not just part of it
  • You are an eligible tenant
  • You have been an eligible tenant for a minimum of 3 years

As a guide, you can't buy your home if:

  • You are going through bankruptcy
  • You have a bankruptcy petition pending against you
  • You have made arrangements with creditors and still owe them money
  • You have been ordered to leave your home by way of a court order

What discount does the scheme give you?

The discount you receive through the RTB scheme depends on how long you have been an eligible tenant in the property - the maximum discount available if you live inside London is £108,000 and if you live in England, outside London, it is £80,900.

To help you work out your potential discount, there is a calculator on the gov.uk website.

What is the RTB process?

Your first step is to speak to your landlord or to a Government Advisor to find out if you are eligible for the RTB scheme.

If you are eligible, you will need to fill in the RTB1 Form, which is the initial claim form for the process. You will also need to find a solicitor to help you with the legal side of the scheme and potentially a mortgage advisor too.

The RTA Scheme

The RTA scheme is the Right To Acquire scheme and it allows tenants not eligible for the RTB scheme to apply to buy their home in accordance with the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

Eligible tenants should include most other Non-Charitable Housing Association Tenants. It's a good idea to speak to your landlord if you're unsure if you're eligible for the scheme or not.

The scheme's process is similar to the RTB scheme, only the eligibility criteria and discount are different.

More information is available on the gov.uk website.

Helping You With The RTB Scheme

Our property solicitors are experienced in both the RTB and RTA processes and would be more than happy to help you with your initial enquiry and application if you're eligible.

We will take the time to find out your particular situation and property arrangements so we can advise you on your potential eligibility. We can also help you with the claim form and provide guidance and support throughout the process to ensure the best possible outcome for you.

To speak to one of our specialist property solicitors about the RTB scheme or RTA scheme, please contact us at our Chorlton office on 0161 860 7123 or email chorlton@hlfberry.com  or at our Failsworth office on 0161 681 4005 or email failsworth@hlfberry.com