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Right to Buy

This section outlines the Government's Right to Buy policy and provides guidance and publications for public sector landlords.

The Right to Buy scheme is open to secure tenants of local authorities (councils) and of housing associations/registered providers (previously known as registered social landlords). It is also open to assured tenants of registered providers/housing associations who held secure tenancies with local authorities at the time that their homes were transferred from the local authority to a registered provider/housing association.

Tenants must have at least five years tenancy with a public sector landlord.

Some properties are exempt from the Right to Buy - dwellings occupied in connection with a tenant's employment, and housing especially provided for older or disabled people.

Landlords must provide tenants who apply for Right to Buy with a valuation of their home, but tenants can ask the district valuer to provide an alternative valuation.

Tenants looking to exercise the Right to Buy will find useful advice on the  DirectGov (external link) website.

Recent and current policy for the Right to Buy


Right to Buy maximum discounts vary between regions, from £16,000 in most of London to £38,000 in most of the South East.

The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008

The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 made further changes to modernise the Right to Buy.

The scheme is still open to virtually any secure tenant who can afford to buy. The changes included:

  • the district valuer's determination can be reviewed under certain circumstances
  • social landlords can offer equity loans or purchase equity shares to help leaseholders pay their service charges
  • a mortgage lender regulated by the Financial Services Authority has automatic approved lender status
  • an initial demolition notice is valid for up to seven years  

Landlord's responsibilities

It is the responsibility of public sector landlords to process Right to Buy applications and they must provide the relevant forms to tenants as requested and comply with the statutory timescales for dealing with applications.

Copies of our publications Your Right to Buy your Home and Thinking of Buying your Council Flat , are available to download or print copies can be ordered in bulk from our publishing house. These booklets provide general guidance and information about the Right to Buy scheme and are specifically aimed at social tenants.

Although these booklets provide basic information about Right to Buy, we would strongly recommend that professional organisations and legal advisers refer directly to the Right to Buy legislation - ie , to sections 118 -188 of Part V of the Housing Act 1985 and Schedules 4 and 5 of this Act.

Mortgage companies wishing to offer a mortgage to Right to Buy tenants must either be a High Street Bank, Building Society or an authorised mortgage lender to enable them to secure the first charge on the property. A list of Approved Lending Institutions pre 22 September 2008 is available in this section.

Contact the Right to Buy team

If your question hasn't been answered on these pages please contact:

In this section

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