The Right to Buy scheme is a UK policy that allows council tenants to buy their homes at a discounted price. Since its introduction in 1980, about 1.5 million homes have been sold through this scheme. Tenants can get as much as a 70% discount, depending on whether they live in a flat or house. The scheme is available only in England, since it was abolished in Scotland and plans to abolish it in Wales may come into effect by 2021.

Right to Acquire

Right to Buy is only for council tenants but plans to extend it to housing association tenants are under way. Here, housing association tenants can only buy a house if it was owned previously by the council and later transferred to an association. This also applies to property that was bought or built by an association after March 31, 1997, otherwise known as Right to Acquire. However, discounts are not as big as in the Right to Buy scheme.


If you are interested in obtaining a right to buy mortgage, you need to know if you and the house you live in are eligible. You can be eligible if you are a public sector tenant who has lived in the house for at least 3 years. This does not have to be continuous; just add the number of years you have lived there as a secure council tenant.

Applicants for the scheme should have no legal issues such as outstanding possession orders and debt. Some properties cannot be purchased under Right to Buy. You can apply if the house is your only home and if it is self-contained. If you part own the home, Right to Buy is not available. Certain people can apply for joint application, including a civil partner, spouses, tenancy agreement partners and up to three members of the family who have been staying in the same home for 12 months prior to the application.

The Process

To apply for the Right to Buy scheme, fill out an application form. If your landlord agrees to sell the home, he will tell you the amount and discounts and how they were worked out. The offer also includes the property’s description, estimated costs of service charges for flats for the first five years and any identified problems with the structure. If you don’t agree with the offer, you have 12 weeks to pull out of the sale. If you are happy with the terms, you can complete the purchase after arranging the finance.

The Right to Buy scheme offers tenants a good chance to own a property they have been living in. The government provides a questionnaire that will let you know if you are eligible. As part of the application process, your landlord could also confirm your eligibility.