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Right to Buy

The Right to Buy (RTB) scheme allows most council tenants to buy their council home at a discounted price. Use the drop down menus below to find out more information about the scheme.

You can apply to buy your council home if:
        
  • it is your only or principle home
  • you are a secure tenant  
  • you have been a public sector tenant for a minimum of three years - it does not have to be three years in a row. 
  • you do not have any legal problems with debt
  • you do not have a Possession Order or Anti-social behaviour order 
  • your home is not due to be demolished 
  • you do not live in sheltered accommodation or a property that is particularly suited for elderly or disabled person 

Houses and bungalows: 

The discount entitlement starts at 35% for three to five years as a public sector tenant. This then rises by 1% when you have 6 years, and for each extra year that you have been a tenant (up to 70%).

For joint tenants: 

If you share your Right to Buy with someone who is not a named tenant, additional documentation will be required before their Right to Buy can be accepted. The discount you receive depends on how long you have been a public sector tenant and the value of your property.

Flats and maisonettes:

The discount entitlement starts at 50% for three to five years as a public sector tenant. This then increases by 2% when you have 6 years, and for each extra year that you have been a tenant (up to 70%).

Your discount is calculated from the valuation of your property. Whatever percentage you are eligible for, your discount cannot be greater than the maximum discount.  The maximum discount is currently capped at £78,600. The maximum discount amount is due to increase every year in April in line with inflation. The increase in discount will only apply to applications received after this date. 

You can download an application form and an additional information form, both available below. We will also need the following documents to process your application:   

  • I.D (passport or driver's licence)    
  • proof of tenancy (your tenancy agreement)
  • proof of 12 months residence at the property (4 bills from throughout a 12 month period from a utility company or electoral role confirmation with name and address clearly stated)        

We will acknowledge your right to buy within 5 working days of receipt and offer you an appointment to discuss the implications of purchasing your property. We will send you a response form telling you whether or not you have the Right to Buy. It is possible that after you have sent in your application we may write to you for some extra information. We will not be able to give you any details regarding the price of your property until the valuation has been carried out.       

If you have been a tenant for more than three years we will send you this within four weeks. If you have been a tenant for less than three years we will respond within eight weeks. If you do not have the Right to Buy we will tell you why and offer you an appointment to discuss this.        

Valuation:

If you do have the Right to Buy, we will arrange for a valuation to be carried out on the property. After this has been done we will then send you a formal Offer Notice (also known as a S125 Notice), which will tell you how much you will have to pay to buy your home. This will include other important information about service charges, if you live in a flat. The notice will also tell you about any structural defects we know about the property. We will send the S125 Notice to you within 8 weeks from the date of the RTB2, or within 12 weeks if you live in a flat or maisonette.       

Accepting or refusing an offer:

With the S125 Notice we will send you a form asking if you wish to accept or refuse the offer. You will also have the option to have the property re-valued if you do not agree with the valuation price given.

If you accept the offer we will obtain the plans of your property and will visit the outside of your property to check these plans are correct. We will then pass all of the documents to our Legal Department who will then contact your solicitor to arrange the final details of the sale. 

To speed the process along you may wish to arrange for any mortgage you may need whilst we are obtaining the plans. You may also decide to get an independent survey done by a qualified surveyor but you are responsible for this.

Downloads:

 TitleDownload
application/pdfRight To Buy additional information (382KB)Download
 Download the additional information to fill in and send back with the RTB1 form
application/pdfRight to Buy application form for Eastbourne (360KB)Download
 Application form for Right to buy scheme, also known as an RTB1 form

Fill in the online form to start the Righ to Buy process:

Start now

Fill in all the sections including the list of your previous tenancies and any improvements you have made. You will also be asked to sign a declaration that you are not a bankrupt.

Application Process

Check eligibility, work out the cost and get advice – Once you’ve checked your eligibility it is a good idea to look into the costs of homeownership and get free impartial advice

Fill in an application form – Fill in the application form in the Right To Buy Application Form. This will be sent to us directly.

Confirm eligibility – Your landlord has up to 4 weeks to reply confirming you have the Right to Buy (8 Weeks if you have other social landlords or have been with your current landlord for less than 5 years)

Receive an offer – Your landlord then has up to 8 weeks to send you an offer notice for a house or 12 weeks for a flat. This offer notice is known as a S125 notice which give you information on:    

  • The value of your property (if you are not happy with your valuation you may appeal this.) Your discount and the price you will pay  
  • Any structural problems the landlord knows about
  • Any terms and conditions.
  • For leasehold properties only the S125 notice will also include an estimate of the service charges that you will need to pay over the next 5 years.

Organise your mortgage, survey and get advice – You have up to 12 weeks to accept the landlords offer. Using this 12 weeks you will need to arrange a mortgage or loan, get a survey and hire a solicitor etc. It may also be an idea to get independent financial and legal advice and check you understand all the costs before you sign anything.

Complete the purchase – Once you are happy with the terms and have arranged how you will pay for your home you can complete the purchase. It is usually around this time you will pay your stamp duty, finalise the paperwork and sign the contract.

Costs when you buy your home

There are various costs involved when you buy your home, including:

  • Solicitor fees.  A solicitor will act on your behalf to make sure that everything is done properly. You will have to pay for his or her time and for costs that he or she incurs on your behalf (eg. local authority and Land Registry searches). Always remember to add 20% VAT to the price quoted.      
  • Structural survey.  The council will not carry out a structural survey of your property, but you are advised to have one of your own carried out.      
  • Stamp Duty.  This is a tax on the sale price of the property. It is calculated as a percentage of the property's value. Your solicitor will be able to advise you about this. 
  • Mortgage fees.  If you are buying your property with a mortgage, then the mortgage company will probably want to carry out its own valuation. They usually charge for this and many mortgage companies also charge an administration fee for arranging the mortgage. 

Sometimes companies will ask tenants to pay for things that we will do for free - please note that all right to buy forms are free of charge and we do not charge for the valuations that we carry out on the properties.

Costs after you buy your home

Once you have bought your home you will no longer pay rent but you will have other financial commitments, they are:

House or bungalow: 

  • Mortgage repayments  - there will be a risk of repossession if regular payments are not made in accordance with agreement

  • Life insurance / payment protection insurance

  • Council Tax 

  • Buildings insurance 

  • Contents insurance

  • Utility bills e.g. gas, electricity, telephone, water, sewerage

  • Repairs e.g. boiler replacement, electrical wiring, plumbing

  • Maintenance and decorating e.g. kitchen and bathroom fittings

  • External maintenance – e.g. garden and fences sold with home

Flat or maisonette:

  • Service charge invoice.  Remember, if you do not pay your service charges without good reason, the council may ask the court for a money judgement against you. This may affect your future ability to obtain credit.  In severe cases it can lead to forfeiture of the lease and you could lose your home.

  • Contribution for Major works (planned works to the building)

  • Ground rent (this will be included in the service charge invoice)

  • Buildings insurance (this will be included in the service charge invoice)

  • Mortgage repayments.  There will be a risk of repossession if regular payments are not made in accordance with agreement

  • Life insurance and payment protection insurance

  • Council Tax 

  • Contents insurance

  • Utility bills e.g. gas, electricity, telephone, water, sewerage

  • Repairs e.g. boiler replacement, electrical wiring, plumbing

  • Maintenance and decorating e.g. kitchen and bathroom fittings

Please note that although you may have been able to claim housing benefit as a tenant, as an owner-occupier you will not receive any housing benefit to help with your mortgage costs. If you enter into a deferred sale agreement, in which a company will end up owning your property, then a proportion of the discount will have to be repaid from the date the agreement is entered into.

If you purchase your home through Right to Buy and sell within 10 years, you must first offer it to the council. The property should be sold at the full market price as agreed between you and the council.

Paying back your discount

If you sell your Right to Buy home within 5 years of buying it, you’ll have to pay back some or all of the discount you received.

The amount of discount you pay back depends on the value of your home when you sell it. So, if you got a 40% discount, you’ll have to pay back 40% of the selling price.

If you sell within the first year, you’ll have to pay back all of the discount. If you sell after the first year, the total amount you pay back reduces. You pay back;

  • 80% of the discount in the second year
  • 60% of the discount in the third year  
  • 40% of the discount in the fourth year
  • 20% of the discount in the fifth year
  • For example: If you bought your home worth £100,000 and got a 40% discount (£40,000). You then sold your home after 18 months for £120,000. 
  • 40% of £120,000 is £48,000. As you’re in the second year, you would repay 80% of £48,000 (£38,400).

Please note that if you enter into a deferred sale agreement in which a company will end up owning your property, then a proportion of the discount will have to be repaid as from when the date the agreement is entered into.

 Can I make a joint application?       

Yes:

  • with your spouse of civil partner.
  • with a joint tenant, or someone who shares your tenancy 
  • up to three family members who have lived with you for at least the last 12 months as their only or main home.
  • if you share your Right to Buy with someone who is not a named tenant, additional documentation will be required before their Right to Buy can be accepted.

How long does the RTB process take?       

From the date the application form is received, the process often takes in excess of 6 months.

I want to buy my flat/maisonette, how many years will I have on my lease?       

Council leases start at a date of 125 years from the date the first flat was sold in the block.        

My family member lives in a council property, can I buy the house on their behalf?       

The RTB legislation does not stipulate how the purchase is funded, however if you will be obtaining a mortgage to fund the purchase the mortgage company may have conditions. At least one secure tenant must be included in the purchase of the property.        

How long do I need to be living in my current property before I have the RTB?       

How long you have lived in your current property is irrelevant. As long as you have been a public sector tenant for more than 3 years you may have the Right to Buy your home. 

Can I rent my property out after RTB?

You must be living in your property throughout the Right to Buy process. After the sale on your property has completed, you are able to rent out the property. If you are purchasing the leasehold of your property, you will need to notify the Council and complete a subletting form.   

How soon can I sell my property after RTB?

If you sell the property within the first 5 years of purchase, you will be required to repay all or a proportion of the discount you received. If you want to sell the property within the first 10 years, you are required to first off the property back to the  Council, although it is unlikely that they will purchase the property back from you.

For more information visit the official Right to Buy government website or the official Right to Buy government guide to buying your council home