Right To Buy is a government initiative, directed at tenants of council houses, or private sector tenants. It allows you to buy your house at a discounted rate should you have been a council or private sector tenant for a total of 5 years or more. These 5 years need not be consecutive; they can be spread over time.

How Do I Apply?

1. Ensure you qualify: There are guides as to those who can apply, for example you may find your home to be exempt from the scheme if it is provided due to convenience for work or study, is appropriate for an elderly tenant or is on land of a property such as a school. You won’t be able to complete a joint application to purchase the home with another individual if you have not been living with them for 12 months or more. The Right to Buy scheme does not apply to tenants in properties owned by private landlords. Either through your landlord, or online using the government website, you should be able to ascertain whether you qualify or not pretty rapidly.

2. Complete an application form: the application form you require is a RTB1 and this is available, once again, from your landlord or from the government’s website as a download. This form should be completed and a copy made. You will keep hold of one copy for your records and the other copy will go to your landlord. It is advisable to send the form recorded delivery so you have a confirmation that it has been received. Your other option is to take the form and deliver it by hand, ensuring you get yourself a written confirmation in person.

3. Your landlord’s reply: a landlord must reply to your application within 4 or 8 weeks, depending on how long you have been living in the property. Your landlord has a right to say no to the sale, but they must outline the reason why. You cannot appeal against a decision to not sell you your home if your home is exempt. The only appeal grounds you could have are if the reason given is ‘suitable for an elderly tenant.’

4. Right to Buy notice: If they decide to sell you the house they will issue you a Section 125 notice in up to 3 months following the approval of the sale. This will contain a valuation of your property, the amount of discount you will receive, any issues with your home a description of your property. If you are unhappy with any of this you must dispute it with your landlord before you go ahead.

5. Mortgages and completion: unless you are buying in cash, you will need a mortgage. Many lenders offer specifically tailored right to buy mortgages. Shop around and find what is right for you. You will also need a specialist conveyancing solicitor to help you with the sale. Hopefully all will go well at this point and you will be the proud owner of your own home

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