In 1980, the government came up with a scheme which gave eligible social housing tenants the right to buy the home they were occupying, and termed the scheme simply ‘Right to Buy.’ Though the basic principles have not changed since then, over the years some aspects have varied, such as the eligibility criteria and the discount levels.
Then, starting in 2012, the government implemented some major changes because it was concerned that the scheme, however well-intentioned, seemed to be unaffordable to many. So how do you know you’re eligible? What are the discounts? Here’s everything you need to know about a Right to Buy mortgage and its main benefits.
If you’re a secure council tenant and have been a public sector tenant for at least three years (these 3 years do not have to be consecutive), then you are probably eligible for right to buy mortgages provided that you do not have any legal issues that have to do with debt or that you don’t have any outstanding possession orders.
Ownership with the council
If you own part of the home (and hence, share the ownership with the council) you are probably not eligible for the Right to Buy scheme. You may still be able to buy it, but this would depend on your conversation and agreement with your landlord.
Housing association tenants
Chances are you might not eligible, but under certain conditions you might be. If you were a secure council tenant and during the tenancy the title was transferred to another landlord (such as a council), you may be able to take advantage of the ‘preferred’ Right to Buy. Your landlord can give you more information about this.
The rate of discount is directly related to the number of years you have been a tenant. For a tenancy of 3 years the discount goes to 35% for a house and 50% for a flat. Once you have a tenancy of 5 years, the rate goes up by 1% per year for houses and 2% per year for flats. There are, however, maximum limits (depending on your location).
Getting the mortgage
The Money Advice Service is a good place to start for free and unbiased advice.
If all of it seems a little confusing, that’s ok. There’s good news: there are Right to Buy mortgage advisers who can give professional advice – for free. Not only can they help you see if you’re eligible (and help you become eligible), they are able to answer your questions in detail and walk you through the whole process step by step. Right to Buy is a great scheme that has helped many people before; it may be a great helping hand for you as well.
AS A MORTGAGE IS SECURED AGAINST YOUR HOME OR PROPERTY, IT COULD BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP THE MORTGAGE REPAYMENTS.