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Phil Scott the mortgage centre
Author: Phil Scott -Director
Updated on January 30th, 2024

What is a Right to Buy Mortgage?

A Right to Buy mortgage will help you purchase your council house under the government’s scheme. There is also the Housing Association Right to Buy. While there is no specific ‘Right to Buy mortgage’ product, advisers will always tailor their advice to suit you.

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Right to Buy Mortgages

When buying your property, you will have access to virtually the same mortgages as any other borrower. Lenders will assess you in the same way as they would assess anyone else.

The amount lenders will be willing to lend and the interest rate you will be charged will depend largely on your loan-to-value ratio. This will be determined by the level of discount and any deposit you are able to provide. Other criteria such as your credit history and current income will also apply.

Read Our Right To Buy Mortgage Guide

Right to Buy Mortgage | Front of a property with light brick and a pale pink front door

Fill out our quick and easy Right to Buy calculator below. We only require a few details to see how much you may be able to borrow.


What is the Right to Buy Scheme?

‘Right to Buy’ is a government scheme. It gives people who are renting homes in the public sector the ability to buy their homes at a discounted price. It also includes the Right to Buy Housing Association scheme. There are also similar schemes in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Recent changes have also made it possible for Housing Association tenants to make use of the scheme. This is under a scheme labelled ‘Right to Acquire’. The qualifying period for Right to Buy has also been reduced.


How much is the Right to Buy discount?

The type of property will determine the discount you will be granted. The length of time you have been a tenant in the public sector will also apply.

  • Flats and maisonettes: You’ll become eligible for a 50% discount after three years’ tenancy. After five years, the discount increases by 2% for each additional year you have been a tenant. The maximum discount is 70% and no more than £96,010. It’s £127,940 in the London boroughs.
  • Houses: You will be eligible for a 35% discount after being a tenant for three years. After five years’ tenancy the discount increases by 1% for every additional year of tenancy. The maximum discount is 70% (as above, currently capped at £96,010, or £127,940 in the London boroughs).

Our Right to Buy mortgage calculator can help you gain an understanding of how much you may be able to borrow under the scheme.

Am I eligible for the Right to Buy scheme?

You may be eligible for a Right to Buy if the following applies to you:

  • It’s for your main or only home.
  • The property is self-contained.
  • You qualify as a secure tenant.
  • You’ve had a public sector landlord for a minimum of 3 years. This does not have to be 3 consecutive years.
  • Your home is not due to be demolished.

You do not have any legal debt problems, including any outstanding possession orders.


What is Preserved Right to Buy?

You may qualify to purchase your home under the Preserved Right to Buy. This is where the property used to be owned by the council but has subsequently been sold to another landlord. This is a landlord such as a Housing Association. The change of ownership must have occurred whilst you were living in it.

Do I need a deposit to buy my council house?

Many lenders will use your discount towards your deposit. As such you will not always need any personal deposit.

However, this is not the case for all lenders. Some will still need you to have your own funds. This is typical if you have bad credit and need to use a specialist lender.

How do I apply for a Right to Buy mortgage?

Looking at your finances is a great place to start. Ensure this is something you want to commit to long-term. Aside from mortgage and utility payments, you’re also responsible for necessary maintenance and improvements to the property.

If you’re confident this is a route you want to take, the process is typically as follows:

  • Complete a Right to Buy application form (RTB1) – this is online, or you can ask your landlord for a printed copy. Send it to your landlord by recorded or registered delivery to provide a record.
  • Your landlord must respond within 4 weeks (or 8 weeks if they have been your landlord for less than three years). If they accept your application, they will need to get the property valued by a qualified surveyor.
  • Your landlord will send you an offer within 8 weeks providing the property is a freehold. If it’s a leasehold this is extended to 12 weeks. It will detail the price they believe you should pay, how the price and discount were calculated and the amount of discount. Structural problems with the property will be noted. An estimate of the service charges for the first five years may be shown too.
  • You’ll have 12 weeks to respond to their offer. You can also get an independent valuation carried out within this time. If they refuse your application, they must give a valid reason why.
  • During this time, you’ll need to find a solicitor. You’ll also need a survey and to apply for a mortgage where applicable.

If all proceeds to your satisfaction, then you should be soon on the road to completion!

Can I apply for a Right to Buy mortgage with a partner?

Yes, joint applications are possible for Right to Buy mortgages.

Usually, the named parties on a mortgage will be the same as on the Right to Buy paperwork. In turn, the same for the property title deeds. However, if the paperwork is in your name only, it may be possible to arrange the mortgage in joint names.

Can I get a Right to Buy mortgage if I am retired?

It could be that Right to Buy has not been an option for you until later in life. Or it may be that your circumstances have not been right for you to look into buying your home. Either way, it is possible for many people to get a Right to Buy mortgage even if they are retired.

Defining the term ‘retired’ is the important factor here. It can be a very broad term that doesn’t accurately describe your complete circumstances. It may imply someone of a mature age, and this can mean that certain lenders will not be able to help.

Some lenders however operate with more flexible criteria. These will consider several other factors aside from age, such as affordability. Everyone’s situation is unique, and you could still get a Right to Buy mortgage even if you are retired.

Can I get a Right to Buy mortgage if I am self-employed?

Attitudes to the self-employed have changed positively over the years. Self-employment has many forms. Many lenders can make allowances for income that may be less predictable or more difficult to quantify.

As ever, the key to getting a mortgage is affordability. Lenders assess self-employed people in the same way as individuals in standard employment: looking at income together with outgoings over a period of time.

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Right to Buy mortgage brokers

When looking into any financial products, especially a mortgage, it’s worth getting expert advice. At The Mortgage Centres, we know the rigid approach by most mainstream Right to Buy mortgage lenders could put people off. But at the same time, we know how the discount under the scheme can make things that much more accessible.

We have experience with mortgages for people seeking to own their home under the Right to Buy scheme.

Other Right to Buy FAQs

  • Can I rent out my Right to Buy property?
  • Can I get Right to Buy mortgage with bad credit?
  • Can I sell my Right to Buy property?
  • Can I remortgage my Right to Buy property?
  • Right to Buy alternatives

When looking for a Right to Buy mortgage, only residential options are available, although during the clawback period the council may allow you to rent out the property. Always check with them before making arrangements. Once the clawback period is complete you can use the property as you wish.

We have assisted many Right to Buy purchases for those with bad credit. Whilst you may have more limited choices, it is not impossible for all. It is just knowing where to look and how to approach lenders.

At any time, you can sell your property after you buy it. Bear in mind that you may have to repay some or all the discount. This will apply if you sell within the period of the Right to Buy scheme. Typically, this is within the first 5 years.

Yes, it’s possible to remortgage the property. The difference is that you need to consider the clawback period. The council or housing association is likely to register a charge for the discount. If still in place additional legal work could be required.

Some alternatives to the scheme are:



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