Right to Buy Mortgages
- No deposit required
- Rates based on full market value
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What is a Right to Buy Mortgage?
Right to Buy mortgage will help you purchase your council house or Housing Association property under the Government’s Right to Buy scheme. While there is no specific ‘Right to Buy mortgage’ product, mortgage advisers will always tailor their advice to suit your situation.
As someone who is aiming to buy their council house home through the Right to Buy scheme, you will have access to the same range of mortgages as any other borrower, and will be assessed by lenders in exactly the same way as anyone else.
The amount lenders will be willing to lend and the interest rate you will be charged will depend largely on the size of the deposit you are able to provide as well as other criteria such as your credit history and current income.
Right to Buy Mortgage Information
What is the Right to Buy Scheme?
‘Right to Buy’ is a Government scheme that gives people who are renting homes in the public sector (either council housing or via a Housing Association) the ability to buy their home at a discounted price, lower than the prevailing market value. There are also similar schemes in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, although the rules are slightly different.
First introduced in 1980 for tenants of council houses, the scheme was particularly popular during the first decade of its implementation, with over a million homes being sold. Government policies to reduce discounts and limit availability made it less attractive for a while, but major changes in 2012 and 2015 saw possible discounts increased across England and the scheme became available to more public sector tenants than before.
More recent changes have also made it possible for Housing Association tenants to make the same use of Right to Buy as people renting council housing, under a scheme labelled ‘Right to Acquire’. The qualifying period for Right to Buy has also been reduced – you can now apply to purchase your home if you have been a public sector tenant for three years or more. The maximum Right to Buy discount is now (at time of writing) £84,600 across the whole of England except for London, where it is £112,800, and is set to increase annually in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
All money made from the sale of council housing or Housing Association properties is reinvested in building or acquiring more homes for public-sector rent. More information about Right to Buy is available on the Gov.uk website.
Right to Buy mortgage specialists
When you’re looking to buy your council house or Housing Association home under the Right to Buy Scheme, you’ll be grateful for an adviser who can explain the whole process, guide you through each step with the parties involved and outline the legalities you’ll have to deal with.
At The Mortgage Centres, we deal regularly with over 90 lenders offering Right to Buy mortgages, and will be able to help you identify which lender and which product will be the right fit for your needs and your financial circumstances. Even if you have the misfortune to suffer from a poor credit history, with the breadth of lenders we have access to it’s highly likely that you’ll obtain the mortgage you need.
How much is the Right to Buy discount?
The amount of discount you will be granted off the market value of your council house or Housing Association home under the Right to Buy scheme will depend on the type of property and the length of time you have been a tenant in the public sector.
- Flats and maisonettes: You’ll become eligible for a 50% discount after three years’ tenancy, and this remains the case until you’ve lived there for five years. After five years, the discount increases by 2% for each additional year you have been a public sector tenant up to a maximum discount of 70% – the maximum discount being £84,600, or £112,800 in the London boroughs.
- Houses: You will be eligible for a 35% discount after being a tenant for three years, and after five years’ tenancy the discount increases by 1% for every additional year of public sector tenancy. The maximum discount is 70% (as above, currently capped at £84,600, or £112,800 in the London boroughs).
How do I apply for a Right to Buy mortgage?
Before you start the ball rolling on purchasing your public sector property, you should take a look at your finances to make sure this is something you want to commit to long term. Aside from keeping up with mortgage payments, you’ll be responsible for all necessary maintenance and improvements around the property on top of the usual utilities.
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 and OK your purchase of the property, they will need to get the property valued by a qualified surveyor.
- Your landlord will send you an offer within 8 weeks if the property is a freehold, or 12 weeks if leasehold. This offer will detail the price they believe you should pay, how this price was worked out, the amount of discount and how this was worked out, a description of the property and any associated land included in the price, any existing problems with the structure of the property, and an estimate of the service charges (if a flat or maisonette) for the first five years.
- You’ll have 12 weeks to respond to their offer, and you have the right to get an independent valuation carried out within this time if you think the landlord has overvalued your home. If they refuse your application, they must give a valid reason why.
- During this time, you’ll also need to get a solicitor in place, arrange a survey and apply for a mortgage or loan to cover the cost of your home. At this point, you could benefit from talking to an independent mortgage broker, who can not only help you source exactly the right mortgage for your circumstances, but also help with the application, recommend legal advice and help you plan for what the future might bring.
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?
The prospect of being able to purchase and own your own home through the Right to Buy scheme can be incredibly exciting, but you may find that you can’t do it alone. It could be that your circumstances are such that you would not be able to support a mortgage financially on a sole basis, or you may simply prefer to share the mortgage together with your partner and gain mutual support.
Usually, the named parties on a mortgage will be the same as on the Right to Buy paperwork and the property title deeds – and indeed a lender will often expect this – but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. If the Right to Buy application is in your name only, it can still be possible to arrange the mortgage in joint names, if this is something that you both prefer. Depending on the lender, the loan might not be on a completely joint basis, but can be arranged such that your partner is a named sole proprietor, which will work in a very similar way to a guarantor.
If sharing your mortgage responsibility whilst remaining the sole named party on the Right to Buy agreement and the ownership documents is something you want to explore, please give us a call today. We’ll be able to assess your unique circumstances and advise what may be possible for you.
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 yet been right for you to look into buying your own home. Either way, you will be happy to hear that it is possible for many people to still get a Right to Buy mortgage even if they are retired.
Defining the term ‘retired’ is the important factor here, as it can be a very broad term that doesn’t accurately describe your complete circumstances. To many, it implies someone of a mature age, and this can mean that certain lenders will not be able to help you with a mortgage, based on age alone. However, many other lenders operate with more flexible criteria and will consider several other factors aside from age, basing their assessments on the mortgage’s affordability to you in each individual case. Everyone’s situation is unique, and you can still get a Right to Buy mortgage even if you are retired.
The good news is that the longer you have been a tenant in your council home or Housing Association property, the higher the level of discount you will be entitled to – up to a maximum limit of 70% or £84,600 (or £112,800 in the London boroughs), whichever is greater.
Can I get a Right to Buy Mortgage if I am self-employed?
Many people still believe being self-employed means that lenders will see you as too high a risk, and you’ll face an uphill struggle in your efforts to obtain a mortgage. If you’re a self-employed person who now has the chance to purchase your rented public sector home under the Right to Buy scheme, you could be forgiven for thinking it is unlikely to be possible.
However, you might be happy to know that attitudes to the self-employed when it comes to getting a mortgage have changed significantly over the years, in line with the increase in the number of people running their own businesses. Self-employment has many forms, and many lenders are able to make allowances for income that may be less predictable or more difficult to quantify.
As ever, the key to getting a mortgage is affordability, and self-employed people can be assessed by lenders in the same way as anyone in standard employment – looking at income, outgoings, commitments over a period of time and an applicant’s credit history.
As experienced mortgage brokers, with access to over 90 lenders and over 12,000 mortgage products, we know the criteria that each lender uses to assess self-employed applicants, and most importantly how they look at your income. We can help you frame your application in the most favourable light so that your finances stand you in good stead and you enjoy the greatest possibility of success in obtaining your mortgage.
Right to Buy Mortgage Brokers
When looking into financial products of any sort, and especially a mortgage, it’s worth getting expert advice before you commit yourself. At The Mortgage Centres, we know the blanket approach to suitability taken by most mainstream lenders could put people off, but at the same time we know how the discount on your home under the scheme can make a mortgage that much more accessible.
We have specific experience with mortgages for people seeking to own their home under the Right to Buy scheme, and understand how people’s circumstances can vary. The right lender for you will depend on your own individual situation, and we’ll know which one to match you with so you can get the mortgage you need.
To find out what options you might have for a mortgage under the Right to Buy scheme and arrange a free consultation to go over all your circumstances, please call our team on 0330 094 5876, or drop us a line via our Contact form.