The Right to Buy scheme was set up in order to help public-sector tenants purchase their homes, in order to get themselves onto the property ladder.

It allows people who have been tenants in a council property in England and Wales for at least three years to purchase the home they rent, at a discount. At the time of writing, figures show that around 1.8 million social tenants in England have used it to purchase their council home.

The Right to Buy scheme has been gradually extended over the course of its existence, in order to give more people the opportunity to become homeowners. The scheme aims to encourage council tenants to stay in the local area and take pride in their community.

On 01 August 2016, the Right to Buy scheme ended in Scotland.

What discount do you qualify for?

At the time of writing If you have lived in the house for between three years and five years, you can receive a 35 per cent discount, or a 50 per cent discount if it is a flat.

If you have lived there for six years or more however, you can receive a further one per cent discount for each year. This is up to a maximum of 70 per cent, or the cash maximum of £77,900 (£103,900 in London), whichever comes first. For flats, the discount rises two per cent for each year, up to the same maximum values.

Joint applications

Provided that both persons are eligible to be part of the scheme, it is possible for you to make a joint application with another person. This means that you can combine the application with another person, usually your spouse or civil partner, but it can be anyone who shares the tenancy with you.

You can submit an application with up to three of your family members, so long as they have lived with you for the last 12 months, the property is their main home and they are over 18 years old.

Rural property

It is likely that there may be greater restrictions placed on the purchase of properties that are located in a national park, an area of outstanding natural beauty, or an area that is deemed rural for
Right to Buy by the government.

These restrictions may include only being allowed to sell your home to a person who has lived or worked in the area for at least three years, or offering the property back to the landlord if it is resold within ten years.

When you make your application to be a part of the scheme, your landlord will notify you if there are any rural restrictions placed on the property in question.

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