Exercising your right to buy your Council property
Many people decide to exercise their right to buy their Council property, known as 'right to buy'.
If you wish to apply to buy your council house, you need to complete form RTB1 and send it to your landlord (normally the local Council).
Your landlord must accept or decline your application within 4 weeks (or 8 weeks if the landlord has changed within the past 3 years). If your landlord declines your right to buy application, they must give reasons.
If your landlord agrees to sell, they must send you an offer within 8 weeks if you’re buying a freehold property or 12 weeks if you’re buying a leasehold property.
The right to buy offer will include:
The price, with details of how it was calculated
- Your discount, with details of how it was calculated
- Details of the property being sold, including any land
- Estimates of maintenance (service) charges for the first 5 years, if the property is a flat or maisonette
- Details of any known structural problems. For example, the house might be an Airey house or a Livett-Cartwright house
You must confirm to the landlord within 12 weeks of receiving the offer that you still want to buy. If you don’t do so, the landlord will send you a reminder. You must reply to the reminder within 28 days, or the landlord could pull out.
NOTE: You can pull out of the purchase and continue to rent at any time before completion.
If you do not agree with the landlord’s valuation, you need to write to the landlord within 3 months of receiving the offer and request an independent valuation. A district valuer appointed by HM Revenue & Customs will visit the property and value it. You have 12 weeks to accept the district valuer’s figure or pull out.
Choosing a mortgage broker/financial advisor
- Ask friends or colleagues to recommend a mortgage broker or financial advisor or contact your bank or building society directly. They should be able to discuss the affordable options with you and help you choose the best mortgage to suit you.
Considering whether gifted funds are needed from friends or family
Budgeting for costs and fees
- You will need to budget for all the costs and fees relating to your purchase, including your survey fees, mortgage broker’s fees (if any) and legal fees. The Land Registry fee for registering your title will be twice as much as normal, as a new title will be created. If you are buying a flat, your conveyancer will charge a leasehold supplement.
- Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) may be payable depending on the price of the property. See our Stamp Duty Land Tax calculator for guidance on what this would cost.
Choosing and communicating with your conveyancer
- Speak to family, friends and colleagues, to see if they can recommend a good conveyancer. Check online reviews and read what others have to say about their experiences.
- You need to have confidence in your conveyancer. A good conveyancer will ensure that the process is as smooth as possible. To ensure that this happens, you must pass all the documents received from the landlord to your conveyancer as early as possible. The documents will include a TP1 (transfer of part), which you will need to sign. That document records the property transfer, and is dated when the purchase price has changed hands. Your landlord will charge for issuing a duplicate. The process will involve form filling, document signing, telephone calls and emails.
You will be speaking to your conveyancer a lot during the process. Your conveyancer will be able to reassure you and address any concerns that you have.