If you live in a council house there may come a time when you feel that you are ready to purchase the house and become its owner rather than a tenant. In England, some council house tenants can purchase their council house at a discounted rate if they qualify for the right to buy scheme. Others may be able to buy their council house if the council grants a request for its purchase.
Most people will try to buy their council house via the Right to Buy scheme. To find out whether you qualify for the Right to Buy scheme, visit the government’s website and complete their eligibility checker form. However, as a rough guide, if you have been a public sector tenant for 5 years or more, your council house is your main home and you are a secure tenant it is extremely likely that you will qualify for the scheme. In some cases you may qualify for the Right to Buy if you live in an ex-council home which has been sold on to a new landlord. Your landlord will be able to tell you whether you qualify via this preserved Right to Buy.
Taking advantage of the Right to Buy scheme is simply a matter of you completing an application form, a Right to Buy application form (RTB1 notice), and sending it to your landlord. When you have done this they have to let you know a decision of yes or no within 4 to 8 weeks. The time in which they are obliged to respond within is dependant on how long you have been a tenant in their property. If your landlord decides you cannot buy your council house they will give you a reason for this. If they decide you can buy your council house they will send you an offer of how much they want for the property, the amount of discount you will receive on the property and all other terms of the sale.
Once you have received the offer from your landlord you will have a deadline of 3 months within which to make the decision to accept or reject the offer; so do take time to mull it over. Also should you be unsure about the amount they have valued your property as being worth, you can use these 3 months to question this value and get a revaluation of your home from HMRC. If you decide against the purchase once you have received the offer you can pull out at any time and continue renting the property.