Right to Buy

The Right to Buy is aimed at secure tenants of Local Authorities and Registered Social Landlords (RSLs). You could receive a discount on the cost of buying your home of up to a maximum of £78,600 based on the amount of time that you have been a tenant.

Any land let together with your home (for example, gardens and garages) will usually be treated as part of your home.

To find out if you are eligible and get an estimated purchase price, please contact us and speak to the Home Ownership Service Team - Right to Buy.

Right to Buy discount policy

If you have bought your home under the Right to Buy (RTB) scheme, you can usually sell it whenever you like. But if you wish to sell within the discount repayment period (within five years of purchase) then you will usually have to repay some or all of the discount.

Under very exceptional circumstances the Council may consider waiving some or all of the RTB discount repayable. The Council's policy and procedure for use of its discretionary powers is available for download on the right.

Discount repayment is triggered from the date that you enter into the agreement. So, for example, if you enter into such an agreement before you have bought the property or during the first year after buying, you will have to repay the full amount of discount you received.

First Right of Refusal

If you purchase your home under the Right to buy scheme and you wish to resell or dispose of it within 10 years, you will have to offer it back to the Council – for further information please contact us.

Who has the right to buy

Secure tenants may be able to purchase their existing dwelling if they have already been, for a minimum of 3 complete years, secure tenants of a Local Authority.

House Flat
3, 4 and 5 years - 35% 3, 4 and 5 years - 50%
6 years - 36% 6 years - 52%
7 years - 37% 7 years - 54%
Discount will continue to increase by 1% for every complete year of tenancy, up to a maximum 40 years - 70% Discount will continue to increase by 2% for every complete year of tenancy, up to a maximum of 15 years - 70%

Please note that although 70% is the maximum percentage discount allowed, the actual maximum monetary amount of discount that you will receive is currently capped at £78,600 – therefore this is the most discount you will currently receive - The discount is now increased each April, by the CPI figure. We are notified of this figure each year by the Government office. New discount amounts will only apply to applications received after the relevant date.

Periods spent as a tenant of a Development Corporation, Commission for New Towns or Housing Associations may also in certain circumstances be counted. Periods of time spent with other public bodies may also be counted. For a list of these please see the back page of the RTB1 application form.

You will only be able to purchase under the scheme if your house or flat is your only home and is self-contained.

You cannot buy your home if a court makes a possession order, which says that you must leave your home. Neither can you buy your home if you are an undischarged bankrupt, have a bankruptcy petition pending against you, or have made an arrangement with creditors (people you owe money to) and you still owe them money.

Any tenant, or family member, with a court order for anti-social behaviour against them will not be eligible for the Right to Buy.

To find out how to apply and to download a guidance booklet please visit the Community and local Government website.

How you may share the right to buy

You may share the Right to Buy with someone who is a joint tenant with you or you may be able to exercise the Right to Buy jointly with members of your family who have lived with you for the past 12 months prior to an application being submitted.

Each member of the tenant's family (excluding joint tenants) wishing to share the Right to Buy must submit a statutory declaration, drawn up by a solicitor, stating their age, their relationship to the tenant and details of their length of residence with the tenants. They may also be required to provide additional proof of residency.

Common law spouses are regarded as a member of the tenant's family and may be eligible but would be required to submit a statutory declaration on the lines mentioned above. If you require further clarification please contact the Right to Buy Officer.

Applying to buy your home

If you would like an application form for the Right to Buy your home or for help filling out the form please contact the Home Ownership Services team - Right to Buy on 01438 242666 .

You must make your own arrangements for financing the purchase of the property. We do not provide mortgage facilities. For Free independent unbiased information about mortgages visit the Money Advice Service website.

If you wish to exercise your Right to Buy, it is recommended that you seek independent legal advice to help with the legal process of buying a home.

Please contact the Home Ownership Services team Right to Buy Officer on 01438 242666 if you would like more information about buying, including your discount entitlement and an estimate of the market value of your home.

For more information please visit the Community and Local Government website.

Please note: the following documents should be provided with a Right to Buy Application (Form RTB 1)

  • 1 form of photo ID for each applicant.
  • 1 recent proof of residency (not more than 3 months old) from your current address e.g. bank statement, utilities bill for each applicant. If you bring in the original documents, we can arrange to take copies and give you back your documents.
  • Permission to check information form - click the link to download a copy.
  • RTB supplementary form - click the link to download a copy.

Guide valuation

If you are thinking of buying you can contact the Home Ownership Service Team - Right to Buy, for an estimated guide valuation before you request an application. We will  advise you if you are eligible and provide you with a guide valuation to help you decide if you can afford to buy your home.

Once you have applied to buy your home

Once you have applied for the right to buy, your property will be valued in its existing state of repair and the offer to sell will be based on this valuation figure.
The Council will not carry out any works other than emergency or essential works (generally this means any works except for work required by law, to keep the property safe and secure, with heating and hot water and weather-tight) to your property while you are in the process of purchasing under the Right to Buy; as any improvements or repairs after that date would affect the valuation.

If you have submitted a Right to Buy application you will be taken out of any programme for improvements to your property.

Once we receive your Right to Buy Application Form (RTB1) we will admit or deny the application within 4 weeks of receiving it: However, if we need to make residential checks outside Stevenage, we will reply within 8 weeks.

We will send you an offer notice setting out the value of the property and the amount of your discount within 8 weeks of accepting your purchase application if you are buying a house, or within 12 weeks if you are buying a flat.

Who will retain the deeds if you buy your home

We do not retain the deeds where a property has been sold under the Right to Buy scheme. If you have bought your property with a mortgage or loan, the deeds will be retained by your lender.

Your title deeds are important documents. If you hold the deeds to your property yourself, you should ensure that they are kept in a secure place.

Further Information

For further information please contact the Home Ownership Service Team - Right to Buy and please refer to the Communities and Local Government guides ‘Your right to buy your home’ and if your buying a flat please see the guide ‘Thinking of buying your council flat'.

Warning - Deferred sale agreements and the Right to Buy

Some companies offer tenants money up front in a deal, under which the company ends up owning the property - this is known as a deferred resale agreement. This is good for the company, which can charge a higher rent than the local authority could when it let the property. But it is not always good for tenants, because the money they get may not be enough to buy another home.

Some tenants have found themselves homeless after agreeing to such deals. Also, since 18 January 2005, entering into a deferred resale agreement triggers the repayment of discount at the time that the agreement is entered into, not the time at which the ownership of the
property is transferred.

If you are aware of a deferred sale agreement being entered into, we would like to hear from you, so that we may investigate any possible fraud.

If you would like more information about RTB and deferred sale agreements you can contact the Home ownership team on 01438 242666.