Buying your council home

To apply to buy your council home you must have been a secured council tenant for the last three years. If you were a council tenant when you were transferred to another landlord, like a housing association, you may also have a preserved right to buy.

If you have had any breaks as a tenant, you can still include previous tenancies in this three year total.

You may not be able to buy your council home if:

  • you are in breach of any part of your tenancy
  • your property is in sheltered housing or is specifically suitable for elderly or disabled tenants
  • you have any outstanding possession orders
  • you have any legal problems with debt

Before you apply we recommend that you seek legal advice and visit the government's official Right to Buy website for detailed information.

Valuation of your property and the right to buy discount

When we receive your application, we will assess the condition of your home and value it at the current market value. Any home improvements you have made will not be included in the valuation.

You will receive a discount on the value of your council home. The amount will depend on the type of property and the total time you’ve been a tenant. The longer you have been a tenant the bigger the discount you could get.

The maximum discount you could get is currently £84,000.

Discounts for houses and bungalows

You may be entitled to a discount of 35% on the value of your home if you have held a tenancy between 3 and 5 years.

The discount will increase by 1% for every additional year you have been a tenant, from 6 years up to a maximum of 40 years and 70% discount.

Discounts for flats and maisonettes

You may be entitled to a discount of 50% on the value of your home if you have held a tenancy between 3 and 5 years.

The discount will increase by 2% for every additional year you have been a tenant, from 6 years up to a maximum of 15 years and 70% discount.

Flats and maisonettes are sold on a long lease. Owning the lease gives you the right to live there for the period of your lease and sell it when you wish.

The building and the ground on which the property sits, still belongs to the council.

Lease periods are usually 125 years, but can be shorter.

As well as a mortgage, you as the leaseholder is responsible for paying:

  • the annual ground rent
  • annual service charges
  • any maintenance charges

Before you apply we recommend that you seek legal advice and visit the government's official Right to Buy website for detailed information.

Reporting repairs

Until you have bought your home we still have a duty as your landlord to carry out repairs to your property. However, if a large repair would normally happen as part of a repairs programme it may not be possible to do the work whilst you are applying to buy your home. This is because it may affect the value of the property.

You may therefore need to consider if you wish to buy your home in its present condition or wait for the necessary work to take place before applying.

Once you have bought your home we will no longer be responsible for carrying out repairs to your property.

Report a repair.

How to apply

Complete the government's Right to Buy online application form (RTB1):

Apply to buy your council home

The government's online form tells you what you need to do to complete your application.

You can also get further advice and an application form from our Right to Buy Officer on 01903 737979.

Selling your ex-council property

All properties (freehold and leasehold) sold under the Right to Buy scheme (since 18 January 2005) contain a covenant, which means the owner has to offer the property back to the council if they wish to sell it within 10 years of the original purchase.

The council is not obliged to buy back the property but will consider the following factors:

  1. What money the council has available to buy properties
  2. If there is a need and demand for the type of property being offered and in the area where the property is located.
  3. Whether the purchase represents value for money.
  4. The additional cost of any refurbishment work required to bring the property back up to the government's Decent Homes Standards.
Decent Homes Standards

A decent home is one which is wind and weather tight, warm and has modern facilities. In particular a decent home must:

  • meet the current statutory minimum standard for housing;
  • be in a reasonable state of repair;
  • have reasonable modern facilities; and provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort

You can sell your home to anyone if we do not agree to buy it within 8 weeks.

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Paying back your discount

You’ll have to pay back some or all of the discount you got if you sell your Right to Buy home within 5 years of buying it.

You’ll have to pay back:

  • 100% of the discount within the first year
  • 80% of the discount in the second year
  • 60% of the discount in the third year
  • 40% of the discount in the fourth year
  • 20% of the discount in the fifth year

The amount you pay back depends on the value of your home when you sell it. 

If you are thinking about selling your ex-council house, please email us at neighbourhood.services@arun.gov.uk.