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Buying Your Council House

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 13 Oct 2021 | comments*Discuss

Many of us live in council houses and have done for many years and as time goes by we might want to consider buying a home depending on how our circumstances have changed. To this end many families are now considering their rights to buy the council houses in which they live as these are often much cheaper than other houses to buy and in the long term it means they do not have to move or have the hassle of searching for somewhere else to live.

Can I Buy My Council House?

The answer to this is yes you can; the Right to Buy allows most council tenants to buy their council home at a discount. However, there are different rules for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

If I Buy My Council House Will It Be Cheaper?

Most certainly but you need to check with your local authority before making any definite moves to buy your property. The current discounts offered are; 35% if you’ve been a public sector housing tenant and 50% if you have been a tenant of a flat, for between 3 and 5 years. After 5 years, the discount goes up by 1% for every extra year you’ve been a public sector housing tenant (2% flat), up to a maximum of 70%. However, you’ll usually have to repay some or all your discount if you sell your home within 5 years.

How Do I Exercise My Right to Buy?

First off you should contact your local authority and make arrangements to speak with the housing officer who will give you all the details of how to go about buying your home. The local authority will tell you once you have a decision as to exactly how much they are asking for your property. You will have an allotted period of time to set everything in motion and it is recommended that you have a solicitor already prepared to assist you in purchasing your property.

You should be aware however that there are certain conditions attached to you buying your home.

Conditions laid down by the Local Council

Your local council will include certain clauses into any contract you enter into with them, the main one being that if you wish to sell the property within ten years of purchasing it from them that they are given first refusal. In other words you cannot sell the property to anyone other than the council within ten years of buying the house. This may sound limiting but the likelihood is you won’t want to sell your house within that time scale anyway given that most individuals who buy their council homes have lived in them for a long period of time already.

Can My Local Council Refuse to Sell Me my Council House?

Sadly yes they can and this is normally for reasons of debt or bankruptcy. If you have been declared bankrupt or are about to be declared bankrupt then the local authority may refuse to sell the property to you on the basis that you are a high risk. This can sometimes lead to a refusal for a mortgage and therefore can leave the council in the throes of a sale that cannot be completed. Likewise if you have had court proceedings instigated against you at another property ordering you to leave the local authority can refuse to sell the house to you.

You have three months from the time you enter into the buying of a house to complete the sale, if you have not completed by this time the local authority can refuse to sell you the property and pull out of any negotiations. Unfortunately that is their right just as it is yours. Once the three month period has expired the local authority can either give you more time to make the relevant arrangements or they can simply decide to negate any offers of purchase prices or discounts. You should be aware that if this is the case then the period in which you were eligible for discount can be returned to zero and you will have to wait another five years to try again.

What to Do First

Before entering into any firm agreements you should speak to your housing officer and find out from them how much the council would reasonably expect for the house you currently occupy. At this point you can then apply for a mortgage; there are many organisations specialising in mortgages for right-to-buy tenants and they can be found in your local Yellow Pages or business directory.

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Hi I just want to know can I buy my council flat with cash after discount please kindly let me know thsnkyou
Zahida - 13-Oct-21 @ 7:15 AM
Hello can I ask how much 5 Millmeadow Moffat DG10 9BL would cost to buy from the Council
Benny - 10-Jun-21 @ 10:40 PM
Hi, I am looking at doing a mural exchange into a council property that I am hoping to buy. I am just wondering are council houses valued cheaper than average market value. I have looked at other properties that have sold in the same postcode and they are a little out of my budget after my discounts have been applied hence why I'm wondering if the council value their properties any cheaper than say your neighbour who is privately selling. Thank you.
Jmitch - 9-Mar-21 @ 10:32 AM
Hi. Wonder if anyone can help. My dad has stayed in the same council house in Scotland with my mum for over 39 years. She passed away last year and I am now in the position I’ll have to move in with him to care for him. I’ll have to sell my home and would like to purchase his home for us both. Is there anyway in Scotland you can still buy a council house?
Hayley - 29-Sep-20 @ 5:08 PM
Mum recently passed away, I've lived there since 1976 would I get a discount if I opted to buy the house from the council.
Pete - 12-Jul-20 @ 7:24 PM
Hi, we are living in council bungalow for 9 years. This year we applied to buy it, have filled in application form, however our application was declined by council due bungalow was built for elderly people and not eligible for sale. If we are not entitle to buy this property, are we have a right to buy another property of council please?
Dali - 4-Jul-20 @ 9:26 AM
My husband and i are living in council bungaliw for 9 years. We have filled in application form to buy this property, however council has decline our application due to bungalow was built for elderly people therefore we cannot buy it. In this case can we buy another property of council please?
Dali - 4-Jul-20 @ 9:23 AM
Hi There, My Name is James and I am a Mortgage Adviser who takes great pride in providing right to buy mortgages. If you have any questions regarding buying your home you can find me on Facebook "mortgages by James" where my contact details are for any enquiries.
Mortgages By James - 6-Jan-20 @ 8:53 AM
Hi Im just after some advice me and my partner and our 3 kids live with my partners mum in her council house who has just been offered a bungalow on the bidding system so she can downsize from a 4 bed to a 2 bed. We are also on the bidding system and was told they would move us first before my partners mum got offered anywhere but that’s obviously not the case now so what will happen to us after my partners mum moves out ??
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Tracy Thompson - 26-Aug-19 @ 11:58 PM
How long do I have to live in my council house after getting a mortgage before I can rent it out.
Niss - 28-Jul-19 @ 4:53 PM
Hello could some one help me my partner as lived with he's mum and dad most of he's life but he had to move out do to a family member and my partner wants to by his mum and dad's council home he's mum and dad have lived there years many years but my partner's sister dose not want my partner to by the house what can we do my partner lived with he's mum and dad over 25 to 30 years dose he have a right to by
Holly - 17-Jul-19 @ 11:56 AM
Hi, I'm not a council tenant and live in my own mortgaged property. Is there a way of buying another property from the council?
Sunny - 5-Jul-19 @ 8:45 PM
Me and my husband want to buy council house for my dad as he's leaving in this property from last 40 years but we not on the tenancy?...can we still buy that property for him or behalf of my dad?
Uzz - 6-Jun-19 @ 3:57 AM
I currently have a mortgage and I'm looking to rent my property, move in with my mum who has lived in her council house for 20 years. Would I be able to be a named tenant to then help my mum purchase her property as she cannot do it on her own?
Byz - 31-May-19 @ 9:08 PM
My mum has been a council tenant for 50 years and I want to keep the property in our family 'my mums 71 and it's my list time buying a house 'I currently live in a rented house paying 550 PM 'would I be able to purchase my mums house in my name with the percentage off under my mums name or do I get my mum to buy the house and I settle the money with her .
Dazza - 25-May-19 @ 5:12 PM
JOHN - 3-May-19 @ 8:23 AM
When Margaret Thatcher set out her Right To Buy Policy and many tenants realised they could make a quick buck, no one could fore see that 40 years down the linesocial housing would be in such decline. All the best houses are now bought up causing "sink estates" in many areas.Unscrupulous deals between businesses and tenants goes unchallenged.More and more people become homeless because private renting is too expensive, and they want to take up more green belt to build more social housing on.In another hundred years our Green and Pleasant Land will have disappeared, but HEY don't worry you will at least own your own house!!
Ellie - 18-Apr-19 @ 7:46 PM
Me and my husband want to buy our council house but hes not on the tenancy?...can we still buy as hes the main earner as joint application?
Lisa - 13-Apr-19 @ 8:23 PM
Hi we live in our housing association house , 4 bed since 1995, we have put into buy it after hearing on tv and other adds that the government was giving you the right to buy your home . We ticked all the boxes , no debt no bankruptcy both work full time with good pay but we got knocked back as they ( the housing society) are only releasing houses from 1997. Where does this leave us now ? Do we just leave ? Do we get any discount to take with us as we are not council ? We was in a council flat for 2 year then a 3 bed council house for 5 year before exchanging to a housing association but we don’t want to just give up and leave , is there anything we can do ?
Bopper - 27-Mar-19 @ 10:14 PM
I've been a Council tenant for 19yrs.My house is estimated at £100,000 What would my discount be? Plus, please explain 'First Time Buyers' Pros and Cons. Thanks
J - 3-Feb-19 @ 12:44 PM
Hi, My grandpa has rented a council house for 51 years and my house as been a big part of the family. It's a semi detached 3 bed house near a cemetery in Manchester. At the moment I am 18 therefore not read to buy but in the future would like to buy it with my grandads permission. My grandad and auntie Alison with downsyndrome lives their and which in the future I will be their carers. My career path is promising and in the mean time will be saving. I would really like to know how do i buy a property, how much I should be earning by that point, will there be a discounted price and how much potentially my house could be worth. I have no idea what I'm getting myself into but would like to be prepared as possible. Thankyou in advance
Edith - 28-Nov-18 @ 10:59 AM
My mum has lived in her council house for over 10 years how do Inherit it of her if I’m not on the agreement but both my brothers live there
Eddy Morley - 19-Nov-18 @ 11:31 PM
I’ve recieved my offer which is fair with my discount taken off but my building survey has highlighted some expensive issues. Can I ask the council to reduce their offer?
Viv - 5-Oct-18 @ 12:46 PM
I would like too know if I can buy my council house. I’m an ex serviceman of 7 years and work full time?
Muller - 24-Sep-18 @ 8:06 PM
@Will - yes she can. There is nothing to say she has to have a mortgage.
TomB - 17-Aug-18 @ 12:57 PM
My mum has been received inheritance and is wanting to buy her council house of 25 years could she buy it outright without Getting a mortgage.
Will - 24-Jul-18 @ 1:27 PM
I have lived in a council house for 10 years and have now been offered a house in a housing association but if I accept it will I lose my right to buy discount?
J - 5-Jun-18 @ 6:58 PM
Av had tenancy for 37years how much would I pay to buy it outrite
Fozzy - 26-Feb-18 @ 12:37 AM
Steve - Your Question:
I would like to enquire about buyin my council house

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here, which should tell you all you need to know.
AffordableHomeAdvice - 19-Jan-18 @ 2:18 PM
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