Right to Buy Mortgages

Getting onto the property ladder is one of modernity’s most difficult prospects. Principally, one of the hardest prerequisites to securing a house is saving up a substantial amount of money so that you can put down an adequate mortgage deposit. Especially in today’s context, it’s easy to see that the time and monetary resources demanded by the housing market are unfeasible for many. The degree of dedication needed from candidates is sometimes unreasonable and, not to mention, the inherent competitiveness of the property landscape can be ruthless.

Thankfully, the Government in the UK has accounted for certain troubles that prospective homeowners have often encountered over the years. That is, by putting in place various schemes which are designed to make it easier for people to get their hands on a property. One such scheme is represented by Right to Buy. Right to Buy mortgages offer a way for select individuals to buy the home they’re residing in outright by way of offering considerable discounts.

As with anything involving large savings, Right to Buy mortgages appear incredible on the surface. However, there are distinct qualifying factors for Right to Buy which must be met if you’re to be eligible for the scheme. Whether you have this option available to you, in addition to whether you should opt for it, is purely dependent on your individual circumstances and personal situation. This can be tricky to discern on your own, particularly while you’re also simultaneously trying to keep up with everything else going on in your life. That’s why we strongly suggest that you hire the services of an expert mortgage broker to thoroughly assess your case before coming to the decision that is geared to benefit you the most. We at the Mortgage Genie have assisted plenty of our UK clients by securing for them a Right to Buy mortgage, all while handling the intrinsic complex paperwork. If you’re interested in saving yourself the stress and worry that comes with getting a mortgage by joining those among our success stories, then be sure to get in touch with us today at 01915809890.

Yet, despite what we can do for you, it’s still advisable that you come to terms with everything you should be aware of concerning Right to Buy mortgages. So that you can fully inform yourself, we’ve put together this piece which goes over all the important details. By reading on, you’ll get to grips with the specifics and have a defined outlook on if Right to Buy is the correct route for you. We will cover:

What is a Right to Buy mortgage?

A Right to Buy Mortgage is a mortgage that is obtained by using the Right to Buy government scheme. The scheme itself was introduced in 1980 and, although there have been slight alterations since then, the core purpose of it remains.

Namely, that Right to Buy is designed in such a way as to provide council house tenants with a means of purchasing their current flat or house outright via a discount. Owing to the obvious benefits implied, Right to Buy is quite a common way for people to get themselves a spot on the housing ladder.

Besides the discounting of the property, Right to Buy mortgages work in much the same way as other regular standard residential mortgage types. Followingly, you can either apply for Right to Buy as an individual or with another person, provided that the joint application includes someone who shares your existing tenancy or is a spouse or civil partner. Up to three family members can submit a joint application, however, you’ll all need to have lived together for at least one year for the application to be seen as valid.

How much is the Right to Buy discount?

The scale of the discount on a property attained through Right to Buy is determined by a variety of aspects including how long you’ve been a tenant with a public sector landlord, the type of the property in question (i.e., a flat or house), the value of your home, if the landlord has spent any money on the property, and where your location is. For the latter, the maximum discount should offer a flexible guideline. As of April 2023, this is £127,940 for those in the boroughs of London, and £96,010 across the rest of England. The figures here will increase each year, relative to growth in the consumer price index (CPI).

If you’re currently residing in a house, then you will be entitled to a discount of 35% of the property’s total value if you’ve lived there for between 3-5 years. This percentage will increase by a further 1% for each additional year of residence, up to a maximum of 70% or the cash maximum available. For those in a flat, you can get a discount of 50% of its total worth if you’ve been in it for between 3-5 years, with this increasing similarly for every additional year up to a maximum of 70%, but by a further 2% instead. The Government has an official Right to Buy discount calculator if you want to work out what discount you may be eligible for.

Can I get a Right to Buy mortgage?

As we mentioned, in order to be eligible for a Right to Buy mortgage there are qualifying factors which you are required to fulfil. For example, you’ll need to be in England for a Right to Buy mortgage since the scheme is no longer accessible in Scotland and Wales. The Northern Ireland Government has an akin scheme, albeit you’ll have had to have been renting a property for at least five years. Either way, your landlord will have to confirm your qualification for Right to Buy, and so if you’re unsure, you can complete the government’s Right to Buy eligibility quiz to find out if you fit the criteria. In essence, the quiz aims to ascertain if:

  • You are buying with the intention of using the house as your main residence.

  • You’ve been living in a council, housing association, or NHS trust property for at least 3-5 years.

  • It’s the only property you use.

  • It’s a self-contained property i.e., doesn’t have shared facilities.

  • Your home isn’t reserved for those who are elderly or disabled.

  • You’ve come to a legal agreement with your public sector landlord.

On the last point, this agreement is vital because your landlord might refuse to sell you the property. For instance, if the property is distinctly suitable for the elderly or disabled, is sheltered housing, is due to be demolished, is on land purchased for developmental reasons, or is in a protected rural area, all of these are reasons why your landlord may not wish to sell you the house. Of course, the reason given by the landlord must be sufficient and you can make an appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal within 56 days if you feel differently towards their response.

Do you need a deposit for a Right to Buy mortgage?

The singular advantage of Right to Buy mortgages, and the primary reason why the scheme has aided so many low-income households, is that you often won’t need to put forward a mortgage deposit. Reason being, that most lenders will accept a Right to Buy discount as your deposit. In practice, if you were to purchase a property worth £150,000 with a 35% discount of £52,500, then a lender may be willing to offer you a mortgage on the leftover £97,500.

Having said this, some lenders do still ask for an up-front sum for a Right to Buy mortgage which typically equates to between 5-10% of the property’s total value, notwithstanding the discount. This is why it’s so integral to find a lender who is accustomed to your personal situation and financial circumstances; the expense in hiring a mortgage broker for this purpose balances itself out in the form of the money you inevitably end up saving. This being said, it’s regarded as best practice to have at least some money set aside to account for the extra fees and charges which are associated with every mortgage package.

Can I get a Right to Buy mortgage with bad credit?

Simply answered, yes, you can get a Right to Buy mortgage if you have bad credit. However, it will be harder. This is because lenders need to guarantee that you are capable of comfortably making your monthly mortgage repayments. And, the universal way they do this is by carrying out a hard credit check, as well as an affordability check. The former will reveal the quality of your credit score, where a ‘Good’, ‘Excellent’, ‘Fair’, or ‘Poor’ score provides an indication of how responsibly you handle your finances. Having bad credit implies that you have a low credit score, and so are a ‘high-risk’ candidate. This will make lenders more likely to reject your mortgage application.

Moreover, another important part of your eligibility assessment will be a lender’s looking to see if you’ve ever had other related financial issues such as failures to meet payday loans, court county judgements (CCJs), IVAs, or if you have ever filed for bankruptcy in the past. The presence of any of these will categorically impress a negative influence onto your application, consequently decreasing your chances of being accepted. Yet, the severity of such instances is reduced if they occurred over six years ago, and they do not rule you out as a candidate altogether. The crux is finding a lender appropriate to your unique personal circumstances and financial situation. This is where having a mortgage broker becomes essential. Afterwards, you can fill in an RTB1 Right to Buy application form and send it to your landlord to begin the application process, where they’ll then reply back within four weeks with a Section 125 Notice if they’re happy to sell.

It’s worth noting that hard credit checks leave a mark on your report. As such, if you want to get an idea of your current eligibility before you apply for a mortgage, you can use our free credit check tool (£14.99 per month after the free 30-day trial). Using it will help you to seek out any possible mistakes or fraudulent activity on your profile, so that you can deal with such problems as soon as possible. The trial and subscription can be cancelled at any time.

Can I sell my Right to Buy home?

You can sell a Right to Buy home at any time, but if you decide to sell within the first five years of your purchase, then you will have to pay back some, or all, of the discount you received. If you choose to sell within the first year of buying, you will have to pay back the whole discount, though this proportion is reduced every year subsequent up to five years.

So, selling within the second year of ownership entails you paying back 80% of the discount, the third year means 60%, the fourth means 40%, and the fifth means a 20% payback. On top of this, even if the value of your home increases, the payback percentage will stay the same and be adjusted accordingly. If you sell the property after five years, you are not obliged to pay any of the discount back. Therefore, it’s prudent to bear this in mind if you are thinking of selling in the future. If you do come to sell in the first 10 years of ownership, then you are required to offer the property to your landlord at full market value. If they do not accept this offer within eight weeks, you are able to put the property onto the open market where you can then sell it as normal.

We at The Mortgage Genie have a comprehensive understanding on how to get a mortgage and are dedicated to helping people secure loans of all types, including those through the Right to Buy scheme. We hope that this article has answered all of the questions you may have had surrounding Right to Buy mortgages and given you a clearer perspective.

Every day we help a growing number of people to achieve housing happiness by finding a mortgage product that’s tailored to their personal situation and financial circumstances, all while guiding them through each step of the process. If you’re in need of a team of expert mortgage brokers, then be sure to contact us at 01915809890 and we’ll set you on the way to owning your dream property! And why not see how much you could borrow up to today by using our mortgage calculator?

Company Information

The Mortgage Genie Limited is Registered in England and Wales with Company Number 9803176. The Mortgage Genie Limited is an Appointed Representative of PRIMIS Mortgage Network, a trading name of First Complete Ltd. First Complete Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Most Buy-to-Let Mortgages are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The guidance contained within this website is subject to the UK regulatory regime and is therefore primarily targeted at consumers based in the UK.


Depending on the complexity of your mortgage there may be a fee for our mortgage advice and arrangement service, which will be discussed and agreed before you make a mortgage application. A typical fee is £293 and will never be more than 1% of the mortgage amount.