Right to Acquire

6 min read
Right to Acquire describes a scheme where if you're a housing association tenant, you may be able to buy your home at a discount, assuming you and your property meet the eligibility criteria.

Please note:
  • This scheme is not the same as Right to Buy your council property (click for more information); and
  • You can't access this scheme if you're a tenant of a housing co-operative.

This article covers the following matters:

Our mortgage brokers can give you the best advice on getting a Right to Acquire Mortgage (click to organise a FREE consultation).

We can also offer you experienced Right to Acquire Conveyancing Solicitors (click to get a FREE online quote or call us on 0333 344 3234).

What makes a property eligible for Right to Acquire?

In order for your property to be qualify for the scheme, it must either have been:
  • built or bought by a housing association after 31 March 1997 (and funded through a social housing grant provided by the Housing Corporation or local council); or
  • transferred from a local council to a housing association after 31 March 1997
Additionally, your landlord has to be registered with the Homes England and the home you want to buy must also be a self-contained property and your only or main home.

If your home doesn't qualify under the above criteria, your housing association could, if they have a suitable one, offer you a different property to buy instead.

Please note additionally that if your property is designed or adapted for people with special needs or is provided as part of your job (for example, if you are a caretaker), it won't qualify under the scheme, neither will it qualify if you're living in sheltered housing.

Who qualifies for the Right to Acquire?

If you've had a public sector landlord for 3 years, including any of the following:
  • housing associations
  • councils
  • the armed services
  • NHS trusts and foundation trusts
you can apply to buy your housing association home under the scheme.

You can also make a joint application to buy it with someone who shares your tenancy and up to 3 family members who’ve lived with you for the past 12 months (even if they don’t share your tenancy)

You won't be able to use the scheme if any of the following apply:
  • you're in the process of being made bankrupt
  • you've had to leave your home because of a court order
  • you're a council tenant (if this is the case, you should see if you qualify for Right to Buy)
  • you have what's termed a 'Preserved Right to Buy' (this is when you were originally a secure council tenant and the ownership of your home was transferred to another landlord, such as a housing association).

How do you apply for Right to Acquire?

You have to fill out the following (click to download PDF for printing) Right to Acquire application form (officially known as RTA1: tenant's notice of intention to claim the Right to Acquire) and send it to your landlord.

Once they've received and processed your RTA1 form, your housing association has to write to you explaining the following:
  • the terms and conditions of the sale
  • your property's market value
  • what your discount is and the calculation behind it
  • estimates of any service charges you'll be liable to pay
  • any structural problems which the council has knowledge of
Your landlord MUST reply to your request, with a 'yes' or a 'no', within 4 weeks of receiving your completed application form (8 weeks if they’ve been your landlord for less than 3 years). If your landlord says no, they must say why.

There is no right of appeal against a 'no': that is the 'end of the road'.

Should your landlord reply 'yes' they send you an offer, and do this within either:

8 weeks of saying yes if you're buying a freehold property


12 weeks if you're buying a leasehold property

What happens if you do decide to buy your home?

You have 12 weeks to tell your landlord that you still want to buy after you've had their offer.

Should you not reply, your landlord sends you a reminder, called an RTA4. You then have a 'reasonable time' (at least 28 days to reply) after which your landlord sends a final reminder (RTA5). If you don't reply to this, your landlord can drop your application.

You can, however, change your mind at any time and continue to rent as before.

What if you disagree with your landlord's offer?

Contact your landlord within 3 months of receiving your offer and ask for an independent valuation.

This causes HMRC to send a district valuer to decide what your property is worth. When they tell you this figure, you'll then have 12 weeks to either accept this valuation figure or pull out of the sale.

What discounts do you get under the scheme?

Depending on where you live in the UK, you get a discount of between £9,000 and £16,000 on the price of your property. This could be reduced if you've previously used the scheme before or Right to Buy.

Right to Buy Discounts by Location

Click on Table of Discounts to view this information

What happens when you come to sell your Right to Acquire home?

Your previous landlord has right of first refusal on buying your property if you decide to sell it within 10 years of exercising your Right to Acquire.

Your property should be sold at full market value, agreed mutually by your and your previous landlord, but if you can't agree, then a district valuer rules on the selling price (you don't have to pay for this).

Your landlord has 8 weeks to choose whether to buy your home, after that you can sell it to anyone you choose.

Sell within 5 years: lose some or all of your discount

You have to pay back some or all of your discount if you choose to sell up within 5 years of buying your property.

It works like this. You pay back:
  • 100% of the discount if you sell in the first year.
  • 80% of the discount if you sell in the second year.
  • 60% of the discount if you sell in the third year.
  • 40% of the discount if you sell in the fourth year.
  • 20% of the discount if you sell in the fifth year.

Our mortgage brokers can give you the best advice on getting a Right to Acquire Mortgage (click to organise a FREE consultation).

We can also offer you experienced Right to Acquire Conveyancing Solicitors (click to get a FREE online quote or call us on 0333 344 3234).

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