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Right to Acquire / Social HomeBuy

Right to Acquire

Most Housing Association tenants may have the right to buy their home at a discount under the Right to Acquire.

Properties that qualify must:

  • Be self-contained

  • Be your only or main home

  • Have been built or bought by a housing association after 1 April 1997, or transferred from a council to a housing association after 1 April 1997

Landlords (in this case Inquilab) must be registered with the Homes and Communities Agency.

Joint applications

You can make a joint application to buy your Inquilab home with:

  • Someone who shares your tenancy

  • Up to three family members who have lived with you for the past 12 months (even if they don’t share your tenancy)

You don’t qualify for the right to purchase your Inquilab home if:

  • You are being made bankrupt

  • A court has ordered you to leave your home

Discounts

We will tell you the discount you will get on the price of your property when you apply to buy your home. It will be between £9,000 and £16,000, depending on where you live.

The discount might be reduced if you have used the Right to Acquire or Right to Buy before. 

Applying to buy your Housing Association home

To apply to buy your Housing Association home you must fill in the Right to Acquire enquiry form which can be downloaded from our online portal or alternatively you can fill out an RTA1 application form and send it to us.

We must say yes or no within four weeks of getting your application or eight weeks if we have been your landlord for less than five years. If we say no, we must explain why. You cannot appeal against our decision.

If we agree to sell, we will send you an offer. We must do this within eight weeks of saying yes if you are buying a freehold property, or 12 weeks if it is a leasehold property.

We might offer you the choice of buying your home or another empty one we own. You don’t have to accept the other property and we don’t have to offer you one.

Our offer

If we agree to sell, our offer will tell you:

  • The price we think you should pay for the property and how it was worked out

  • Your discount and how it was worked out

  • A description of the property and any land included in the price

  • Our estimate of any service charges (for a flat or maisonette) for the first five years

  • Any known problems with the property’s structure, such as subsidence

Deciding to buy

Once you get our offer, you have 12 weeks to tell us whether you still want to buy.

If you do not reply, we will send you a reminder called an ‘RTA4’. You’ll have at least 28 days to reply. If you do not reply, we will send a final reminder called an ‘RTA5’. If you don’t reply to that, we can drop your application.

You can pull out of the sale and continue to rent at any time.

If you disagree with our offer

If you disagree with our offer, contact us and explain why.

If you think we have set your home’s market value too high, you must write to us within three months of getting the offer and ask for an independent valuation.

A district valuer from HM Revenue & Customs will visit your home and decide how much it is worth. You will then have 12 weeks to accept their valuation or pull out of the sale.

Selling your home

If you sell your home within 10 years of buying it using the Right to Acquire, you must first offer it to your old landlord.

The property should be sold at the full market price agreed between you and the landlord. If you cannot agree, a district valuer will say how much your home is worth and set the price. You must pay 50% of their valuation fee with the landlord covering the remaining 50%.

If the landlord doesn’t agree to buy your home within eight weeks, you can sell it to anyone.

Paying back your discount

If you sell your home within five years of buying it, you’ll have to pay back some or all the discount you got.

If you sell within the first year, you’ll have to pay back all the discount. The amount you pay back depends on the value of your home when you sell it. This means If you recieved a discount of £16,000 you will need to repay the entire £16,000.

If you sell after the first year, the total amount you pay back reduces.

You pay back:

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

Social HomeBuy

Social HomeBuy is a grant funded scheme which allows some tenants to buy their current home with the assistance of a discount of up to £16,000.

This is a voluntary scheme so you do not have the right to buy your home using this scheme. We have limited funds available for this scheme and will offer the funding on a first-come, first-served basis to qualifying tenants for if we have discount money available.

If you can’t afford to buy outright, you will be able to part buy shares from 25% and you will pay a discounted market rent on the remaining share calculated on the value of your home. You will be responsible for the upkeep of your home when you buy, even if you only buy a share. If you buy a flat, this will mean you will become responsible for a monthly service charge and the annual ground rent.

You can only apply for Social HomeBuy if you are an assured or secure tenant. If you became a tenant after 18th January 2005 you must have been a tenant for at least five years.

Your application will be rejected automatically if any of the following apply:

  • If you have breached your tenancy agreement in the last two years

  • If you are subject to a possession order due to rent arrears or anti-social behaviour

  • If your rent account is not clear or if you have been in rent arrears during the last six months

  • If you own another property and / or have a mortgage on another property

You must live in a home that is suitable for sale. We cannot offer you Social HomeBuy if you live in shared accommodation or homes specifically for the elderly for example.

When you apply, we will check whether your home is suitable as part of the eligibility assessment.

The maximum discount available in our operating area ranges from £11,000 up to £16,000. If you buy a share in your property, the discount will be calculated at the same percentage as the share you are buying.

For example: If the full discount is £16,000, you can expect to receive the following discounts if you buy a share:

25% – £4,000

50% – £8,000

75% – £12,000

You are not allowed to sublet the property within the first 5 years of ownership. If you choose to sell your home within the initial 5 years of the original purchase the discount you receive will be repayable. The discount is repayable if the property is sold or the share assigned within 5 years from the date of initial purchase.

The amount due to be repaid is calculated as a percentage of the resale value, equivalent to the percentage of the discount when compared to the purchase price and reduced by a fifth each year.  

The amount due is as follows: 

  • Sale within 1 year, repay an amount equal to the % that the discount bore to the purchase price

  • Sale within 2 years and repay 80% of the amount calculated as above

  • Sale within year 3 and repay 60% of the amount calculated as above

  • Sale within year 4 and repay 40% as calculated above

  • Sale within year 5 and repay 20% of the amount calculated above

No repayment required after year 5.

Social HomeBuy is not a statutory scheme and is offered only to eligible applicants when funding is available.

Summary of Right to Acquire vs Social HomeBuy

Right to Acquire

  • Aimed to help most HA tenants to buy their home at a discount
  • Full Ownership can only apply for RTA if the tenant has had a public-sector landlord for a minimum 3 years
  • The property must be either a self-contained property or your only or main home
  • Applies to tenants of Housing Associations, the Armed Services, NHS trusts and Foundation trusts
  • The property must either have been built by a HA after 31 March 1997 and funded through a social housing grant provided by the HC or LA, or transferred from a LA to a HA after 31 March 1997
  • The maximum discount available varies from £9,000 to £16,000 depending on the location of the property
  • The landlord of the property must be registered with HCA
  • Accepts Joint applications with whom you share a tenancy with or with up to 3 family members who have lived with you for the past 12 months
  • You do not qualify for RTA if you’re being made bankrupt, a court has ordered you to leave your home, you’re a council tenant or you have ‘Preserved RTB’

Social HomeBuy

  • Aimed to help households earning up to £60,000 per annum
  • Shared Ownership – if for a new build HomeBuy, the purchaser must by at least 25% of a newly built home, and pay rent on the remainder
  • HCA subsidises HA’s and other providers to hold the remaining share
  • The rent charged by HA’s and other providers is capped to 3% of the value of the unsold share, but it in practice it is typically set at 2.75%
  • The maximum discount available varies from £9,000 to £16,000, depending on the location of the property
  • Social HomeBuy is open to those who are existing tenants of participating Housing Associations and Local Authorities
  • Scheme is put into place to help those who don’t qualify for RTB or RTA or who are not currently able to buy their home outright