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Getting a Right To Buy Mortgage to Buy Your Council House

Getting a mortgage on your council house? Find the right advice on the Right to Buy scheme here.

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  • Getting a Right To Buy Mortgage to Buy Your Council House

We get countless enquiries from council property tenants who are hoping to purchase their home through the government’s Right to Buy (RTB) scheme.

Although buying  through this initiative can be very attractive, it’s important to seek specialist advice before going ahead with any house purchase, so read on to find out more about RTB mortgages, or better yet, make an enquiry to speak with an expert on this topic.

Our comprehensive guide to Right to Buy mortgages in the UK covers the following topics…

Right to Buy mortgages explained: What are they and how do they work?

The Right to Buy is a government mortgages scheme which enables council tenants in England to buy their home, sometimes at a significant discount, and even without a deposit as many providers allow borrowers to put their discount towards the purchase price.

The mortgage itself will be subject to the usual affordability and eligibility checks and the discount you will receive can vary based on factors including the property type (i.e. whether it’s a house or a flat) as well as its location and value at the time of the application.If you’re hoping to obtain a mortgage for your council house, get in touch and the advisors we work with will determine whether you’re eligible for the Right to Buy scheme and connect you to the best mortgage lender based on your needs and circumstances.

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Can I get a Right to Buy mortgage?

Right to Buy council house mortgages are available to council tenants if the following applies..

Right to Buy mortgage eligibility criteria

  • The property is their only or main residence
  • It is self-contained (the tenant doesn’t share facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens with other people outside of their household)
  • They are a secure tenant (i.e. there is a legal contract between them and a landlord)
  • They’ve had a public sector landlord for three years (not necessarily 3 years running)
  • They are based in England (Wales and Northern Ireland have separate schemes and the Scottish equivalent of Right to Buy has now been abolished)

What else impacts my eligibility for council house mortgages?

Being able to fund the purchase, is also essential (of course!). Although getting a Right to Buy mortgage for a council house is case of meeting the criteria in the section above, the mortgage lender will also want you to meet their affordability and eligibility requirements, so factors including your income and credit rating may be relevant.

You will be offered a mortgage based on x4.5, x5 or sometimes even up to x6 your salary in the right circumstances, before the RTB discount is applied, and a specialist lender may be required if any of the following applies to you…

  • You have bad credit: Specialist lenders may consider you application based on the age and severity of the credit issue. For instance, it may be possible to get a Right to Buy mortgage with debt consolidation on your file if the issue is several years old.
  • You are retired: Some mortgage lenders have a Right to Buy age limit of 75, but others go up to 85 and a minority lend to borrowers even older than this, as long as they are confident they can keep on top of their payments during retirement
  • You are self-employed: A specialist lender may be more flexible if your income is non-standard, offering you a deal which takes regular overtime, bonuses and commission into account, for instance. Some mainstream lenders offer less favourable rates to self-employed borrowers or turn them away altogether.
  • The property has ‘non-standard’ construction: Some of England’s unique council properties (a small minority of this type of housing stock) may have elements of non-standard construction such as thatched roofs and timber frames. A specialist lender may offer you more favourable rates as some providers consider non-standard construction properties higher risk.

If you’re after a mortgage to buy a council house and are concerned you might be turned away because any of the above applies to you, get in touch and the advisors we work with will connect you with the provider best positioned to offer you an attractive deal.

How much Right to Buy discount can I get?

Mortgages for Right to Buy-eligible tenants can come with varying levels of discount and the amount you will receive can depend on the following factors…

How long you’ve lived in the property for

If you’re buying a council house via a Right to Buy mortgage and have lived in it for 3-5 years, you will be eligible for a 35% discount on its market value. After five years, the discount will increase by 1% for every extra year you’ve been a public sector tenant.

The table below illustrates how much discount you would be entitled to when buying a house with a value of £100,000…

House with a value of £100,000


Percentage discount

Discount applied

Price you pay

3 – 5 years




6 years




7 years




8 years




9 years




10 years




Whether you’re buying a house or a flat

If you’re getting a mortgage for a council flat through Right to Buy, the discount you will qualify for will be different. If you’ve been a public sector tenant in this type of property for 3-5 years, the discount will be 50%. After five years, it will increase by 2% each extra year.

The table below illustrates how much discount you would be entitled to when buying a flat with a value of £100,000…

Flat with a value of £100,000


Percentage discount

Discount applied

Price you pay

3- 5 years




6 years




7 years




8 years




9 years




10 years




The value of your home

The maximum discount Right to Buy borrowers are eligible for in most of England is £80,900 (£108,000 in London), so for houses and flats of a certain value, the discount is capped. This is also the case for tenants who have lived in their property for a specific amount of time.

Whether your landlord has spent any money on the property

If your landlord has invested any money into your council property, the discount you’re eligible for will likely be affected. Moreover, if the amount they’ve spent on maintenance or home improvements exceeds the property’s value, you won’t be entitled to any discount.

How to calculate your Right to Buy discount

If you’re planning to buy a council house with a Right to Buy mortgage, you can work out how much discount you will be eligible for with the official Right to Buy calculator. However, the advisors we work with can do this for you and connect you with the best mortgage lender for someone with your needs and circumstances if you make an enquiry.

How do I go about getting a mortgage to buy my council house with Right to Buy?

Customers often ask us how do I get a mortgage to buy my council house with Right to Buy?” The first step of the application is filling out an RTB1 application form, which can be found on the scheme’s official website here.

If you’re unsure about anything on this document, or any other aspect of the application process, get in touch. The advisors we work with can walk you through it and connect you with the right lender.

Seeking advice from a broker with access to the entire market is the best way to kickstart your Right to Buy mortgage application. Not only can they talk you through the process and work out how much discount you qualify for, they can also connect you with the lender best positioned to offer you favourable mortgage rates based on your needs and circumstances.

Right to Buy mortgage FAQ

Here, you will find the answers to the questions we most frequently hear about getting a mortgage for a council house with Right to Buy in 2019.

Can you get a council house if your name is already on a mortgage?

You wouldn’t be able to buy a council house via Right to Buy if your name is already on a mortgage, as the scheme is exclusively for properties that are your main and only home. However, you would be free to apply for a mortgage on a second home after you’ve purchased a council house through the RTB scheme and the lender is unlikely to treat your application any differently to any other second-home buyer.

Get in touch and the advisors we work with will outline all of your options for second home purchases and connect you with the right lender.

How easy is it to get a Right to Buy mortgage?

Getting a mortgage on a council house can be  easier through the Right to Buy scheme when compared to buying properties on the open market, as the discounts on offer make them more affordable, and in some cases, enable to the borrower to take them out without a deposit (i.e. the discount goes towards the purchase price).

Whether a Right to Buy mortgage is ‘difficult’ to get can vary from lender to lender and will depend on how closely the borrower meets their eligibility requirements. See the ‘Can I get a Right to Buy mortgage?’ section for more information about this.

Can I get an interest only Right to Buy mortgage?

In theory, it may be possible but interest only Right to Buy mortgages are rare. Most mortgage providers, especially high street lenders, only offer interest only residential mortgages to borrowers who have a viable repayment vehicle – i.e. a plan to repay the loan amount at the end of the term, such as an investment portfolio or a pension payout.

These deals can also come with relatively high income requirements as some lenders will only entertain the notion of a residential interest only mortgage if the borrower earns at least £50,000 per year.

Can I get a Right to Buy mortgage with low income?

Yes, it’s theoretically possible since there are savings to be made through the Right to Buy scheme, and with large discounts come lower loan amounts that make the property more affordable for many. As previously mentioned, the maximum discount is £80,900 outside of London and £108,000 in the capital. With this discount in place, it buying a council house with a mortgage product geared towards low-income borrowers is certainly within reason.

Whether you’re using Right to Buy or not, if you’re income is limited, it’s always advisable to seek whole-of-market advice to ensure you end up on the best deal. The specialist lenders they can connect you with are more likely allow you to use things such as disability benefits (or any other type of supplemental income you may be entitled to as a low-income earner) as declarable capital for your Right to Buy mortgage.

Can I get a joint mortgage through Right to Buy?

Yes! But the person you’re buying with needs to have been living with you for the last 12 months or be a joint tenant with you at the council property.

Can I get a buy to let mortgage through Right  to Buy?

You can’t get a Right to Buy mortgage for a buy to let property initially, but five years after taking out the residential mortgage, it may be possible to remortgage onto a buy to let agreement, providing you won’t be living in the property yourself, although you will also need to contact your landlord and obtain their consent as well.

The BTL mortgage application will be subject to the lender’s usual criteria for these products. Consult our dedicated page on buy to let mortgages or make an enquiry for further information.

I’m a first-time buyer. Can I get a Right to Buy mortgage?

Yes, being a first-time buyer is unlikely to affect your chances of landing a Right to Buy mortgage, providing you meet the standard eligibility and affordability criteria.

RTB mortgages, in many ways, are ideal for first-time buyers since the discounts on offer can make them more accessible that other mortgage products, but seeking specialist advice from an expert broker is recommended for those with little or no experience in property.

When can I sell my Right to Buy property?

Right to Buy mortgages can help you buy your council house at a discounted rate but we often hear from customers who want to know when they can sell the property on.

You can sell a Right to Buy property at any point, but if it’s within five years, you will have to pay back all or some of the discount (depending on the local authority and location). If it’s being sold within 10 years, the local authority must be given first refusal on it, and it can only be sold on the open market if they decline.

Speak to an expert Right to Buy mortgage broker

If you have questions and want to speak to an expert for the right advice, call Online Mortgage Advisor today on 0800 304 7880 or make an enquiry here.

Then sit back and let us do all the hard work in finding the broker with the right expertise for your circumstances.  – We don’t charge a fee and there’s absolutely no obligation or marks on your credit rating.

FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The info on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs. Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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