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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: June 13, 2022

We get lots of enquiries from tenants who want to buy their council or housing association home through Right to Buy. Many people are unsure if they’re eligible to apply for Right to Buy, and want to know if they’re able to get a mortgage.

The good news is there are many options available for a wide variety of borrowers, and the advisors we work with are specialists on hand to give you the right advice on the process of the Right to Buy. Make an enquiry and they’ll be in touch ASAP.

What is the Right to Buy?

The Right to Buy is a policy in the UK (with the exception of Scotland since August 2016) which gives secure tenants of councils and some housing associations the legal right to buy the council house they are living in, often at a very large discount.

Calculate if you’re eligible for the Right to Buy?

Factors that affect your eligibility include:

  • How long you have lived in the property
  • If the property is your main home or only home
  • Where you live in the UK
  • Court orders, bankruptcy and plans to demolish the property

How long you have lived in the property

You will need to have lived in the property for three years before you can apply to buy your home. In May 2015, this was reduced from a five years tenancy so if you have been a tenant for 3 or more years you could now qualify to buy your home.

Does the property have to be my main home?

Yes it does.  Applicants must be living in the property and not have an additional residence elsewhere.

Can I apply for Right to Buy with a partner?

Yes you can.

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may be able to buy with:

  • Someone who is on the tenancy agreement with you;
  • Your spouse or civil partner;
  • Up to three family members, who have been living in your home for the 12 months immediately before you make the application. They don’t have to be on the tenancy agreement but it must be their main home

How will my location affect my Right to Buy?

Right to Buy criteria differs throughout the UK, so it’s good to know how this affects you before you apply.


  • You must have spent at least three years as a public sector tenant.
  • The maximum limit of discount is £80,900 unless you live in London where it is £108,000.
  • The longer you have been a tenant, the more discount you can get
  • Applicants must not be an undischarged bankrupt, have a bankruptcy petition pending, or have made an arrangement with creditors
  • You cannot buy your home if you have received a letter in the last 7 years saying that your property will be demolished


  • You must have spent at least five years as a public sector tenant.
  • You don’t have to have lived in the same property for five years to apply.
    The qualifying period can include time spent in different homes and with different landlords,.
  • The longer you have been a tenant, the more discount you can get
  • The maximum limit of discount is £8,000 on a property
  • Applicants must not be an undischarged bankrupt, have a bankruptcy petition pending, or have made an arrangement with creditors

Northern Ireland

  • You must have spent at least five years as a public sector tenant.
  • You can’t buy 1 and 2 bedroom ground floor properties or sheltered housing
  • The longer you have been a tenant, the more discount you can get
  • The maximum limit of discount is £24,000 on a property
  • Applicants must not be an undischarged bankrupt, have a bankruptcy petition pending, or have made an arrangement with creditors


  • Right to Buy ended for all council and housing association tenants in Scotland on 31 July 2016.
  • You can still apply to buy your home from the council but they don’t have to agree to it.
    If they do, you’ll still have to pay the full price of the home without any discounts.

Calculate how much discount you’re eligible for?

The maximum amount of discount that an applicant can receive in England is £80,900.

This differs in London because of the increase in property prices so the maximum discount there is £108,000.

The discount you are eligible for is based on:

  • How long you’ve been a tenant with a public sector landlord
  • Whether you’re buying a flat or house
  • The value of your home

Council house mortgage calculator

If you’ve been a public sector tenant in a house for between 3 and 5 years, you qualify for a 35% discount on the properties market value.

After 5 years, the discount goes up by 1% for every extra year you’ve been a public sector tenant.

House with a value of £100,000
Tenancy Percentage discount Discount applied Price you pay
3 – 5 years 35% £35,000 £65,000
6 years 36% £36,000 £64,000
7 years 37% £37,000 £63,000
8 years 38% £38,000 £62,000
9 years 39% £39,000 £61,000
10 years 40% £40,000 £60,000

Council flat mortgage calculator

If you’ve been a public sector tenant in a flat for between 3 and 5 years, you get a 50% discount.

After 5 years, the discount goes up by 2% for every extra year you’ve been a public sector tenant.

Flat with a value of £100,000
Tenancy Percentage discount Discount applied Price you pay
3 – 5 years 50% £50,000 £50,000
6 years 52% £52,000 £48,000
7 years 54% £54,000 £46,000
8 years 56% £56,000 £44,000
9 years 58% £58,000 £42,000
10 years 60% £60,000 £40,000

Because of the many factors that affect how much discount you can receive through Right to Buy, it can be handy to use a rtb mortgage calculator to work it out for you.

Let us know and one of our advisors can talk you through it.

Can I afford to buy my Right to Buy property?

Once you have checked you and your home are eligible for Right to Buy, you’ll need to find out if you can afford your monthly mortgages payments and the associated costs that come with owning a property.

These include:

  • Water
  • Council tax
  • Repair and maintenance costs
  • Mortgage payment protection insurance
  • Building, contents and life insurance
  • Service charges if you purchase a leasehold property (usually for flats)

Again, a council house mortgage calculator can be really helpful for this as you can work out your outgoings and see quickly whether you can afford monthly mortgage payments as well as any other additional expenses you have.

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What deposit do I need for a mortgage on a Right to Buy property?

If you don’t have a lump sum of money to buy you Right to Buy property outright, you’ll most likely need a mortgage, and in certain circumstances, a mortgage deposit.

Can I get a 100% mortgage for a Right to Buy property?

A benefit of Help to Buy is that some lenders will accept the Right to Buy discount as a deposit, so in theory, it is possible to get a mortgage for 100% of the purchase price as there are specialist lenders who offer mortgages with a 0% deposit.

Can I borrow more money to renovate the house?

There are even a handful of local authorities and lenders who will provide mortgages for over 100% of the property value in order for you to use the additional funds for home improvements. Again, this would be subject to affordability and credit checks as lenders will need reassurance that you are able to afford your mortgage repayments as well as the maintenance of the property and any other expenses you have.

Residential mortgage deposits for Right to Buy properties

Currently, most residential mortgage lenders will offer 100% mortgages with no deposit, however, several will require some cash from the buyer in certain circumstances, for instance, if using some of the more specialist lenders. Those requiring deposit may request a maximum Loan to Value (LTV) of 90 – 95%, meaning that they will lend 90 – 95% of the property value if you can pay a 5-10% deposit. This will vary depending on the lender, your credit score, affordability and many other factors.

Buy to Let mortgage deposits for Right to Buy properties

Under the terms of the right to buy, this property must be the only one you own and be your main residence at the time of purchase. But, if you later want to rent out a right to buy property you already own, then you’ll be subject to the terms and conditions of your old landlord – typically, this is acceptable, but some will require you to pay a sub-let fee for the privilege.

The most straightforward way of doing this is to apply for the “consent to let” with your current lender. If granted, then you can let out the property and move out, without the need to change your current mortgage.

If rejected, you would need to refinance the property only a buy to let mortgage, and thus be required to meet buy to let criteria.

Most Buy to Let lenders will offer a Loan to Value of 75%, meaning that you’ll need a 25% deposit, however, some will consider just 20% and a handful 15% deposit in the right circumstances. Again, this can differ and some lenders will require a larger deposit depending on a number of factors.

What mortgage can I afford to get with a Right to Buy property?

Working out how much mortgage you get can be confusing as it depends on a number of factors including:

  • Your credit history
  • Type of property
  • Income
  • Employment
  • Age

It can be helpful to use a mortgage calculator for Right to Buy mortgages as this can give you a guide as to how much mortgage you can expect to be approved for.

Bear in mind though that each lender uses a different set of criteria to calculate the end figure, so take this into consideration if you use multiple calculators with different lenders.

The experts we work with can take you through a council Right to Buy mortgage calculator. Make an enquiry and they’ll be in touch ASAP.

How does income affect how much mortgage I can get?

Most lenders look at income and offset it against other significant outgoings such as household bills and debt but as a general rule, most lenders will let you borrow 4x your annual income.
There are also lenders who will lend up to 5x and a minority who will consider lending 6x but this usually depends on the amount you earn a year.

How does my employment affect how much mortgage I can get?

If you are employed, lenders will want to know if your income is a set basic wage or salary or whether your income varies.
They will consider these differently to determine how much mortgage you can afford to take out.

As well as how much you earn in salaries/wages, they will also look at your bonuses, overtime, commission, allowances, and other additional incomes.

Every lender is different here – some consider 100% for these, others 80%, some 50% and some won’t accept them at all.

How long you have had your job is also a factor, as many lenders will want you to have been in the current role for at least 12 months, others 6 months, a few will accept 3 months, a handful can consider you having just started a new job, and one or two even 3 months before starting a new job (so long as you have a contract).

If you are self-employed, most lenders will need proof of three years trading although there are some who will ask for two, a few one, and a handful who will even consider just 9 months trading in the right circumstances.

Applying for a right to buy mortgage with credit issues

Lenders view applicants with bad credit as a higher risk and can ask for a bigger deposit or even reject an application.

But don’t panic – this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get a mortgage with a less than perfect credit score.

Depending on your circumstances, it is possible to mortgage for a Right to Buy property with bad credit as some forms of credit are viewed as less serious than others.

We’ve helped many homeowners over the years who believed that they couldn’t get a mortgage with bad credit including:

  • Low credit score
  • Late payments
  • Mortgage arrears
  • Defaults
  • CCJs
  • Debt management plans
  • IVA
  • Bankruptcy
  • Repossession

Check your credit score before you apply

It can be quite a shock when you apply for a mortgage and discover that you have bad credit.

To avoid this, check your credit history before you make a mortgage application.

You can sign up for the free trials here on either checkmyfile, credit monitor (call credit) and Experian.

We have helped loads of people who have worried that bad credit will stop them from being able to get a mortgage. The advisers we work with are mortgage experts and will find you the best lenders who accept Right to Buy applicants with bad credit.

Does the property type affect my Right to Buy mortgage?

This can be a common issue for those considering the right to buy, where the property may be a high rise flat or of concrete construction, for example.

Unusual properties can be seen as a higher risk for lenders. They’ll want to know if a property is good security for the loan, so in the unfortunate event of repossession, they can resell it easily. The worry is that the more unusual the property, the more limited the market.

Such properties include:

  • Unique properties,
  • Listed buildings
  • High rise flats
  • Flats with balcony access
  • Ex local authority
  • Uninhabitable property
  • Non-standard construction
  • Concrete
  • Timber frame

These sorts of properties can be harder to mortgage but the good news is there are certainly lenders that can consider them in the right circumstances.

Make an enquiry and we’ll refer you to one of the property mortgage experts to give you the right advice.

Can I get a mortgage on a Right to Buy if I’m retired?

Unfortunately, older borrowers can sometimes struggle to find a lender that is willing to give them a mortgage. Some lenders cap the maximum age for an application and can also consider how old you’ll be at the end of the mortgage agreement to decide on whether they’ll accept you or not.

Because of affordability issues, that may reject an application if you are in or will be in retirement during the mortgage period.

This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get a Right to Buy mortgage though. There are lenders who will consider older applicants as long as they can prove that their savings, pensions or other incomes can cover the mortgage repayments and other living expenses.

Speak to a right to buy expert

If you want to try a mortgage Right to Buy calculator or apply for the Right to Buy your council or housing association home, get in touch.

We only work with experts who can guide you through the process and then connect you with the lender offering the best mortgage deals, based on your individual circumstances.

To get a quote from one of the specialists we work with click here or call Online Mortgage Advisor today on 0808 189 2301.

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

About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

Read more about Pete

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the 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 information 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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