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By Pete Mugleston   Mortgage Advisor

Last updated: 15th April 2019 *

The government’s Right to Buy scheme has seen something of a revival in recent years, and as a result, we’re getting lots of queries from customers looking for the best mortgage lenders for Right to Buy purchases.

If you’re a council tenant looking to take your first step into the world of home ownership, we can help to make that dream a reality even if you’ve been turned down by lenders in the past.

Contact us today and we’ll put you in touch with a specialist advisor with a comprehensive, market-wide overview of Right to Buy mortgage lenders in the UK.

In this article we address some of the most common questions about Right to Buy mortgage providers and their policies, including:

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Am I eligible for Right to Buy with any lenders?

To qualify for Right to Buy you (and up to two additional borrowers) will need to have lived in your current council property for at least three years. If you’re unsure of the exact length of your tenancy, contact your landlord. Next, you’ll need to demonstrate that you can cover the costs of setting up and servicing the required mortgage over a number of years.

Once you’ve done the sums and are ready to apply for a mortgage, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate that you meet the lender’s eligibility criteria, which will include factors such as household income, credit history, employment status and your age.

To ensure you have access to the best Right to Buy mortgage lenders and products, give us a on 0800 304 7880 or contact us online, and we’ll put you in touch with an advisor who can help you navigate the Right to Buy mortgage landscape and find the best solution for you.

Can I get a Right to Buy mortgage with no deposit?

Most lenders do require a deposit. However, due to the structure of the Right to Buy scheme, the deposit may be covered by your Right to Buy discount, so depending on the size of your discount and the value of the property you may not need to have set aside significant funds.

Many lenders can offer Right to Buy mortgages up to 100% loan-to-value (LTV) of the discounted purchase price of your home, and many will also lend additional funds for home improvements at the same interest rate, typically up to 70% of the property’s market value. This will be cheaper than borrowing money from your bank or taking out any other unsecured loan.

Find out more about Right to Buy deposits here.

Will I need a specialist mortgage lender for Right to Buy?

You shouldn’t need to look for a specialist provider, as many lenders make their standard mortgage products available to Right to Buy customers. However, if you’re looking for the best Right to Buy mortgage lenders on the market, it’s helpful to speak to an advisor who can guide you towards the best products.

In the next section we’ll take a look at a few of the mortgage lenders for Right to Buy and the types of products available, as well as what you will need to meet in terms of eligibility criteria for Right to Buy.

Finding the best Right to Buy mortgage providers

So, who does right to buy mortgages?

As we’ve already indicated, there are no dedicated ‘council house mortgage lenders’, and in fact most of the best-known providers support Right to Buy. So as long as you meet their criteria, you should have access to the same trusted names and interest rates as you’d have for any other property purchase.

At the time of writing, there are several high street bank Right to Buy mortgages available, as well as numerous options with specialist lenders, and many of these have quite strict criteria, so getting the right advice to match you with the best deal is all the more important

For instance Santander Right to Buy mortgages are unlikely to lend to people who have bad credit history, and Natwest Right to Buy Mortgages typically need to be repaid no later than retirement age. If you had a recent bankruptcy or IVA, you will struggle to get a Right to Buy mortgage from Lloyds or HSBC.

And bear in mind that if you approach a lender directly, you will only have access to their own limited range of products. Something else to think about is that their advisor is working for the bank’s best interests, and not necessarily yours.

By going through one of the expert brokers we work with, they look at the whole of market and have a duty of care to ensure you receive the best deal to suit your circumstances.  

A handful of lenders do not offer Right to Buy mortgages; Chelsea Building Society for example does not usually provide any RTB products.

Lenders’ criteria for Right to Buy mortgages

To qualify for your preferred Right to Buy mortgage you will need to demonstrate to the lender that you can afford the purchase and make repayments in line with the mortgage contract - just as with any other mortgage. Factors they’re likely to look at to determine your suitability as a borrower will include:

  • Credit record
  • Employment status
  • Household income/affordability
  • Property type
  • Borrower’s age(s)
  • Loan-to-value (LTV) i.e. the ratio of the amount being borrowed to the value of the property.

If you have any concerns about your eligibility and want to talk through the options with an expert, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call us on 0800 304 7880, and we’ll put you in touch with an advisor who is experienced in helping Right to Buy customers find the right mortgage.

What size of Right to Buy mortgage can I afford?

Like all lenders, RTB mortgage providers will take a number of factors into account when calculating whether the amount you want to borrow can be considered ‘affordable’.

Lenders will want to see evidence of your income (employment/self-employment or a pension and any other sources), monthly outgoings, financial commitments, your employment status (including how long you’ve been in your current job and whether you’re still in your probationary period), including the details for any joint borrowers.

Lenders will not accept housing benefit as a source of income, since this is not available to tenants once they become homeowners, and many state that other benefits are not acceptable either.

For example Nationwide’s Right To Buy mortgage specifically excludes housing benefit as an income source even where the DWP agree to pay Income Support Mortgage Interest (ISMI) in its place. Similarly if you’re applying for any of Precise Mortgages’ Right to Buy products, you won’t usually be accepted if you’ve received housing benefit in the past 12 months.

Having established your income, most mortgage companies will agree to lend an amount equivalent to 4 times your annual salary (or combined salary if making a joint application), so if you’re earning £40,000 p/a, they will lend up to £160,000. Some will allow multiples of 5 x your salary, and a few will even offer 6 x your salary in the right circumstances.

Do Right to Buy mortgage lenders accept bad credit?

We get a lot of queries about whether you can get a Right to Buy mortgage with bad credit.

Fortunately, there are RTB mortgage lenders that will consider borrowers with various types of adverse credit, so while it may reduce access to some lenders, it shouldn’t rule you out.

Some lenders take a more stringent approach to credit issues than others, and most will have their own policies around what they can and cannot accept in terms of credit issues.

For example, Right to Buy mortgages with Halifax or Barclays won’t usually consider a borrower with recent credit issues, but there are still some lenders happy to approve depending on what the issues are. Some lenders will overlook defaults and arrears that took place more than six months ago, and a few will accept three months.

Some lenders won’t accept a history of bankruptcy or repossession regardless of when it took place, for example Right to Buy mortgages with Woolwich will not usually consider borrowers with these events on their record.

For more information, consult our bad credit mortgages section here or make an enquiry to speak with an expert advisor.

Are there Right to Buy mortgage lenders for Self Employed?

Absolutely! Many lenders offer self-employed mortgages, and are happy to approve customers that can demonstrate that their projected income will be sufficient to cover the repayments. You will usually need to provide the last two years’ tax returns or accounts along with the other documents used to demonstrate affordability, and the way lenders treat your income will be different.

For more information consult our section on self-employment mortgages here.

Right to Buy mortgage lenders for different types of property?

If you’re looking to get a Right to Buy mortgage on a non-standard property, fewer lenders will accept your application or may insist on more stringent checks. For example if your home is in a high-rise block, some lenders will want to arrange a more detailed structural survey and sometimes a specialist valuation.

Many RTB lenders place a limit on block height, for example Leeds Building Society Right to Buy mortgages won’t usually accept flats in blocks higher than 4 storeys, while  Skipton Right to Buy mortgages won’t usually accept ex-local authority blocks of more than 5 storeys.

The advisors working with us can help you to find RTB mortgage providers that are able to lend to you even if your property has some unique or unusual quirks, so don’t hesitate to get in touch so we can match you up with an expert in the field.

You can find our section on non-standard construction mortgages here.

Lenders for RTB mortgages into retirement / later life?

Borrowers at or nearing retirement age may find it harder to get a mortgage agreed, but lenders vary in their policies towards borrowing in later life.

For example, some lenders will specify that at least one applicant must be below 55 years of age at application, while many will decline if the term is due to end after the one or more applicants reach a specified age.

For example, you won’t usually be approved for a Santander RTB mortgage if your or any other applicants’ 75th birthday falls before the end of the payment term, while those going for a Barclays’ RTB mortgage will need to ensure they are no older than 70 years of age at the end of the term,

Consult our article on mortgages for pensioners for more information.

Looks like I have multiple issues. Can I still get a Right to Buy mortgage?

If several of the “non-standard” issues detailed above, such as being self-employed and having bad credit, apply to you, don’t panic - there are many factors to consider, and lenders know that no two borrowers’ circumstances are completely alike.

Having multiple issues will inevitably mean that fewer lenders will consider your application which can further reduce access to the best available rates, but the advisors we work with have an overview of the entire market and will work hard to help you find the best possible deal within these constraints.

Secured loan lenders for Right to Buy property?

Secured loans are a financing method that homeowners can use when looking to raise capital - sometimes up to as much as 10 x your salary. Also known as ‘second charge loans’ or ‘second charges’, you can find out more about how they work here, but in essence they are a second mortgage on a single property, with that property as the security.

If you purchased under Right to Buy within the past five years, you are still in the pre-emption period and may find it harder to find lenders willing to arrange a secured loan. However, there are a handful of lenders that can grant them during this period.

Lenders usually do this by taking out an indemnity policy against the loan to cover any potential claims by the local authority, in case the borrower sells the property during the pre-emption period. Rates and fees for the secured loan are likely to be higher.

Alternatively, you can simply wait until the pre-emption period has elapsed, since the council will no longer have any rights over your property after this period, and it can therefore be treated like any other property.

Speak to a Right to Buy mortgage expert today

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.

Updated: 15th April 2019
OnlineMortgageAdvisor 2019 ©

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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