Right to Acquire (RTA)

Last updated - 1 November 2017

The Right to Acquire is a statutory scheme giving eligible tenants of registered social landlords the legal right to buy the home they currently rent with the assistance of a discount of up to £16,000.

This is available to secure and assured tenants living in a property which qualifies for the scheme and whose landlord is a housing association or housing company registered with the Homes and Communities Agency, generally referred to as “registered social landlords”.

The Right to Acquire does not apply to tenants of local authorities.

Am I eligible?

To qualify for the scheme a property must have been built or purchased by a registered social landlord, funded on, or after, 1 April 1997, through a social housing grant provided by the Housing Corporation or a local authority. A property transferred from a local council to a registered social landlord on or after 1 April 1997 will also qualify for the scheme.

If the registered social landlord does not own the freehold of the property, the freeholder must also be a public sector landlord for the property to qualify.

As well as occupying a qualifying property, you must also:

  • Have spent a total of two years as a public sector tenant or in accommodation provided by the armed services, if you have been a public sector tenant before January 18th 2005
  • Have spent a total of five years as a public sector tenant, if your first public sector tenancy was created on or after January 18th 2005.
  • Live in a house or flat which is a self- contained property and is your only or main home.

You will not be eligible to claim the Right to Acquire if you are:

  • An undischarged bankrupt, or have a bankruptcy petition pending against you
  • The subject of a possession order served by the court, at the request of your landlord, or
  • Subject to a formal creditors agreement made under the Insolvency Acts.

What discount could I receive?

The discounts for this scheme are fixed amounts published by the Government. They currently range from £9,000 to £16,000.

The amount of discount you receive will depend on where you live. If you have previously had a discount to help you buy a home, this may be taken off your Right to Acquire discount.

Conditions to buying

There are some additional conditions to buying that should be considered, these are:

Firstly, you are not allowed to sublet the property within the first five years of ownership.

Secondly, if you choose to sell your home within the initial five 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 five 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 as follows:

  • Sale within one year, repay an amount equal to the % that the discount bore to the purchase price
  • Sale within two years, repay 80% of the amount calculated as above
  • Sale within year three, repay 60% of the amount calculated as above
  • Sale within year four, repay 40% as calculated above
  • Sale within year five, repay 20% of the amount calculated above
  • No repayment required after year five.

For more information visit the Department of Communities and Local Government website.