Buying my home
If you'd like to buy your NCHA home, you might be able to do so under a scheme called Right to Acquire. (Another scheme, called Right to Buy, is not currently open, but if that changes we will share information about it on this page.)
Right to Acquire gives some housing association customers the legal right to buy their home. Discounts available with Right to Acquire are lower than those seen with the Voluntary Right to Buy, typically from £9,000 to £11,000. The amount of discount you receive will depend on where you live.
Eligibility and how to apply
To qualify for Right to Acquire:
- You must be living in a property built or acquired by us on or after 1 April 1997, which was built with grant funding from the government or local authority.
- Your home must not be located in a protected area. These are listed in the Right to Acquire protected areas legislation and include most rural locations and some towns (we will check this for you).
- Your home must not be classified as supported housing or only let to persons aged 60 or over.
- You must have held a public sector tenancy for a minimum of three years, this could be with us or another public sector landlord.
- You must be living in a house or flat which is a self-contained property and is your only or main home.
- You must not be subject to a bankruptcy order or have a bankruptcy petition pending against you, or subject to a formal creditor’s agreement made under the Insolvency Act.
- You must not be subject to a possession order served by a court, or subject to a suspension order for anti-social behaviour issued by us.
To apply you will need to complete a Right to Acquire application form (RTA1) - contact us to request one. After we receive your application, we’ll confirm whether you have the Right to Acquire. If you do, we’ll tell you within eight weeks what the purchase price of your home will be.
The purchase price of your home
Before you apply we’d advise you to check the approximate value of your home by looking at sold house prices on Rightmove or Zoopla in your postcode area. This will give you an estimate of the mortgage amount or cash you’ll need to purchase your home. Once you’ve applied and we’ve confirmed you can proceed, we’ll arrange a formal valuation. We then deduct your discount to give the price you pay for your home, which will be explained in the offer notice that we send you.
How to appeal against the valuation
You can appeal against the formal valuation within three months of receipt of the offer notice. The appeal will be sent to the local district valuer who may revalue your home. Their decision on the valuation is final.
If you’re a joint tenant you’ll normally buy with the other tenant. You may also include up to three members of your family provided they live with you and have been at your address for 12 months. If you’re a joint tenant and you don’t wish to buy, you must agree to the sale and sign the form to confirm this. Once the sale completes your tenancy will cease.
Selling your property
You may sell your property in the same way as other homeowners. However, if you sell within five years you’ll have to repay some or all of the discount, as follows:
- If sold within a year, 100% is repayable
- If sold within 2 years, 80% is repayable
- If sold within 3 years, 60% is repayable
- If sold within 4 years, 40% is repayable
- If sold within 5 years, 20% is repayable.
No repayment is required after five complete years.
If you decide to sell your property within ten years you have to offer the property back to us – this is known as the Right of First Refusal. If we don’t wish to buy your property you’re then free to sell it on the open market.
Costs to consider when buying your home
To complete the purchase of your house, you'll need to find money to cover the following:
- Survey and legal costs – property survey and legal fees associated with buying your home
- Mortgage fees - your mortgage lender may charge you fees for a mortgage and for their valuation
- Stamp duty - a form of tax you have to pay if the property you buy is over a certain price
- Land Registry fee – a fee you pay to the Land Registry to register yourself as the new owner of a home.
Ongoing costs to consider:
- Mortgage repayments – your ongoing monthly mortgage repayments
- Insurance – this is to cover the costs of repair and rebuilding in the event of fire, flood or other disaster. You may also want to insure your home contents against theft and damage
- Service charges – depending on where you live and your property type, you’ll have to pay a service charge to us. This go towards any repairs and maintenance of the estate or the block and the upkeep of communal areas in the case of flats
- A fixed rent charge - this is an annual rent of £1, payable to us and is a legal mechanism to protect the Right to Acquire discount
- Repairs and maintenance - whether you’re buying a flat or a house, you’ll need to take account of future repairs which you have to pay for
- Other expenses - you’ll be responsible for all outgoings including: council tax, water and sewage charges, gas, electric, TV and broadband services.
Your step-by-step guide to Right to Acquire
Step 1 - How to apply
Contact the Sales team - they will carry out an initial check to see if you and your home qualify.
Check the approximate value of your home on Zoopla or Rightmove.
If you need a mortgage, get some mortgage advice to find out how much you can borrow.
Ask the Sales team for the Right to Acquire application form.
Step 2 – Processing your application
Once we’ve received your form, we’ll tell you whether or not you have the Right to Acquire within four weeks (eight weeks if your qualifying tenancy is with another landlord). If you can’t buy your home we’ll explain why.
We may ask you and anyone buying with you to provide identification documents and evidence of occupation.
Step 3 – Valuation
If you have the Right to Acquire we’ll arrange to carry out a formal valuation. Our surveyor will contact you to arrange a suitable time to visit.
Once the valuation is carried out we’ll send you an offer notice, which tells you the price you have to pay and the terms and conditions of the sale. We’ll send you this within eight weeks if your home is a house or within 12 weeks if your home is a flat.
Step 4 – Accepting the offer
If you want to go ahead you must tell us within 12 weeks, otherwise we may withdraw the offer.
Appoint a legal representative to act on your behalf.
If you require a survey, arrange for this to be carried out at your own expense.
Make your mortgage application.
We may ask you to provide proof of funds for deposit or cash purchase to comply with money laundering requirements.
Step 5 – Buying your home
We’ll instruct our solicitors to proceed and they will contact your solicitor with the information they need to process the sale.
Your solicitor or licensed conveyancer will deal with the legal requirements necessary for the purchase and should keep you informed.
You should complete the purchase within three months of receiving your offer notice. If you don’t complete within this time period, we may serve two notices giving you a reasonable time to complete. If you don’t complete within the period in the final notice we’ll consider your application withdrawn.
Find out more
We’ll be able to answer your questions about how Right to Acquire works. Contact the NCHA Sales team on 0345 650 1204 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for advice or an application form.
For information on mortgages and insurance you should seek your own independent advice. You can get free and impartial advice money advice from the Money Advice Service. The website has a mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly mortgage payments.
Please make sure that Right to Acquire is right for you before applying. Making a Right to Acquire application is a formal notice and we will incur the cost of a valuation, even if you don’t go ahead. If at any time after you have applied you decide to withdraw, please email or write to let us know so we can close your application.