The Right to Purchase

your neighbourhood
  • Can I buy the home I live in?

    There are three schemes through which you may be able to buy the home you are currently renting, at a discounted price:

    • Right to Buy
    • Preserved Right to Buy, and
    • Right to Acquire.
  • Right to Buy (RTB)

    This scheme is only available to secure tenants.

    You may qualify for RTB if the following apply:

    • You are a secure tenant and your tenancy started before 15 January 1989.

    • The property is your only or main home.

    • You have been a secure tenant for at least three years (this does not have to be with the same housing association and can include time spent as a secure tenant of a local authority or the armed forces).

    • You do not live in sheltered or other housing suitable for elderly or disabled people.

    • You do not have any legal problems with debt.

    • You do not have any outstanding possession orders.

    • Your home is not due to be demolished.

    Read more about the Right to Buy on the government website.

  • Preserved Right to Buy (PRTB)

    This scheme is only open to tenants who were once local authority tenants and became emh tenants through a stock transfer.

    You may qualify for the PRTB if the following apply:

    • You were a council tenant when your home was sold to emh or its predecessors.

    • The property is your only or main home.

    • You have been a tenant for at least three years (this does not have to be with the same housing association and can include time spent as a secure tenant of a local authority or the armed forces).

    • You do not live in sheltered or other housing suitable for elderly or disabled people.

    • You do not have any legal problems with debt.

    • You do not have any outstanding possession orders.

    • Your home is not due to be demolished.

    Read more about the Preserved Right to Buy on the government website.

  • Right to Acquire (RTA)

    The RTA is available to some housing association tenants and depends on when the property was built and how it was funded.

    You may qualify for the RTA if the following apply:

    • Your current home was built or bought by a housing association on or after 1 April 1997.

    • It was funded through a social housing grant (government funding) - this will be confirmed by emh when your application is considered.

    • You have had a public sector landlord for at least three years - landlords include housing associations, councils, the armed services, NHS trust and foundation trusts.

    • The property is your only or main home.

    • You do not live in sheltered or other housing suitable for elderly or disabled people.

    • You do not have any legal problems with debt.

    • You do not have any outstanding possession orders.

    • Your home is not due to be demolished.

    Read more about the Right to Acquire on the government website.

Frequently asked questions

  • Can family and friends share the right to purchase?

    At least one tenant must want to purchase the home - family members (occupants) are not able to buy it on their behalf. All applicants must have a legal interest in the property and be included on the mortgage and legal documents.

  • What if I decide to sell?

    If you sell within the first year, you will have to pay back the full discount. After that, you will have to pay back a percentage of the discount you were originally given. Please note that in this instance the discount refers to the percentage of the value at the time of the sale, and not the original cash discount. After the first year, the amount you pay back reduces to:

    • 80% of the discount in the second year
    • 60% of the discount in the third year
    • 40% of the discount in the fourth year
    • 20% of the discount in the fifth year.

    The amount you pay back depends on the value of your home when you sell it.

    For example, if you bought your home for £100,000 and received a discount of 40% (£40,000), and then sold it after 18 months for £120,000, 40% of the value will now be £48,000. As you are selling in the second year, you would need to repay 80% of £48,000 (£38,400).

    If you sell the property after more than five years but fewer than ten, you will need to give emh first refusal to buy it back at the current market value.

  • What is the government’s Right to Buy Agent service?

    The government’s Right to Buy Agent service offers free and impartial advice on the rights of housing association tenants to purchase their homes and can help with the buying process.

    Advisers can help you with:

    • finding out if you are eligible
    • working out your discount
    • guidance about the costs involved
    • completing your application form.

    For more details go to the government website.

  • Does emh provide any other options?

    If you want to buy a home but cannot afford to do so on the open market, we have several affordable home ownership options that might be suitable. Visit our Sales & Marketing site for more details.

Buying your home: step by step

Buying and owning your own home can be expensive. Only you will know if it is the right decision for you. To help you make that decision, here are a few things that will first need to consider.

  • How much does it cost?

    Whether you have the Right to Buy, the Preserved Right to Buy, or the Right to Acquire, after your home has been valued, we will calculate the discount you are entitled to and inform you of the valuation, the discount, and the final purchase price in our offer. The government websites on the different rights to purchase include information on the discounts available.

    If you live in a flat or maisonette, you cannot buy the freehold to your property, but you can buy a long-term lease (usually for a fixed period of 125 years) with a small annual ground rent of around £10. Leaseholders must also pay an annual service charge, which covers the upkeep of the structure and communal areas of the building.

  • Can you afford to buy?

    Once you have bought your home, you will be responsible for both the mortgage on the property and its general upkeep and repair costs. We strongly advise you to get some financial advice either before applying or when you receive your sales offer. This advice will help you get a better idea of what your future costs are likely to be.

    We have a list of financial advisors who will be able to help you.

  • What one-off costs are there?

    When you buy a property there are several one-off costs, including:

    • Valuation and mortgage fees
      We will not charge you when we value your property, but if you are buying it with a mortgage, the mortgage provider will probably want to carry out its own valuation and will charge you a fee.
      There is also usually an administration or arrangement fee to pay when you apply for a mortgage.

    • Survey costs
      We do not carry out a structural survey when you apply to buy your home, but we strongly recommend that you consider getting a survey done yourself by a qualified surveyor. There are various types of survey available and the price you will have to pay depends on how detailed the survey is.

    • Stamp duty
      This is a tax payable to the government when you buy a property and is based on its value. Your solicitor or financial adviser will be able to tell if stamp duty will be due on your purchase. You can find out more here.

    • Legal costs and land registry fees
      You will have to pay your solicitor’s or licensed conveyancer’s fees as well as any costs they incur on your behalf in connection with buying your home. You may also need to pay the legal costs of your mortgage provider. You will also need to pay a fee to the Land Registry to register your ownership of your home once you have bought it. Your solicitor will usually arrange this for you.
  • What on-going costs are there?

    The ongoing costs of being a homeowner include:

    • Mortgage repayments
      If you do not make payments as required by the mortgage provider, they can take legal action against you which could mean you lose your home. Mortgage interest rates are currently at low levels, but rates can go up or down. You should carefully think about what the impact might be if your repayments increase if interest rates go up, or when you come to the end of a fixed interest rate period on your mortgage. Higher repayments could reduce the amount you have available for paying for other financial commitments or bills.

    • Buildings insurance
      Your home needs to be insured to cover the full cost of rebuilding it if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, storm, flood, or another type of incident. If your home is a flat or maisonette, we will arrange buildings insurance cover and you will be charged through your annual service charge. You cannot opt out of buildings insurance. An excess applies to buildings insurance, which is the amount you will have to pay towards the cost of a claim.

    • Contents and other insurance
      You are responsible for arranging your own contents insurance to protect your belongings from theft or other risks. You should also consider life insurance which would pay off your mortgage if you die, or mortgage repayment protection or critical illness insurance, which would cover paying your mortgage if you lost your job, or were unable to work through illness.  You should take your own professional advice on whether these or other types of insurance are appropriate for you.

    • Repairs and maintenance
      You will be responsible for repairing and decorating the inside of your home. Repairs and improvements that emh might have done for you while you were a tenant, such as the annual gas servicing or upgrading kitchen units, will be your responsibility.

    • Annual service charges
      If you live in a flat or maisonette, you must pay a service charge for the upkeep of the structure and communal areas of the building. As well as major repairs and improvements, these charges also cover things like communal lighting, caretaking, grass-cutting and door-entry systems. If your home is served by a communal heating and/or hot water system, this will also be paid for through your service charge. You will not be able to opt out of or be disconnected from a communal system.

    Major repairs or improvements to the building and/or estate may happen periodically. Things like lifts, roof coverings, electrical wiring and window frames have a lifespan, and external decorations are carried out at regular intervals. These works are unavoidable and can be expensive.

    If you live in a house, depending on where it is you may still have to pay a service charge for the estate services that we will continue to provide to you. You cannot opt out of paying the service charge. The charge may include day-to-day services such as caretaking, grounds maintenance, block lighting, and routine communal repairs and maintenance.

    Estimates of all service charges will be included in our offer when you are given the valuation and purchase price of your home. You should look at these carefully and consider if you will be able to afford your contribution.

  • What should I be aware of?

    There are companies and individuals who offer money to tenants to purchase a property. These deals usually end with the company or individual owning it. If you enter into this type of agreement you need to remember:

    • if you sell the property on you will have to repay the discount as soon as you have bought it

    • the money you make is unlikely to be enough to buy another home

    • We will not rent you another property.

    Please think very carefully before using one of these companies or individuals. They may be suggesting that you do something which benefits them and not you. Do not sign anything that you are not entirely clear about or happy with.

    Some tenants have become homeless after agreeing to deals like this. It is very important that you get independent legal advice from your solicitor or the Citizens Advice Bureau before entering into such an agreement.

How to apply

As well as the relevant government form, for all applications to purchase you will need to complete the supplementary forms below.

For Right to Buy: download an application form here.

An online form is not available for Preserved Right to Buy. Please contact our Customer Service Centre and they will send you one in the post.

For Right to Acquire: download an application form here.

If you are unable to print off the Right to Buy, the Right to Acquire, or supplementary application forms, please call our Customer Services Team on 0300 123 6000 who will be happy to send you them in the post.

Once you have completed and signed (the forms need to be signed with your signature - typing your name is not sufficient for these purposes) all the relevant forms, please send them to:

emh Home Ownership Team, Memorial House, Whitwick Business Park, Stenson Road, Coalville, Leicestershire, LE67 4JP

After you have fully submitted your application, we will check if you are eligible to buy your home and whether it is through the Right to Acquire, the Right to Buy, or the Preserved Right to Buy scheme.

All final decisions will be made after a full application has been made.

If you are accepted for the Right to Acquire, Right to Buy or Preserved Right to Buy, we will follow anti-money laundering laws to determine how you will be funding the purchase. If you are using savings to pay for the purchase, we will need to see evidence showing where this money came from. Your purchase may be delayed if you do not give us information when requested, or if you do not respond satisfactorily to any questions that may be raised.

We may also need to use an identity verification agency to confirm your identity.

Please note that after submitting your application, only essential maintenance will be carried out on your property. We will not carry out any improvement works to your home, such as replacing windows or the central heating system. Once you become a homeowner, you will be fully responsible for all repairs and maintenance to your property, other than communal/external repairs if you live in a flat, but you will still need to pay a contribution for these maintenance costs.

What are the steps to purchasing my home?

  • Step 1

    Once you have made your application and provided us with all the information we need, we will review it. If you have the Right to Buy, the Preserved Right to Buy, or the Right to Acquire, we will advise you by sending you a form admitting (confirming) this. We will usually do this within four weeks of receiving your application (it could be longer in some circumstances). If you do not provide us with all the information we need to consider your application, the process can be delayed.

  • Step 2

    You will be contacted by our appointed surveyor to arrange a time for your property to be valued. The surveyor will need to gain access to your property to make the valuation.

  • Step 3

    Usually within eight weeks of receiving your application form (or 12 weeks if your property is a flat or maisonette), we will send you the landlord’s offer notice. This document informs you of the valuation of your home, your discount, and the conditions of purchase.

  • Step 4

    If you want to go ahead with the purchase of your property, you should let us know within 12 weeks of the issue date of the offer notice by returning to us the Tenant’s Notice of Intention form. If you do not do this, we will send you a reminder asking you to respond within 28 days. If you do not respond, your application may be cancelled. If you still want to purchase your home, you will have to start the process again by completing a new application form.

  • Step 5

    When you return the acceptance form with details of your solicitor, our solicitors will contact them with a complete set of conveyancing documents and will work towards making formal arrangements for the date of the sale.  Your solicitor is responsible for advising you on your purchase.

Help and advice

You can get free and impartial advice on the financial aspects of buying your home from Money Helper:

W: www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en

T: 0800 138 7777

You can get free advice on what it means to be a leaseholder by contacting the government-funded Leasehold Advisory Service:

W: www.lease-advice.org/

For advice on buying your home, the government Right to Buy Agent service advises housing association tenants who are interested in understanding their rights to purchase and or making an application to buy their home.

Our Group