Right to buy your home

Right to Buy (RTB) is a government scheme which gives qualifying council tenants a chance to buy their homes. Eligible tenants will usually qualify for a discount from the full market valuation of your property.

Before buying

There are some issues you should consider before you start buying your flat or house.
If you would like:
  • to find out what it means to be a leaseholder including your rights and obligations and paying service charges
  • general advice or concerns about buying
  • to discuss Right to Buy
you can email leasehold services or phone 020 8430 2000. You can also make an appointment to speak to someone in person, by phoning 020 8430 2000.

Becoming a leaseholder

When you buy a lease, you buy the right to occupy a property for a given length of time. Under the Right to Buy, we generally give a 125 year lease. This period shrinks over time, so if you sell your home five years after you bought it from us, you will sell a 120 year lease to the next buyer.
When working out the cost of a lease, the ongoing fees and charges, you must remember that as the length of the lease decreases, so does its value and the value of the property if you want to sell it.

The importance of your lease

Your lease is your legally binding contract with your landlord (London Borough of Newham). It sets out both your and our responsibilities and obligations.
It also defines the boundary of your estate (if you live on one), the block and the property you live in. These boundaries are important as we can only charge you for works carried out within these boundaries.

Service charges

As a leaseholder you will be responsible for paying service charges.
Find out more about service charges.

Repairs and maintenance

You will need to organise and pay for the cost of any repairs to your home, from putting up shelves, to plumbing, gas safety and electrical problems.
You will need our permission to carry out any major alterations. You will also need to follow building regulations and / or get planning permission for your project.

Ground rent

Find out about ground rent.

Renting out your home

You must ask permission before you rent out your home and we will charge you for amending your lease to allow you to rent it out.
As a landlord you may also be held liable for the conduct of your tenant(s) if you do not take any action to address their anti-social or illegal behaviour.
If you are a landlord or managing agent in Newham you will need to license your rental property. Failure to apply for a licence is an offence and may lead to a fine of up to £20,000 per property. A five year property licence now costs £500. You may be charged more in the future.

Apply to buy your council home

You should get advice from a solicitor with property and conveyancing experience before you enter into any agreement to buy.
You can get forms from Local Service Centres as well as from the Communities and Local Government (CLG) website.
When you have filled out your form send it to:
Home Ownership Team
Bridge House
320 High Street
E15 1EP.

Buying jointly with family members

Family members who are not joint tenants can buy your home with you as long as they live in it as their only or principal home and have lived there for a minimum of 12 months before applying.

Joint tenants

In a joint tenancy usually both tenants must apply to buy.
But, if one tenant wishes to buy and the other doesn't, the person deciding not to buy must agree to the sale by filling in the appropriate part of the application form.
The tenant who is not buying should consider getting legal advice as they are ending their tenancy and will lose rights to the property.

Costs of becoming an owner

You will have to pay:
  • the purchase price, which you can get through mortgage or loan
  • solicitors' fees
  • mortgage valuation fees
  • survey fees.
Along with your usual household expenses you will need to pay for any expenses that were once included in your rent.
  • If your property is a house and you become a freeholder you will be responsible for your own repairs.
  • If your property is a flat and you become a leaseholder you will generally be responsible for all repairs within your flat and for paying towards the costs of maintaining the exterior and communal parts as well as the services that are provided.
These costs will be listed in the price offer notice you will receive

Receiving your offer price

We will send you an offer price which is the price we think you should pay to buy your home. If you disagree with our valuation, you can apply to the District Valuer to have the valuation re-assessed.

Selling my home after I have bought it

You can resell you home whenever you wish, but you may have to repay a proportion of the discount you received if you sell within five years of your original Right to Buy purchase.


The longer you have been a tenant, the more discount you may be entitled to.
But there is a limit on the amount of discount that can be offered. You could receive up to a maximum discount of £75,000.

More information

If you have any questions, you can phone us on 020 8430 2000.

Warning about right to buy companies

You may not always receive good advice if you ask a private company or another person help in buying your council home.
You could be asked to pay a lot of money for things that we will do for nothing, such as being charged for an application form and help to fill it in when we will give you an application forms and help you to complete it free of charge.
If you need any advice concerning the Right to Buy scheme, you should contact us first. If you are approached by a person or company offering to help you buy your council home, check out what's in it for them and talk to us first.
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Contact us

  • Right to Buy

    020 8430 2000