Introduced in the 1980s, council housing has proven to be a state benefit supporting those vulnerable members of the society who are unable to find affordable housing in the private rented sector. Through this blog post, we aim to learn whether council housing tenants can purchase their council houses in Scotland. For an overarching view of the topic, we will also explore the application of the Right To Buy scheme in Scotland with regards to council housing; as well as discuss whether council houses can be bought in the rest of the UK.

Can I Buy My Council House In Scotland?

No, council housing tenants can no longer buy their council houses in Scotland. Prior to the legislation passed by the Scottish Government and up until the year 2016, Scottish council housing tenants could buy their council homes, in the same way as England. However, the government announced an end of this scheme by disallowing the purchase of council homes under the Right to Buy scheme for new tenants in 2016 and scrapped it altogether in 2017.

The reasons cited by the Scottish Government for revoking this allowance to purchase one’s council home at a comparatively lower price than private property are: 

  • the limited availability of council property that can be availed by those who need it; and 
  • budget constraints that would give the government the financial freedom to meet the rising demand for council homes. 

They have claimed to express that due to the increasing demand for council homes and limited stock available, the waiting list of approved claimants kept increasing over the passage of time as nearly 455, 000 council homes have been sold since the onset of the scheme that allowed council housing tenants to purchase their council house. Therefore, they had no other option but to disallow the purchase of council homes by tenants’ a provision first extended in 1980.

When this decision was announced, there were nearly 400,000 eligible claimants on the waiting list for council housing in Scotland while the government aimed to provide 30,000 new council homes by maximising their investment in social housing ventures.

Can I Buy A Council House In The Rest Of The UK?

You may not be able to buy a council house under the Right to Buy scheme if you are a housing resident in Wales. Under the Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights Act from 2019 onwards, council housing tenants can no longer purchase council property under the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire schemes.

However, if you live in England you can buy your council house, One of the most common ways to purchase council property is under Right To Buy; a government-supported scheme allowing council houses to be purchased by local council tenants by fulfiling the following conditions:

  • the council house is the applicant’s main home
  • the property is self-contained
  • the applicant is a secure tenant
  • the applicant has had a public sector landlord for at least five years


It should be noted that the Right To Buy Scheme only allows council tenants to purchase the property that they are living in and not any other council house that they may be interested in. 

Another option is to purchase your council home under “Preserved Right To Buy” which allows you to purchase a council house that you lived in but the council sold to a housing association landlord. In case, you are a housing association tenant, you can apply for the purchase of your council house by filling out the Right to Acquire Application Form. Meanwhile, Voluntary Right To Buy allows you to purchase a council house that you may not have lived in.

In Northern Ireland, you can buy your council house if you have been a tenant for a minimum period of five years. You will be able to avail a discount of nearly £24,000 when you purchase council property. However, it is expected that the Right to Buy scheme will be abolished in Ireland by the second half of 2022.

Conclusion:

The above discussion highlights the fact that the Right To Buy Scheme was abolished in 2016 in Scotland with the aim to reduce council property sales to private owners and increase their supply to meet the increasing demand of deserving applicants. However, if you live in England, you may be able to buy your council house; as long as the desired conditions are met.

FAQs: Can I Buy My Council House In Scotland?

Will I ever be able to buy my council house in Scotland?

It doesn’t seem so that council houses in Scotland will be up for sale any time in the near future. The Right To Buy Scheme that was introduced in the 1980s has been abolished in Scotland in 2017.

When did they stop selling council houses in Scotland?

Under the Scottish Parliament’s Housing (Scotland) Act 2014, council houses stopped being sold to new tenants in 2016 and the Right To Buy scheme was completely dissolved in 2017.

Will the Right to Buy come back?

After being abolished in 2017, there is no expectation of the Right To Buy scheme to return to Scotland. However, f you reside in England, Northern Ireland or Wales, you may be able to purchase our council house under certain conditions.

Is buying a council house a good investment?

Yes, buying a council is generally considered to be a good investment as not only are they cheaper than private property but also more spacious and built with s sturdy structure.

Can I buy a house on benefits?

Yes, you can buy a house on benefits. In fact, your mortgage application has a better chance of being accepted if you have additional income or savings apart from your benefits.

References:

Council housing – Social housing – gov.scot

‘Right to buy’ to be scrapped in Scotland – BBC News

Scottish council offers reverse Right to Buy scheme as part of major repairs pilot.

Eight reasons every council tenant should buy their home | Daily Mail Online

Right to Buy Frequently Asked Questions

Right to Acquire: buying your housing association home – GOV.UK

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