Name: Exceptions to the right to buy
Description: Right to buy: Exceptions to the right to buy
Skip to content Accessibility access to: Home page Accessibility access to: Accessibility

Exceptions to the right to buy

The law says you do not have the Right to Buy if your home:

  • is particularly suitable for occupation by elderly persons, taking into account its location, size, design, heating system and other features;
  • was let to you or the previous tenant for occupation by a person aged 60 or over, whether they were the tenant or not
  • was first let (to you or someone else) before 1 January 1990.

When considering if your home is 'particularly suitable', the Council must ignore features that you have provided (for example, a central heating system).

What if I don't agree with the decision?

Contact the Residential Property Tribunal at 10 Alfred Place, London, WC1E 7LR, telephone number 0207 446 7700.

What happens then?

When both sides have had the chance to put their case and the facts have been established, the Residential Property Tribunal will decide whether or not your home is excluded from the Right to Buy. If the Residential Property Tribunal decides that your home is particularly suitable for occupation by elderly persons, you will not have the right to buy it.

If the decision is that your home is not particularly suitable for occupation by elderly persons, you will be able to go ahead with your purchase unless there is some other reason why you do not have the Right to Buy (see overleaf).

Other exceptions to the Right to Buy

Other exceptions to the Right to Buy are:

  • Sheltered housing for the elderly, the physically disabled, the mentally ill or the mentally disabled. Special rules must be met in these cases.
  • Houses and flats on land bought for development, and which are being used as temporary housing before the land is developed.
  • The tenancies of employees who have to live in homes owned by their employers so that they can be near their work.
  • The tenancies of employees whose home is inside the boundaries of a school, a social service home, another type of operational building or a cemetery.
  • The tenancies of members of a police force whose homes have been provided free from rent and rates.
  • The tenancies of fire authority employees who have to live near to the station they work in and whose homes have been provided by the employer.
  • Temporary lettings (of up to 3 years) of homes usually let to the employees mentioned above.*
  • Some homes which are let as part of business or agricultural premises (for example public houses, farms, shops).
  • Homes which the Council has leased from someone else and which have to be given up empty when the owner wants them.
  • Almshouses.
  • Homes which are let by a charitable registered social Council, a charitable housing trust or association, by certain co-operative housing associations, or by a housing association or other registered social Council which has not received grants from public funds.
  • Tenancies given to students so they can follow certain full-time courses at a university or college. This rule does not apply if the tenancy continues for more than 6 months after the tenant stops attending the course.*
  • The tenancies of people moving into the area from another district to take up a job and given a home temporarily while they look for a permanent home. This rule does not apply if tenants are still living there after one year.*
  • Tenancies for homeless people secured under section 193 of the Housing Act 1996.
  • The tenancies of people who used to be squatters but have now been given a licence to occupy a home.
  • Long fixed-term leases (of over 21 years).
  • Temporary lettings to people who were not secure tenants in their previous homes which are being improved or repaired.

For exclusions marked * to count, the tenant must be notified before the start of the tenancy.

Homes due to be demolished

If the Council intends to demolish your home, it must serve you with a demolition notice and this will suspend the Right to Buy.

Defective dwellings

Certain types of houses and flats have been designated as defective under Part 16 of the Housing Act 1985, because:

  • they are defective by reason of their design or construction; and
  • their value has been reduced substantially because their defects have become generally known.

If your home is one of these, the Council must tell you before you buy.

Last Updated: 21st November 2018 Print Link

Share Facebook Share Twitter