Understanding the various types of mortgages available can be daunting, particularly when considering the nuances of government schemes such as Right to Acquire mortgages. These specific mortgage products are designed to aid eligible housing association tenants in England in purchasing their rented homes, offering a unique pathway to homeownership. By providing a significant discount on the market value of the property, Right to Acquire mortgages present a viable option for many individuals to acquire their first property or transition from public sector tenancy.
This guide will provide an in-depth look at Right to Acquire mortgages, helping you comprehend their advantages, potential drawbacks, eligibility requirements, and overall process, ultimately aiding you in making an informed decision.
A “Right to Acquire” mortgage, then, would be a mortgage loan that is used to finance the purchase of a property under the Right to Acquire scheme. Just like with a traditional mortgage, a lender provides the funds for the property purchase, and the borrower then repays the loan, typically over a period of many years.
The process of getting a Right to Acquire mortgage is much like getting a regular mortgage. You’d need to apply through a mortgage lender, go through a credit check, and provide proof of income, among other steps. However, given that the Right to Acquire scheme involves a discount on the purchase price, this might affect the size of the mortgage loan that you need.
Right to Acquire is a scheme offered in England and Wales that allows eligible housing association tenants to buy their homes at a discount. The scheme is administered by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The discount available under Right to Acquire is a fixed amount, and varies depending on where in England and Wales the property is located. However, it’s generally less than the discount available under the Right to Buy scheme for council housing.
If a tenant chooses to sell the property within a certain time period after buying it through the Right to Acquire (usually within 5 years), they might have to repay some or all of the discount.
The eligibility criteria and rules for the Right to Acquire scheme in England and Wales included:
Housing Association Tenancy: You must be a tenant of a housing association, and the Right to Acquire only applies to certain homes that were built or bought by housing associations after 31st March 1997 and funded through a social housing grant provided by the Housing Corporation or local council.
Qualifying Period: You must have had a public sector landlord (for example, a council, housing association, or the armed services) for at least three years. These years do not need to be continuous.
Property Requirements: The property must be your only or main home and be self-contained.
Tenancy Type: You must have a certain type of tenancy, usually an assured or secure tenancy.
There are also certain situations in which you may not have the Right to Acquire your home. For example:
If you successfully use the Right to Acquire to buy your home, there are rules about selling or subletting:
Please note that the details of the scheme, including the eligibility criteria, can change. Always refer to the latest guidance from the UK government or consult with a housing or financial adviser for the most up-to-date information.
Applying for a Right to Acquire mortgage involves a series of steps. Here’s a general outline:
Check Eligibility: First, ensure that you are eligible for the Right to Acquire scheme. You should meet the criteria related to your tenancy, the property, and the qualifying period.
Apply for the Right to Acquire: If you’re eligible, you’ll need to fill out an RTA1 application form which can be obtained from your housing association or from the government’s website. Send the completed form to your landlord.
Property Valuation: If your application is approved, your landlord will arrange for your home to be independently valued. This will determine the full market price of your property.
Offer Notice: After the property has been valued, your landlord will send you an offer notice, known as a Section 125 notice. This notice includes the full market price of the property, the discount you’re entitled to, and the price you’ll pay after the discount.
Financial Assessment: If you decide to proceed, you’ll then need to get a mortgage. You should seek financial advice to understand how much you can afford to borrow. This will involve looking at your income, outgoings, and credit history.
Choose a Mortgage Lender: Not all lenders offer the Right to Acquire mortgages, so you’ll need to find a lender that does. It’s often recommended to use a mortgage broker, as they can help you find the best deal.
Mortgage Application: Once you’ve found a lender, you’ll need to apply for a mortgage. This usually involves providing proof of income, details of your outgoings, and allowing the lender to perform a credit check.
Property Survey: The mortgage lender will require a survey of the property to ensure it’s worth the amount they’re lending.
Mortgage Offer: If your mortgage application is approved, the lender will give you a mortgage offer.
Legal Process: You’ll need to hire a solicitor to handle the legal side of things. This will include conducting any necessary searches, reviewing the contract, and organising the exchange of contracts and completion of the sale.
The amount you can borrow for a mortgage, including a Right to Acquire mortgage, depends on several factors:
Income: Lenders typically offer mortgages that are up to 4-4.5 times your annual income. For example, if your annual income is £50,000, you might be able to borrow between £200,000 and £225,000. However, this can vary depending on the lender and your individual circumstances.
Outgoings: Lenders will also look at your monthly outgoings, including bills, debts, and living expenses, to assess your ability to afford the monthly mortgage repayments.
Credit History: Your credit history can impact how much a lender is willing to let you borrow. If you have a good credit history, lenders may be more willing to lend you a larger amount. Conversely, a poor credit history could limit the amount you can borrow.
Deposit: The amount of deposit you have can also affect how much you can borrow. The bigger your deposit, the less you’ll need to borrow.
Property Value: For a Right to Acquire mortgage, the property value will also be a factor. The mortgage loan must cover the cost of the property after the Right to Acquire discount has been applied.
Many UK high street banks, building societies, and specialist lenders offer mortgages that can be used for the Right to Acquire scheme. However, not all lenders do, and those that do may have different criteria and terms.
When looking for a lender, it’s important to note that the Right to Acquire scheme is less common than the similar Right to Buy scheme. Therefore, not all lenders might be familiar with it, and you may need to clarify that you are specifically looking for a mortgage for the Right to Acquire scheme.
Some potential lenders might include:
There are also brokers who specialise in Right to Acquire mortgages who can assist in finding the right mortgage product for you.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive and lenders’ policies can change, so always check directly with the lender or a mortgage broker for the most current and accurate information.
The deposit requirement for a mortgage, including a Right to Acquire mortgage, varies based on several factors, including the lender’s policies, your credit history, and the cost of the property you’re purchasing.
Traditionally, most lenders require a deposit that’s at least 5% to 10% of the property’s purchase price. However, under the Right to Acquire scheme, things might be a bit different.
Because the Right to Acquire scheme involves a discount on the property’s market value, the amount of discount you receive could potentially count towards your deposit. This means that in some cases, you might not need to put down any cash deposit at all, or the cash deposit you’ll need could be lower than it would be for a traditional mortgage. This is referred to as a 100% mortgage, where the mortgage covers the entire purchase price of the home.
However, not all lenders offer 100% mortgages, and those that do might have stricter criteria for factors like your credit history and income. If you can afford it, putting down a larger deposit could help you secure a lower interest rate and make it easier to get approved for a mortgage.
The interest rate for a Right to Acquire mortgage, like other types of mortgages, can vary greatly based on a number of factors. These include the specific lender, the type of mortgage product you choose, your credit history, the size of your deposit, and wider market conditions.
Typical mortgage interest rates in the UK could range anywhere from around 2% to 5% or more. However, these rates can fluctuate based on the Bank of England’s base rate and other economic factors.
With a Right to Acquire mortgage, the rate may be influenced by the fact that the Right to Acquire scheme involves a discount on the property’s market value. This could potentially reduce the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of your mortgage, which might help you secure a lower interest rate. However, this is not guaranteed and will depend on the specific circumstances.
It’s important to note that while a lower interest rate can make your mortgage repayments more affordable, it’s not the only factor to consider when choosing a mortgage product. You should also consider the overall cost of the mortgage, including any fees, the repayment term, and whether the rate is fixed or variable.
The Right to Buy and Right to Acquire are two different schemes offered by the UK government to help social housing tenants become homeowners. Both offer the opportunity to buy the home they live in at a discount, but there are key differences between them:
Level of Discount:
The qualifying period for Right to Buy is typically 3 years as a public sector tenant, although this can be subject to change. For Right to Acquire, you also need to have been a public sector tenant for at least 3 years.
Certain types of properties and tenants are excluded from both schemes, but the exclusions may vary between the two. For example, the Right to Acquire is not available for tenants in designated rural or protected areas, whereas Right to Buy is available in these areas.
Getting a mortgage with bad credit can be more challenging, but it’s not necessarily impossible. This also applies to a Right to Acquire mortgage. Here are some points to consider:
Specialist Lenders: There are lenders who specialise in offering mortgages to people with bad credit. They will likely charge higher interest rates and may require a larger deposit to offset the risk.
Credit Report: Check your credit report to understand why you have bad credit. If there are errors, you can correct them. If you’ve had financial difficulties in the past, it might be worth explaining these to potential lenders.
Improving Credit Score: If possible, take steps to improve your credit score before applying for a mortgage. This might involve things like paying off outstanding debts, making sure you’re on the electoral roll, and not applying for new credit in the run-up to your mortgage application.
Larger Deposit: The larger the deposit you can offer, the less risk you present to the lender. A larger deposit might increase your chances of securing a mortgage, even with bad credit.
Financial Advice: Seek advice from a mortgage broker or financial advisor who has experience in bad credit mortgages. They can provide advice on improving your credit score and finding a suitable lender.
Remember, having bad credit can make it more difficult to secure a mortgage, but it’s not necessarily impossible. Always seek professional advice and explore all your options before making a decision.
A Right to Acquire mortgage can offer several benefits to eligible housing association tenants, including:
Discount on Purchase Price: One of the key benefits of the Right to Acquire scheme is the discount applied to the market value of your property, making it more affordable for you to buy. The discount can range from £9,000 to £16,000, depending on the location.
Home Ownership: This scheme allows you to become a homeowner, which offers the potential for increased financial security and the ability to build equity over time.
Potential for Profit: If the value of your property increases over time, you might profit from its sale in the future. However, be aware that selling within a certain period after purchase may require you to repay some or all of the discount.
Freedom to Alter the Property: Owning your home gives you the freedom to make alterations and improvements without needing to seek permission from a landlord.
Security: Owning your property can offer more security than renting, as you won’t be subject to the decisions of a landlord or housing association regarding your tenancy.
However, it’s important to remember that buying a property is a significant financial commitment, and there are risks involved, such as the potential for property values to decrease and the responsibilities of homeownership, including maintenance and repair costs. Always consider seeking advice from a financial advisor or housing counsellor before making such a significant decision.
While a Right to Acquire mortgage can offer several advantages, there are also potential disadvantages to consider:
Financial Responsibility: As a homeowner, you’ll be responsible for all maintenance, repairs, and home insurance. These costs can add up and might be a significant change from being a tenant, where some or all of these are often handled by the landlord or housing association.
Risk of Negative Equity: If property prices in your area fall, you could find yourself in a position of negative equity, where you owe more on your mortgage than your property is worth.
Risk of Repossession: If you’re unable to keep up with your mortgage payments for any reason, your home could be at risk of repossession.
Limited Discount: The discount offered under the Right to Acquire scheme is generally lower than that offered under the Right to Buy scheme.
Resale Restrictions: If you choose to sell your property within a certain period after buying it under the Right to Acquire scheme, you might have to repay some or all of the discount. The exact terms can depend on when you sell the property and how much its value has changed.
Mortgage Approval: Not all lenders offer Right to Acquire mortgages, and those that do might have specific criteria for factors like your income, credit history, and the size of your deposit.
Before proceeding with a Right to Acquire mortgage, it’s recommended to fully understand the commitments and responsibilities involved with homeownership.
Yes, similar to other types of mortgages, there can be additional costs and fees associated with a Right to Acquire mortgage. Here are some of the common ones:
Mortgage Arrangement Fees: These are charged by the lender to arrange your mortgage. They can sometimes be added to your mortgage, but this will increase the amount you borrow, your monthly repayments, and the amount of interest you’ll pay in the long run.
Valuation Fee: The mortgage lender will need to carry out a valuation to ensure the property is worth the amount you are borrowing. The cost of this varies between lenders and the size of the property.
Legal Fees: You will need a solicitor or licensed conveyor to carry out the legal work involved in buying a home. This includes checking the contract, dealing with Land Registry, and transferring the funds to buy the property.
Survey Costs: Although not always obligatory, it’s often advisable to have a survey done to check the property for any problems. The cost can depend on the level of detail the survey goes into.
Stamp Duty: This is a government tax paid on homes costing over a certain amount. The amount varies depending on the price of the property and whether it’s your first home. There may be temporary changes or relief schemes in place, so always check the latest guidance.
Home Insurance: Buildings insurance is usually mandatory when you take out a mortgage. You may also want to consider contents insurance and potentially life insurance to cover the mortgage if you die before the mortgage is paid off.
Maintenance Costs: Once you own the property, all maintenance and repairs will be your responsibility.
Always factor in these potential extra costs when considering whether you can afford to buy a home.
A Right to Acquire mortgage isn’t fundamentally different from a standard mortgage in terms of its structure or how it works. It’s still a loan secured against the property you’re buying, which you’ll pay off in monthly instalments over a specified term. However, there are some specific differences related to the Right to Acquire scheme:
Discount on the Property: Under the Right to Acquire scheme, eligible housing association tenants are given a discount on the market value of their homes. This discount is applied directly to the purchase price of the property, potentially making the mortgage smaller and more affordable than it would be for the same property on the open market.
Eligibility Criteria: To get a Right to Acquire mortgage, you first need to qualify for the Right to Acquire scheme. This involves being a housing association tenant for a certain period, and the property itself must also meet certain eligibility criteria.
Limited Number of Lenders: Not all mortgage lenders offer Right to Acquire mortgages, so your choice may be more limited compared to those looking for a standard mortgage.
Resale Restrictions: If you sell your property within a certain period of time after buying it under the Right to Acquire scheme, you may have to repay some or all of the discount. This condition is unique to schemes like Right to Acquire and doesn’t apply to standard mortgages.
Despite these differences, it’s also worth noting that many aspects of applying for a Right to Acquire mortgage are the same as for a standard mortgage. You’ll still need to go through a credit check, provide evidence of income, and possibly pay a deposit, and the lender will still require a valuation of the property.
A Right to Acquire mortgage can be a good option for some first-time home buyers, especially if you’re currently a tenant in a housing association property. Here are a few reasons why:
Discount: The most significant advantage of the Right to Acquire scheme is the discount it offers on the market price of the property. This can make home ownership more accessible and affordable, especially for first-time buyers who might struggle to save for a large deposit.
Stepping Stone: If you’re a tenant in a housing association property and meet the eligibility criteria, the Right to Acquire can provide a pathway to homeownership that might not be otherwise available.
Security: Owning your own home can offer more security than renting. You won’t have to worry about landlords deciding to sell the property or ending your lease.
However, it’s essential to understand the responsibilities and potential risks associated with homeownership before deciding to proceed with a Right to Acquire mortgage. For example:
When applying for a Right to Acquire mortgage, you’ll typically need to provide the following documentation:
Under the terms of the Right to Acquire scheme, the property is intended to be your main or only residence and, therefore, generally should not be sublet or rented out to others.
If you want to rent out your property, you would typically need to repay any discount you received through the Right to Acquire scheme. Furthermore, if you sell your property within a certain period after purchasing it through the Right to Acquire scheme (usually within five years), you may have to repay some or all of the discount you received. The exact rules can vary, so it’s important to understand the terms of your specific agreement.
Additionally, if you have a mortgage on the property, you will also need to notify your mortgage lender and get their permission to rent out the property, as this changes the terms of your mortgage agreement.
If you are considering renting out your Right to Acquire property, it’s recommended to seek professional advice first to understand the legal and financial implications. It’s also important to check the latest guidance from the UK government, as the rules and regulations can change.
If you have a private landlord, you typically would not be eligible for the Right to Acquire scheme, which is designed specifically for tenants of housing association properties in England.
However, if you’re interested in becoming a homeowner, there are other schemes and programs available that might be suitable for you. Some of these include:
Help to Buy: This is a government scheme that offers equity loans to help you buy a new build home. You contribute a deposit (minimum 5%), the government provides an equity loan (up to 20%, or 40% in London), and you secure a mortgage for the rest.
Shared Ownership: This scheme allows you to buy a share of a property (between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the rest, which the local housing association owns. Over time, you can buy larger shares of the property until you own it outright.
First-Time Home Buyer Schemes: Some mortgage lenders offer special deals for first-time home buyers, such as lower deposit requirements or cashback.
Lifetime ISA: The government offers a 25% bonus on savings (up to a maximum of £1,000 per year) in a Lifetime ISA, which can be used towards buying your first home.
Finding a mortgage lender that provides mortgages under the Right to Acquire scheme can take a bit of research. Not all lenders offer this type of mortgage. Here are a few steps to guide your search:
Research Online: You can begin your search online. Many lenders provide details of the mortgage products they offer on their websites.
Use a Mortgage Broker: A mortgage broker can be a valuable resource. They have a good understanding of the mortgage market and the offerings of various lenders. They can help you navigate the landscape, particularly if your situation is unique or complex.
Contact Housing Associations: Your housing association or local council may be able to provide a list of lenders who are familiar with the Right to Acquire scheme.
Speak to Banks and Building Societies: It might be helpful to speak to several banks and building societies. Some larger lenders may offer Right to Acquire mortgages.
Check with Specialist Lenders: Some lenders specialise in government schemes like Right to Acquire or Right to Buy. They could handle the unique requirements of these schemes.
Ask for Recommendations: If you know others who have used the Right to Acquire scheme, ask them about their experiences and whether they can recommend a lender.
Yes, you can typically refinance a Right to Acquire mortgage, much like you would any other type of mortgage. Refinancing involves taking out a new mortgage to pay off the original one. This can be done for various reasons, including:
To Get a Better Interest Rate: If interest rates have fallen since you took out your original mortgage, or if your credit score has improved, you might be able to get a lower interest rate by refinancing.
To Change the Mortgage Term: You might want to change the length of your mortgage. For example, if you want to pay off your mortgage more quickly, you could refinance to a shorter-term mortgage.
To Release Equity: If your property has increased in value, you might be able to borrow more than you owe on your existing mortgage, releasing the difference as cash.
To Change the Mortgage Type: For example, you might want to switch from a variable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage.
However, before refinancing, there are a few things to consider:
Yes, you can be refused the Right to Acquire based on several eligibility criteria, which include the following:
Tenant Status: To qualify, you need to be a secure tenant of a housing association. If you’re a private tenant or renting from a council, you won’t be eligible.
Tenancy Duration: You need to have been a public sector tenant for at least three years. This can be non-consecutive and can include time spent in different homes, different types of public sector accommodation, or with different landlords.
Type of Property: Not all properties qualify for the Right to Acquire scheme. For example, properties suitable for elderly people or those located in designated rural areas may not qualify.
Financial Standing: Just like any mortgage application, the lender will look at your credit history and your ability to afford the mortgage payments. If you have a history of financial difficulty or if your income is not sufficient, you may not be able to get a mortgage.
Legal Reasons: If a court has ordered you to leave your home, or if you’re undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, you might be refused the Right to Acquire.
Outstanding Debts: If you have any outstanding debts with your landlord, they can refuse your application for the Right to Acquire.
Your housing association will ultimately make the decision on whether you’re eligible for the Right to Acquire scheme. If you are refused, they should provide you with a reason for the decision.
The Right to Acquire scheme is designed to help eligible social housing tenants buy their home at a discount. However, the discount available through this scheme is a one-time opportunity. Once you’ve used your Right to Acquire to purchase a property, you typically cannot use the scheme again to buy a different property.
If your application for Right to Acquire was unsuccessful for some reason (for example, because you were deemed ineligible or because your financial circumstances didn’t allow you to get a mortgage at that time), you may be able to apply again in the future, provided your situation changes in a way that meets the scheme’s eligibility criteria.
If you’re looking for help with Right to Acquire scheme mortgages, there are several resources available:
Mortgage Brokers: A mortgage broker can be a great resource. They have a good understanding of the mortgage market, and they can guide you towards lenders who offer Right to Acquire mortgages and help you understand what mortgage product might best suit your circumstances.
Housing Associations: Your housing association should be able to provide you with information about the Right to Acquire scheme and how you can apply.
Financial Advisors: A financial advisor can provide you with advice on how to finance your home purchase, including whether a Right to Acquire mortgage is the best choice for you.
Citizens Advice: The Citizens Advice Bureau provides free, confidential and impartial advice on a range of issues, including housing and mortgage matters.
Government Websites: The UK government’s website has a range of information about Right to Acquire and other housing schemes, including eligibility criteria and how to apply.
Legal Counsel: Depending on your circumstances, you might want to consult a legal professional to understand the contract and legal obligations of a Right to Acquire mortgage.
Yes, if you’re a tenant of a housing association property in England, you may be eligible to purchase your home under certain schemes such as the Right to Acquire or the Right to Buy schemes, subject to certain criteria.
These schemes have various eligibility criteria, and not all properties will be included. For instance, homes in designated rural areas and homes suitable for the elderly, disabled, or those with special needs may be excluded. Additionally, if you have rent arrears or are subject to bankruptcy proceedings, you may not be eligible.
The Right to Acquire scheme is intended for people who are looking to purchase their primary residence, i.e., the home they currently live in as tenants and plan to continue living in as owners.
You are typically required to live in the property as your main or only home and not use it for any other purpose. This means using a Right to Acquire mortgage to purchase a property that is not your primary residence, such as a holiday home or an investment property, is generally not allowed.
However, regulations can change over time. So, it’s crucial to consult with a housing advisor or legal expert to understand the most current rules applicable to your situation.
When looking for a mortgage under the Right to Acquire scheme, it’s beneficial to work with a mortgage broker or lender who specialises in this type of mortgage. These specialists will have a deep understanding of the unique aspects of Right to Acquire mortgages and will be better able to guide you through the process.
Here are some ways to find Right to Acquire mortgage specialists:
Yes, you can sell your property after buying it through the Right to Acquire scheme. However, if you sell within the first five years, you’ll usually have to repay some or all of the discount you received.
Typically, you must live in your property as your main home for at least one year after purchasing it through the Right to Acquire scheme. After this period, you’re generally free to move, but selling within five years would involve repayment of the discount.
If you sell your property within the first five years of purchase, you will likely have to repay the discount you received on a sliding scale.
This generally depends on the specific rules of the other schemes. Some schemes may not be combinable with the Right to Acquire.
Adding or removing borrowers from a JBSP mortgage can be complex and generally requires refinancing the loan. Always consult your lender or financial advisor before making these kinds of changes.
The discount in the Right to Acquire scheme is usually a flat rate that varies depending on where you live in England. It’s typically lower than the discount provided under the Right to Buy scheme.
Yes, certain types of properties, including those suitable for the elderly, disabled, or located in designated rural areas, may be exempt from the scheme.
You can typically use the funds saved in a Help to Buy ISA or Lifetime ISA towards the purchase of your home under the Right to Acquire scheme, but there may be restrictions. Always check the terms of your ISA and consult a financial advisor.
If your application is rejected, you should be given a reason why. If you believe the decision is incorrect, you can usually appeal. The process for this will depend on the rules of your housing association.
The Right to Acquire scheme doesn’t typically have a waiting list or queue, but your application must be processed, which can take some time.
A standard homebuyer survey is usually sufficient, but in some cases, a more comprehensive structural survey might be needed.
Yes, it’s generally a good idea to have home insurance in place for any property you own. In fact, it might be a requirement of your mortgage lender.
Yes, once you’ve purchased your home, you can usually make home improvements, but you may need to get permission from your housing association first, particularly for significant alterations.