The official Government Right to Buy website

The Voluntary Right to Buy Midlands Pilot - Key Information

* Please note that registration for the Voluntary Right to Buy (VRtB) ballot is now closed. These pages are for information only. *

Is my housing association participating in the pilot?

Most of the main housing associations in the Midlands region are participating, together with some of the smaller associations. Check the list of housing associations participating in the pilot below.

You can only register if your housing association is participating in the pilot AND you live in the pilot area.

Is my home in the pilot area?

To register your interest in the Voluntary Right to Buy pilot, your housing association must be in the Midlands. Check the list of local authority areas below before you register for the ballot.

You can only register if your housing association is participating in the pilot AND your home is in the pilot area.

Is my home included in the pilot?

Your housing association can decide which properties they sell, and they may decide not to sell you the property you are living in. Your housing association will publish their policy on which properties will be exempt from the scheme on their website.

What options do I have if my home is exempt from sale?

If you are unable to buy your current home because it is exempt from the pilot, your housing association must make you a reasonable offer giving you the opportunity to use your Right to Buy discount to buy another housing association property, this is known as 'porting'.

Porting is a new approach which will be tested through this pilot. Your housing association will publish their policy on porting and how they will work with tenants to give them the opportunity to buy an alternative property.

If you are offered and accept the opportunity to 'port' your discount, your application will be paused to allow you time to discuss alternative properties with your housing association. It will take around three months to identify an alternative property. You should be aware that there is no requirement for your housing association to offer you more than one alternative property (though some may choose to do so) and there is no guarantee that a suitable property will be found.

Funding your purchase

If you are eligible for the pilot and are interested in registering for the ballot, you should consider how you'll fund your purchase. You should look at all costs of home ownership, not just the purchase price and mortgage requirements. The Money Advice Service website can help you work out what these costs might mean for you.

If you are successful in the ballot, you will need to provide your housing association with evidence of your current income and your ability to fund the purchase.

If you buy your home under the scheme, and then sell or sublet it within five years, you may have to repay all or some of your discount.

If you are buying your home with a mortgage, you must ensure that your lender is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. Advice on getting a mortgage can be found on the Right to Buy website.

Are you eligible to participate in the Midlands pilot?

Although the discount level is calculated on the same basis as the scheme for council tenants, the qualifying criteria are different. If you are successful in the ballot, you will need to provide evidence to your housing association that you – and all other tenants you wish to include as part of your application – meet the eligibility criteria.

You are eligible if:

  • You are a resident in the Midlands.
  • Your housing association is participating in the scheme.
  • You are currently a housing association tenant, and you have been a tenant of social housing for a total of at least 3 years (this need not have been with the same landlord, or continuous).
  • You can demonstrate that your property is your main home and has been your residence for at least the last 12 months.
  • You currently hold an un-demoted secure tenancy, an assured tenancy, or a Localism Act fixed term tenancy.
  • You have the right to reside in the UK and can demonstrate you meet the immigration status checks.

You are not eligible if:

  • You are not resident in the Midlands.
  • You are not a housing association tenant, or your housing association is not participating in the scheme.
  • You already have the statutory or Preserved Right to Buy.
  • You are a tenant of supported or sheltered housing (with some exceptions – please check your housing association's individual policy on their website).
  • You already own your own property, and will not end your ownership on or before the completion of your purchase under the pilot. This applies even if the property you own is not your main residence.
  • You occupy only a room, or rooms, in a shared house or flat, even if the terms of the occupancy amount to an assured tenancy.
  • You are a shared ownership tenant.
  • You hold an assured shorthold tenancy (other than a Localism Act fixed term tenancy), a contractual (non-assured, non-secure) tenancy, or if you are a licencee.
  • You have a fixed term tenancy of less than 2 years, or you have a periodic assured shorthold tenancy (including a starter tenancy which has not converted).
  • You cannot demonstrate you have the right to reside in the UK, and that you meet the immigration status checks.
  • You have any rent arrears, or are subject to bankruptcy proceedings or unfulfilled credit arrangements, where there is no likelihood that this will be withdrawn or discontinued between application and completion.
  • You are subject to legal proceedings, where there is no likelihood that this will be withdrawn or discontinued between application and completion.
  • You have committed anti-social behaviour and your housing association has initiated legal proceedings as a result of this.

You are eligible for a portable discount if:

  • You are eligible for the scheme and have satisfied all the requirements set out in the eligibility checklists above.
  • You are unable to buy your current property because it has been made exempt from sale by your housing association.
  • You are a tenant of a leasehold house.
The ballot process

The Government is able to fund a limited number of places through the pilot. To give everyone an equal chance, places on the pilot will be allocated by a ballot. Even if you are successful in the ballot, this does not guarantee that you will be able to buy your home.

The steps for the ballot are as follows:

  1. You must first enter some basic details in the form below. You will need to confirm that you have read and fully understood the eligibility criteria, and certify that you believe yourself to be eligible to participate in the pilot. Once the entry has been submitted applicants will see the 'Ballot Entry Confirmation' screen. You'll be sent an email confirming your ballot entry has been received.

  2. The ballot will be open for a month, after which no further registrations will be accepted. Shortly after the ballot has closed, the ballot will randomly allocate places on the pilot. You will then receive a further email within a few days of the closing date letting you know whether or not you have been successful.

  3. If you are successful in the ballot, a Unique Reference Number (URN) will be generated. You will not receive your URN immediately, but it will be emailed to you within 4 weeks of the ballot closing, along with further instructions on what to do next. It is important to keep your confirmation email and URN safe as you will need this at a later stage of the process.

  4. If you are not successful in the ballot, you will receive an email advising you that you have been unsuccessful, and unfortunately will not be able to participate in the pilot.

  5. If you are successful, you should then contact your housing association to request an application form, citing your URN. You must complete the application form within 4 weeks of receiving your URN, or your number will expire. It is essential that you include your URN when you submit your full application form. If you do not include your URN, your application will be rejected.

  6. Your housing association will carry out detailed checks to verify your eligibility and may request supporting evidence such as proof of identity, immigration status, and any previous public sector tenancies, and will also request a £250 application fee. If you are eligible, your housing association will let you know if your property is available for sale and, if it is not, it will tell you about the option for a portable discount.

Voluntary Right to Buy Pilot - Timeline

Ballot form

The ballot closed for entries at midnight on 16 September 2018.

Personal data

Personal data that is collected through this website will be used to verify and process your application, and for monitoring and research. For this purpose the data will be shared with a third party research provider, your housing association, Homes England, and Pulsion Technology Ltd (a third party website provider).

In registering for the ballot, you are giving consent for your personal data to be shared as detailed in the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government's privacy notice.

Contact us

The Right to Buy Agent service is an impartial advice service funded by the Government to help you to understand how the scheme will work, how to register for the ballot, and whether you are eligible. Further information is available here. If you have general questions about the Midlands pilot, you should contact your housing association, but only once you are in receipt of your URN.