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Voluntary Right to Buy

The Voluntary Right to Buy (VRTB) scheme gives social and affordable rent housing association tenants the opportunity to buy their home, discounted to the same value which council tenants currently enjoy under the scheme.

Previously, this was unavailable to housing association tenants, however the government have announced a Voluntary Right to Buy (VRTB) pilot for housing association tenants in the Midlands, starting on 16th August 2018, which Nottingham Community Housing Association (NCHA) will be taking part in.

Voluntary Right to Buy is only available for some tenants in NCHA’s social and affordable rent homes. It is not available for almshouses, market rent, supported housing or shared ownership residents.

Tenant eligibility

You can apply for VRTB if;

  • You are a current social or affordable rent tenant on an assured tenancy with NCHA and have been for at least the past 12 months
  • You have been a tenant of a housing association or council for at least 3 years
  • You are not on a starter tenancy or assured shorthold tenancy
  • You do not have any rent arrears when you apply and throughout the sales process
  • You are not in breach of your tenancy conditions and NCHA are not taking legal proceedings against you
  • You do not already own a property
  • You are a British National or have settled status in the United Kingdom
  • You are not subject to bankruptcy proceedings or unfulfilled credit agreements
  • You are not subject to the mortgage rescue scheme
  • You do not occupy a room in a shared house

You can apply with up to three family members, provided you can demonstrate that it is the main home of every applicant and it has been their residence for at least 12 months, even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement.

Property eligibility

There are some social and affordable homes that NCHA will not be able to sell to you, even if you qualify as a tenant.

These include:

  • Homes where a legal or planning restriction states they cannot be sold, or they have to remain as affordable housing
  • Homes with restricted covenants around the protection of rural homes
  • Homes where the cost to NCHA of building them is greater than the market value
  • Homes which NCHA have earmarked for block sale or demolition

NCHA does not have full details of all the homes that have these restrictions on. Therefore, once you have applied we will ask our solicitor to check for restrictions to see if we can sell you your home.

Portable discount

If you qualify as a tenant, but your home is one that NCHA cannot sell, you may be able to transfer your discount to buy an alternative property. If this is the case, NCHA will work with you to try and identify a suitable property. This may be one from our current or upcoming empty properties, from our pipeline of new homes or from another housing association.

The discount

The discount available is based on the total number of years you have been a social housing tenant. For 3 to 5 years tenancy you qualify for a 35% discount and the discount increases by 1% for each additional year of tenancy, up to a maximum discount of 70% or £80,900, whichever is lower.
If you are buying a flat or leasehold property, the discount starts at a higher level. For 3 to 5 years tenancy you qualify for a 50% discount and the discount increases by 2% for each additional year of tenancy, up to a maximum of 70% or £80,900, whichever is lower.

How to apply

Before you apply to NCHA you must obtain a Unique Reference Number (URN) from the government, via their Voluntary Right to Buy webpage: 

Please note: we cannot accept applications until you have a URN.

The gateway on the website will open on 16th August 2018 and will stay open for one calendar month, until midnight on Sunday 16th September 2018.

Please be aware that a limited number of URNs will be available and not every applicant will be able to receive one. Additionally, even if you do receive a URN, there is no guarantee you will be able to buy your home. This depends also on the eligibility of your home and its affordability to you.

Applicants will be chosen at random by ballot after the gateway has closed. The ballot process has been chosen to ensure fair distribution of the limited number of URNs available.

Right to Acquire

If you cannot buy your home with Voluntary Right to Buy you may still be able to with Right to Acquire.

To qualify you must:
  • Have spent a total of three years as a public sector tenant, if your tenancy started after January 18th 2005 
  • Live in a house or flat which is a self-contained property and is your only or main home
  • Live in a property built or bought by NCHA on or after 1st April 1997. 
There are other restrictions on Right to Acquire, for example most rural homes are exempt. To find out if you qualify contact the NCHA Sales Team via email on or call 0845 650 1204.

Further details

Visit the government’s Voluntary Right to Buy webpage for further guidance on the scheme: 

You can also contact the government’s Right to Buy Agents, who can offer free, friendly and impartial advice on Right to Buy options. Remember to give the name of Nottingham Community Housing Association as your landlord.

Telephone: 0300 123 0913

Additionally, our NCHA Sales Team will be looking after Voluntary Right to Buy applications. You can contact them via email on or call 0845 650 1204.

Take a look at our Voluntary Right to Buy Policy for more information.