Right to acquire
Produced in partnership with Kevin Long of Hackney Community Law Centre
Right to acquire

The following Local Government practice note produced in partnership with Kevin Long of Hackney Community Law Centre provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Right to acquire
  • What is the Right to acquire?
  • Poor take-up by tenants of the RTA scheme
  • Comparison with RTB: key differences
  • RTA guidance
  • RTA statutory code
  • Eligibility
  • Landlord requirement
  • Tenancy requirement
  • Public funding requirement
  • More...

What is the Right to acquire?

The Right to acquire (RTA) gives eligible housing association tenants a statutory right to buy the freehold or long leasehold interest in a residential property at a fixed discount.

Ostensibly, RTA mimics the better known statutory Right to Buy (RTB) that is available to most secure tenants (and indeed shares much of the same legislation); however, RTA was introduced later than the RTB (by the Housing Act 1996); only coming into effect from 1 April 1997 onwards.

Poor take-up by tenants of the RTA scheme

RTA is far less popular than RTB.

According to government statistics (Social Housing Sales: 2017–18, England), out of a combined annual total of 20,891 social housing sales by local authorities and housing associations in England (including disposals of vacant stock), there were:

  1. 16,056 sales made under either the RTB or the Preserved RTB (PRTB) (77%), but only:

  2. 790 sales made under RTA (4%)

Factors contributing to the poor take-up of RTA include:

  1. complex rules

  2. a lack of transparency or record keeping about whether a particular housing association property has received public funding or not

  3. a lack of transparency or record keeping about the level of debt applying to a particular property

  4. poor publicity about the scheme by comparison to RTB

  5. low awareness of the scheme amongst housing association tenants

  6. the low level of fixed rate discount

  7. many housing association

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