When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Applying for right to buy

Once you've been a tenant for 5 years you may be able to buy your home.  The amount of discount you'll get increases depending on how long you've lived in the property.  Some property types can't be bought because they are difficult to come by and needed for social housing stock. 

Changes to the right to buy in Northern Ireland

A new law means Housing Association tenants must apply to buy their home before August 2022. The current house sales scheme for housing associations tenants will end on 28 August 2022. 

There is no change to the right to buy for Housing Executive tenants. 

Who can apply to buy their home?

You can apply if you've rented your home from the Housing Executive or a housing association for at least the last 5 years.

If you’re a joint tenant, all other joint tenants must

  • be included in the purchase or
  • agree to the sale.

You may be able to buy your home before the 5 year period if you inherited the tenancy from someone else. 

Buying your home with someone else

You can buy the house with your spouse or partner or with a joint tenant. Up to 4 people can apply to buy the property. 

Only the people named on the tenancy can be named on the deeds to the property. A person who is not a tenant can give you money towards the purchase, but they won't be named on the property deeds.  Get advice if someone is giving you money to buy your home or if you are thinking about giving someone money to help them buy a property. 

Not all properties can be sold

You can’t buy certain types of Housing Executive or housing association properties, including:

  • 1 and 2 bedroom ground floor accommodation
  • sheltered housing.

These types of properties are excluded from the scheme because they are usually reserved for people who have disabilities or who are frail. Social landlords have to keep hold of these properties.

Before applying to buy

Before you apply to buy your home, make a list of any outstanding repairs and make sure your landlord has these sorted out.  Once the sale completes, you’ll be responsible for all future repairs.