The official Government Right to Buy website

Dealing with delays

Your landlord must deal with your application within the timescales set out below.  If they don’t, you could get a further reduction on the sale price.

Once your landlord has received your completed application, they need to confirm whether you, any joint applicants, and your property are eligible. They will confirm this by sending you a Section 124 notice (RTB2). They have up to 4 weeks to do this, or 8 weeks if you have been with your current landlord for less than 3 years.

If your landlord has confirmed you are eligible, they then have to send you a formal offer letter (S125) within 8 weeks (for a freehold property) or 12 weeks (for a leasehold property)

Tip: Delays can get complicated, particularly if your landlord doesn’t agree that the delay is their fault. It’s a good idea to keep copies of everything, confirm proof of postage, such as using recorded or registered delivery, or if you deliver it in person get written confirmation from the person you gave it to. This will reduce the likelihood of any dispute over the dates on which forms were sent as you will have evidence.

Applying for a reduction because of a delay

If your landlord doesn’t meet the timescales set out above, or is delaying your application in any other way, you should:

1. Fill in an ‘Initial notice of delay’ form (RTB6) and send it to your landlord.

2. Your landlord must then either move the sale along within 1 month or send you a ‘counter notice’. The counter notice will say that they’ve already replied or explain why they can’t speed things up.

3. If you don’t get a response to your first notice within 1 month, you should complete an ‘Operative notice of delay’ form (RTB8) and send it to your landlord. Once you have sent that, your landlord may have to refund rent monies paid during the delay period – you must continue to pay rent. Any amount relevant to the delay period(s) will be deducted when the sale is completed. Payments in respect of council tax or service charges do not count as rent.

It’s usually quite rare that things would get to this stage. But if you are still having problems or disputes over delays, you could raise a complaint through your landlord’s formal complaints procedure or ask the Department for Communities and Local Government for further advice. You may also want to contact the Citizens Advice Bureau for more information.

Delays – Notice to Complete

The Right to Buy process is designed to give you reasonable time to consider your options, get a mortgage etc. but there are some circumstances where the landlord can require you to respond within a set timescale. If you don’t meet your timescales, your landlord can cancel the application but they must send you warning notices before doing this. If you have had a notice to complete, don’t panic, you still have time to consider your options. However it’s important to keep your landlord informed about your progress.

Default Notice

Your landlord may send you a ‘Default Notice’ if you have not responded to them within 12 weeks of receiving your offer letter.  You will need to respond to this within 28 days.  They may cancel application if they do not hear from you. Where your landlord considers it reasonable, they may extend the 28 day default notice period. This could include if you have been in hospital for example. So it’s important to keep your landlord informed if you are still interested.

First Notice to Complete

Once you have accepted the offer, you will still have some time to finalise arrangements for mortgage etc. However if your landlord feels you are delaying, they may send you a notice to complete. This notice gives you a minimum of 56 days to complete the sale.

Final Notice to Complete

If you do not respond to the First Notice, your landlord may then serve a Final Notice to Complete. This allows for a further minimum of 56 days in which to complete the sale.   If you do not respond to your landlord by the expiry date of the Final Notice, your application can then be cancelled by your landlord. You can reapply for Right to Buy in the future, but would need to start again from the beginning.

Tip: Keep your landlord informed, particularly if you are having difficulties, such as having problems finding a mortgage, but are still interested in buying.

Contact us

For free, friendly, impartial advice contact the Government's Right to Buy Agent service. Our advisers are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. Please remember to give the name of your landlord in any correspondence.

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