Need to Sell Scheme

You may be able to sell your property to the government through the Need to Sell Scheme if you have a ‘compelling reason’ to sell but cannot as a direct result of the announcement of the HS2 route.

Compelling reasons include unemployment, relocation for a new job or ill health - but each application is judged on its merits.

Before you apply

Check if you’re eligible to ask the government to buy your property through:

Who can apply

You must be one of the following:

  • the owner occupier of a residential, agricultural or commercial property
  • the ‘personal representative’ of the owner occupier if they’ve died, for example the executor of their will
  • a ‘reluctant landlord’ (renting out your property because you cannot sell it)

Mortgage lenders (such as banks and building societies) in vacant possession of a qualifying property can apply.

Your commercial property will not qualify for the Need to Sell Scheme if it has a rateable value of £36,000 or more (£44,200 inside Greater London).

An owner occupier must:

  • be the freeholder or a leaseholder with at least 3 years left on the lease
  • be living in or running a business from the property or have done so for at least 6 months in the last 18 months if the property’s currently empty

Read full guidance on eligibility.

You’ll need to submit evidence that you meet all 5 criteria:

  • property type
  • location
  • effort to sell
  • no prior knowledge
  • compelling reason to sell

Property type

You’ll need to show that the property is owner occupied, you’re the personal representative, or you’re acting as a ‘reluctant landlord’ who has had to rent out the property as a result of HS2.


You’ll need to show that your property is close enough to the route that it’s likely to be substantially affected by HS2’s construction or operation. There is no fixed distance.

Effort to sell

You’ve tried to sell the property without success for at least 3 months.

No prior knowledge

You must either:

  • have bought or signed a lease before the publication of the HS2 route section closest to your property
  • show why you could not have known about the initial proposed route, for example if the searches relating to the purchase were done before the route was announced, but the purchase was completed after

Compelling reason to sell

You must give evidence of a compelling reason to sell your property now, or that you would be placed under an unreasonable burden if you were unable to sell your property in the next 3 years.

What you’ll get

The government will agree to buy your property for 100% of the unblighted open market value if your application is successful.

The government will not cover additional costs, such as legal fees or removal costs.


Download the guidance and fill in the application form.

Send it to the address on the form, along with your supporting evidence.

If you’re not happy with the result

You can reapply if your application is rejected, giving extra information to explain why you think the decision was wrong.


Follow HS2’s complaints procedure if you want to complain about the service you received, for example how long it took to reach a decision on your application.