Right to Buy: use of discretionary powers on repayment of discount

Guidance on when landlords should use their discretionary powers on repayment of discount.



Under section 155 of the Housing Act 1985, former social tenants who dispose of a property within a specified period after purchasing it under the Right to Buy scheme have to repay upon demand by the former landlord all or part of the discount they received on purchase, unless it is an exempted disposal.

Section 185 of the Housing Act 2004 amends section 155 by extending the specified period from 3 years to 5 years. Section 155 (as amended) and the new section 155B also apply to the Rent to Mortgage scheme.

Section 185 of the 2004 Act also clarifies that former landlords have discretion not to demand that former social tenants should repay part or all of the discount they received. This note offers guidance on when in the government’s view it might be appropriate to exercise this discretion.

This document was updated in January 2010.