Voluntary Right to Buy pilot

How it works

First things first! This is a time-limited pilot, that will run for 2 years and as such, there is only a limited pot of government money to reimburse housing associations for the Voluntary Right to Buy discount. The scheme is run as a ballot by Government, which eligible households applying to buy their home will be entered into. It is important to note that Orbit has no control over this process.

The ballot will be open for one month, closing on 16 September 2018

If successful, you will receive a ‘unique reference number’, which will allow you to start the application process with Orbit. You will need to apply to us within four weeks of receiving your ‘unique reference number’. The deadline to apply for the Voluntary Right to Buy pilot has now passed. Please note without a ‘unique reference number’ we are not permitted to process your application.


You are eligible for the scheme if you have been a social tenant for at least 3 years and have lived in your current home for at least 12 months. If you only have been with Orbit 1 year but with a different social landlord (council or housing association) for a further 2 years, your total tenancy length will equal 3 years and you will qualify (see Frequently Asked Questions for more detail and other eligibility criteria).

The discount available is the same as under the statutory Right to Buy and the Preserved Right to Buy. The discount is based on:

  • the number of years you have been a social tenant
  • the type of property you are buying – a flat or house
  • the value of your current home

The maximum discount available is 70% or £80,900 - whichever is lower.

For full scheme details, see our Voluntary Right to Buy policy.

Property Exclusions

Not all properties are eligible for the Voluntary Right to Buy. Housing associations have the discretion to exclude properties. Our exclusion criteria are set out in the Voluntary Right to Buy Properties Exclusion Policy.

To find out if your home is included or excluded from the Voluntary Right to Buy, fill in your details in our customer and property eligibility checker.

If your home is excluded from the Voluntary Right to Buy, you will have the choice of buying an alternative property, subject to availability. You will often see this referred to within Voluntary Right to Buy literature as portability. It means that you can take (i.e. port) the Voluntary Right to Buy discount across to the alternative property that we will have offered to you.

If you wish to proceed with portability we will ask that you complete a ‘portability preferences form’. Once you have done this, we will monitor our upcoming vacant properties to offer you a property that meets your portability preferences, and we will talk you through the process from there. The discount is based on the alternative property you are purchasing. You can find out more about how this works in our Voluntary Right to Buy Portable Discount Policy. Where an alternative property to port to can’t be found within three months from the property eligibility outcome date, your VRTB application will be closed down.

Applying for the Voluntary Right to Buy

The process to buying your home could take between 12 and 18 months; however it might take longer if you go down the ‘portability’ route. Any timeframes listed are a guide only, and due to the number of checks we are required to carry out, it may take longer to process your application.

Click here for your step-by-step guide

Help and support

We recognise that not everyone has ready access to a computer and the internet. If you have difficulty accessing the Government’s 'Digital Gateway’ or online information, then please get in touch with our Customer Service Centre on 0800 678 1221, and we will be able to assist you. Equally, let us know if you require the application form in hard copy, large print or any other accessible format.

More information 

The Government-funded Right to Buy Agents are able to provide free and impartial advice on all aspects of the scheme. Alternatively you can speak to an adviser on 0300 123 0913.

Homeownership is a big financial commitment, so it is important to plan carefully what you will be able to comfortably afford. Please note that Orbit won’t be able to provide financial or mortgage advice. You will have to make your own arrangements to seek advice and guidance.

The Government’s Right to Buy Agents are able to provide advice on affordability and the cost of home ownership.

The Money Advice Service, an independent organisation set up by Government, can provide free impartial advice on a range of financial matters, including tips and tools to help you budget, choose a mortgage and work out whether you can afford monthly payments. Alternatively you can call them on 0800 138 7777.

We have pulled together Frequently Asked Questions which you might find useful.