Buying a local authority house or flat

Introduction

Several purchase schemes have been developed to enable tenants of local authority houses or apartments to buy their homes from the local authority. They include the Tenant Purchase of Apartments Scheme (TPAS) and the 2010 Incremental Purchase Scheme for newly built houses – both outlined below.

A new incremental purchase scheme has been introduced – see below. It replaces the 1995 Tenant Purchase Scheme, which is closed to new applicants – see ‘1995 Tenant Purchase Scheme’ below.

Incremental purchase - 2016 scheme

A new incremental tenant purchase scheme has been introduced under the Housing (Sale of Local Authority Houses) Regulations 2015, with effect from 1 January 2016.

Rules

To qualify for this new scheme, you must have been getting social housing support for at least a year on the date of application and you must have an annual income of at least €15,000 per year. You may be able to get a local authority mortgage.

You will get a discount of 60%, 50% or 40% off the purchase price of the house, depending on your income. An incremental charge, equivalent to the discount, will be placed on the house. Over a specified period of years, this charge will reduce to nil in annual increments of 2% of the total value of the house, unless you resell the house or breach the conditions of sale during this specified period.

If you sell the house within this specified period, you will have to pay the outstanding incremental charge on the house to the local authority.

There is information about the scheme on environ.ie, including an information booklet (pdf).

Tenant Purchase of Apartments Scheme (TPAS)

This scheme came into effect on 1 January 2012.

For an apartment complex to be eligible for designation for tenant purchase, it must:

In addition, at least 65% of tenants must support designation of the complex.

When apartments are being sold in a designated complex, the housing authority transfers ownership of the entire complex to an apartment owners’ management company. The management company immediately leases all the apartments back to the authority for continued letting to tenants, who will then have the option of buying them from the authority.

Sales follow the incremental purchase model. There are discounts of 40%, 50% or 60% off the purchase price, depending on household income. There is also a local authority charge, which reduces by a set proportion each year.

Before apartments are sold

Housing authorities have to undertake a considerable amount of preparatory work before they can sell individual apartments to tenants. This work includes:

  • Assessing the suitability of selected apartment complexes
  • Establishing annual maintenance costs in order to calculate annual service charges for people buying apartments
  • Consulting tenants and conducting a vote

Incremental purchase - 2010 scheme

An Incremental Purchase Scheme for newly built houses was launched in June 2010, to allow people who qualify for social housing (including existing social housing tenants) to buy designated newly built houses from a local authority or approved housing body at a discount.

The 2016 incremental purchase scheme for existing local authority houses, described above, is modelled on this 2010 scheme.

1995 Tenant Purchase Scheme (for houses only)

The 1995 scheme is closed for new applicants. If you bought a house under this scheme and want to sell the house within 20 years of the date you bought it, or before you have acquired full ownership, you must get the consent of the local authority.

Where to apply

Contact the Housing Department of your local authority.

Page edited: 18 March 2016