Buying a local authority house or flat

Introduction

If you are a tenant in a local authority home, you may be able to buy your home from the local authority at a discounted rate. There have been a number of schemes over the years to help you do this, including the:

  • Incremental Tenant Purchase Scheme for existing local authority houses, 2016
  • Tenant Purchase of Apartments Scheme (TPAS)
  • Incremental Purchase Scheme for newly built houses, 2010
  • Tenant Purchase Scheme, 1995 (closed to new applicants)

Incremental Tenant Purchase Scheme 2016

Local authority tenants who qualify for this scheme can buy their homes at a discounted rate from the local authority. This scheme is for the purchase of existing local authority houses. It opened on 1 January 2016 and replaced the previous Tenant Purchase Scheme 1995.

Rules

To qualify for this scheme, you must have:

  • Been getting social housing support for at least 10 years. If you have a joint tenancy this applies to both tenants.
  • An annual income of at least €12,500 per year. (Your annual income can be a combination of your gross income from wages and your income from some social welfare payments. You will not qualify if your income is only from social welfare payments, unless the social welfare payment you are getting is the State pension. All social welfare payments except the State pension can only be regarded as secondary income for this scheme.)

The eligibility criteria for the Incremental Tenant Purchase Scheme 2016 changed on 1 February 2022. Previously, you needed an annual income of at least €15,000 and to have been getting social housing support for 1 year, to qualify for this scheme.

You will get a discount of 40% to 60% off the purchase price of the house. The level of the discount you get depends on your income. The local authority will put an incremental purchase charge on your house. This charge is equal to the discount you got on the price of the house. This charge will be reduced by 2% each year, until no charge remains after a specified number of years. This applies unless you resell the house, or break the terms and conditions of scheme during this specified period (20, 25 or 30 years).

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.

The Incremental Tenant Purchase Scheme 2016 was introduced under the Housing (Sale of Local Authority Houses) Regulations 2015. The rules of the scheme were amended in 2022 by the Housing (Sale of Local Authority Houses) (Amendment) Regulations 2021.

There is information about the scheme on gov.ie.

Tenant Purchase of Apartments Scheme (TPAS)

The Tenant Purchase of Apartments Scheme (TPAS) allows you to purchase your local authority apartment, if your apartment complex has been set aside for sale to tenants by your local authority. The scheme began on 1 January 2012.

An apartment complex must meet these criteria to be set aside for tenant purchase:

  • Have at least 5 apartments (other than community apartments)
  • Not contain retail units or apartments designed for older people
  • Satisfy criteria set out in Section 51 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009
  • At least 65% of the tenants must support the proposal that the complex is made available for tenant purchase. A tenant vote must be held to determine this.

When apartments are being sold in a designated complex, the local 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.

The sale of an apartment follows the same incremental purchase model as outlined above. There are discounts of 40%, 50% or 60% off the purchase price, depending on household income. There is also an incremental purchase charge applied by the local authority, which reduces by a set amount each year.

There is information about the Tenant Purchase of Apartments Scheme on gov.ie and in the Housing (Tenant Purchase of Apartments) Regulations 2011.

Incremental Purchase Scheme 2010

An Incremental Purchase Scheme for newly built houses began in June 2010. This scheme allows 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. It does not apply to apartments, flats or existing local authority houses.

Local authorities will advertise if and when newly built units are available for sale under this scheme. Application forms will be available from your local authority.

The Incremental Tenant Purchase Scheme 2016 for existing local authority houses, described above, is modelled on this 2010 scheme.

Tenant Purchase Scheme 1995

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 agreement of the local authority.

Where to apply

Contact the Housing Department of your local authority.

Page edited: 27 April 2022