The pilot schemes

The Government has put in place Voluntary Right to Buy (VRTB) pilots to help test critical features of the scheme and ensure a smooth experience for tenants once it is rolled out more widely.

The original pilot

In January 2016 five housing associations were invited by the Government to take part in a pilot scheme:

  • L&Q
  • Riverside
  • Saffron
  • Sovereign
  • Thames Valley Housing.

Eligible tenants living in these housing associations could start the process of buying their own home, with a discount paid for by the Government. You can read the full eligibility criteria for the pilots on the Government’s Right to Buy website.

As there were a limited number of sales available under this pilot scheme, online registration has closed. Tenants who have already registered an interest in this pilot will be contacted by their housing association to help them progress their application. More information can be found on the Government’s Right to Buy website.

What are the learnings from this pilot?

In collaboration with the pilot associations, we have jointly commissioned the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research to conduct ongoing research into lessons to be learned from the pilots. 

These learnings have been shared through a series of blogs, and a detailed research report.

The new regional pilot

In the 2016 Autumn Statement the Chancellor announced £200m of funding for a new regional pilot of the VRTB scheme. This pilot will last for one year and will test two critical pillars of the original agreement that weren’t tested in the original pilot: 

  • one for one replacement 
  • portability. 

The new pilot will also test the application of the VRTB guidance, which is the policy that details how the scheme will operate and has been jointly designed by housing associations, the Federation and the Government. Our member briefing sets out the latest thinking on the design of this guidance. 

It is likely that the pilot will run in 2017/18. However, we’re awaiting further details from the Government on the region that the pilot will take place in and the eligibility criteria for tenants, and will update on these details as soon as possible.