Mortgages for ex-council houses

Ex-local authority mortgage comparisons are provided by Mojo Mortgages[1]


  • Compare mortgages for ex-council houses and flats, including high-rise and unusual construction
  • Consider seeking expert advice before taking out a mortgage

Should I buy an ex-council home?

Buying an ex-local authority home can be a great way to get on the property ladder and access central postcodes that might normally be out of your financial reach.

They’re usually much cheaper than other similar-sized properties, and often very spacious as they were designed for family living - plus, council homes were generally built to last.

Yet there are other implications you should consider, including the state of the property, the surrounding area and what’s possible when it comes to financing your house purchase.

Man pouring coffee in kitchen

Can you take out a mortgage on an ex-local authority property?

It’s possible to get a mortgage for an ex-council home - although it can be trickier than taking one out for a standard home.

Some lenders are reluctant to lend on certain types of council property or ones containing particular materials, like high-rise buildings and properties with cladding.

What’s more, ex-local authority properties in general can be more challenging to sell than private homes.

Risks like these can make lenders more cautious, which means you may have fewer mortgage options to choose from.

How to get a mortgage on an ex-council property

If you’re considering buying an ex-local authority property, there are a few steps you should take:

  1. Check the freeholder

    Find out whether the local council is still the freeholder. If so, you should look into the annual service and maintenance charges to gauge what you’ll need to pay

  2. Find out about any planned major works

    These are essential renovations that need to be made to the property which will cost any individual leaseholder more than £250

  3. Contact a specialist mortgage broker

    Speak to a specialist adviser with experience in dealing with ex-council homes. They’ll match you with lenders that offer ex-council home mortgages and help you find the best rates

  4. Choose your lender and apply

    Compare mortgage deals and select the lender and rates you’re most happy with, then work with your mortgage broker to submit your application. You’ll need to let them know about your income and outgoings, any deposit you have and your credit score

  5. Get a survey

    The lender will do their own valuation report to check the property is worth the amount you want to borrow. But you should also have your own independent survey done to check the condition of your property and highlight any hidden repairs that might be needed

Types of ex-local authority property you could buy

Typically, most council homes available to buy will be flats and maisonettes, followed by houses and bungalows.

Many council homes were built in the 1950s and ‘60s and were made of concrete or prefabricated.

Some of these homes were made with certain types of concrete which mortgage providers aren’t prepared to lend on - so it’s worth doing some research about the construction of the property you’re interested in buying.

How do lenders decide on an ex-local authority mortgage?

When lenders and surveyors are considering your property and mortgage application, there are several things they’ll be looking at, which includes:

  • The property location

    The safety of the local area and the appeal to prospective buyers is considered

  • Other owners in the area

    Lenders sometimes prefer a certain percentage of the units in a local authority block to have private owners.

  • How it’s constructed

    Some concrete council homes built in the past encountered structural problems so lenders will want to investigate this

  • The resale value

    Lenders will want reassurance your property is valuable enough to secure your loan against

Are there different mortgage rules for ex- council flats?

If the council property you want to buy is a flat there are some extra factors that mortgage lenders will consider:

  • If it’s in a high rise - Most lenders won’t be prepared to lend on any ex-council property located in a building that’s above five storeys because of the potential for extra maintenance costs
  • If it has an external walkway or balcony - If you need to access your front door via a communal walkway this poses a security risk that many providers won’t lend on
  • If there’s no separate kitchen - Some lenders aren’t keen on very small or studio flats and the risks that come with them, including the potential difficulty of resale
  • If there’s cladding - Mortgage lenders can refuse to lend on properties within a building that has cladding materials, unless it comes with an EWS1 form to show it’s been inspected and approved by a professional surveyor

Am I eligible for an ex-council house mortgage?

Your ability to get a mortgage will depend on a number of things including the amount you need to borrow, along with:

  1. How much deposit you have

    This is the amount you can put down as a lump sum

  2. Your employment status and income

    Lenders typically want to see stable employment and will offer a multiple of your income for the amount you can borrow

  3. Your outgoings

    Your lender will look at how your spending, including bills and everyday living expenses, affects your overall disposable income

  4. Your credit score and history

    Any existing debt you have like credit cards and overdrafts will be taken into account

  5. Your age

    Most lenders have a minimum age of 18 and a maximum age of 75

Loan-to-value on ex-council houses

Some lenders will put a lower maximum loan-to-value (LTV) on ex-council houses because they’re seen as non-standard and more of a risk.

A lower LTV is a way of protecting the lender from the property potentially dropping in value.

As a buyer, this means you may have to pay a higher deposit than you might expect for an ex-council home mortgage.

For example, the lender might have a maximum LTV of 90% on standard houses, but only 85% on ex-local authority houses.

This means if you were buying a home worth £100,000, you’d need a £10,000 deposit for a standard home, but a £15,000 deposit for an ex-council property.

[1]For online mortgage comparison and advice Gocompare.com introduces customers to Mojo Mortgages which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Mojo Mortgages is a trading name of Life’s Great Limited. Gocompare.com’s relationship with Life’s Great Limited is limited to that of a business partnership, no common ownership or control exists between us. Please note, we cannot be held responsible for the content of external websites and by using the links stated to access these separate websites you will be subject to the terms of use applying to those sites.