What are the risks of investing in ex-local authority/council properties in the UK? I am referring to purchasing from a private landlord an apartment that was built by a city council for social housing in the 1960s-1990s (and then sold it off with right-to-buy schemes). Typically, these properties are part of larger estates and are leaseholds. The council still owns the ground.

For example, there are a lot of ex-council apartments in London in central locations for 30-40% less than on the "normal" real estate market. I read about the following risks as a landlord:

  • Anti-social behaviour on the premises
  • Regeneration: Councils might purchase the property back to demolish it with compulsory purchase orders (typically to license the land to private developers).
  • Costs of compulsory maintenance work (for example changing cladding)

Any other risk?

EDITED: added clarification

  • Anti-social behaviour can exist around (almost) any property type across the UK, not just around ex-local authority/council properties.
    – dvniel
    Jan 21, 2019 at 15:24
  • 1
    Are you talking about recently ex-council properties, or ones that used to be council owned decades ago? Jan 21, 2019 at 15:35
  • 1
    Make sure you know the exact year of the build and whether it may contain brown asbestos, as this could turn out to be a maintenance nightmare later on: asbestosvictimadvice.com/2016/01/…
    – binarymax
    Jan 22, 2019 at 20:24

2 Answers 2


Buying an ex-council property, like any home, comes with its own risks and rewards. As your question is asking for the risks, The biggest risks can include:

Because there are often negative stigmas attached to council estates in the minds of buyers, it can be tricky to resell at a good price.

For example, Winkworth's estate agents found that "prices are roughly 30% lower for ex-council." but there is, again, an "ex-council stigma".

The same article mentions liability: When buildings become 100% owner-occupied, the owners tend to set up a management committee. If there is a mix, however, the council will be in charge -- this is also something you'd need to consider before purchasing and could be considered a risk to some.


A big risk for a council apartment is that the building will need substantial work done on it in future. This could include major renovations because the building is substandard.

Rent-paying tenants don't have to pay for the work, the landlord does. But if you buy a long lease on an apartment, you become liable for your share of any building work.

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