Housing - Right to Buy
If you are a secure tenant of the council, you may be able to buy your home under the right to buy scheme
Buying your Council home
The Right to Buy is a government run scheme that allows some tenants to purchase the property that they rent from the Council. Eligible tenants can receive a discount of up to £75,000 off the market value.
If you are the tenant of a house, you will qualify for a discount of 35 per cent from the market value of your home after you have held a public sector tenancy for a total period of five years. You will receive one per cent more discount for each additional full year of public sector tenancy you have had, up to a maximum of 60 per cent.
If you are the tenant of a flat, the discount you will receive starts at 50 per cent from the market value of your home after you have held a public sector tenancy for five years and increases by another 2% for each additional full year up to a maximum of 70 per cent. Should the discount you are entitled to come to less than £75,000 then you are only entitled to receive that amount. If the amount comes to more than £75,000 then you will only receive the maximum discount of £75,000.
New proposed changes to Right to Buy
Government has recently announced that there will be changes to Right to Buy during 2014. Changes being proposed relate to discount levels, eligibility criteria and the introduction of a new Right to Buy agent service.
The plans to change discount levels include increasing the maximum discount available for houses from 60% to 70% and to increase the maximum cash cap of £75,000 in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). These increases will require changes to law and it is expected that they will come into force in May 2014 subject to Parliamentary approval.
Another change announced is relates to the minimum eligibility period from five years to three years public sector tenancy. This also requires a change to the law. This is expected to be in place in late 2014 subject to Parliamentary approval.
Right to Buy agents will offer a free service to help guide you through the Right to Buy process, answer any questions and help signpost you to financial and legal advice.
For further information regarding proposed changes please contact the Home Ownership Team on 01279 446424.
To check to see if you are eligible please see the Your right to buy your home website.
How to apply
Harlow Council have produced a Right to Buy information booklet (pdf) that gives you basic information about your Right to Buy, what you will need to think about if you want to take advantage of the scheme and any restrictions that may apply to either you or the property you live in.
Please send the completed and signed application forms to:
Home Ownership Section
If you need any help in completing the form or need to discuss your application in person, it is advisable to make an appointment with a Home Ownership Officer on 01279 446424.
- Your Right to Buy Your Home booklet (pdf)
- Thinking of Buying a Council Flat? booklet (pdf)
- Harlow Council's Right to Buy information booklet (pdf)
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have to be a tenant to buy?
You must have at least 2 years public and/or armed forces tenancy. But if your tenancy commenced on the 18th of January 2005 or any time after this date you are required to have held a tenancy for five years.
What discount will I receive?
You can get up to a maximum of £75,000.00 depending on how long you have been a public sector tenant.
Can I buy my home with a family member?
Yes, you can purchase your property jointly with up to three family members. They must be living at the property as their only or principal home and to have been living they’re for 12 months prior to the application being submitted.
What is a leaseholder?
If you buy a flat/maisonette, you will become a leaseholder. Normally, this means that you will be responsible for the interior of your home whilst your landlord (Harlow Council) will be responsible for looking after the structure and exterior of the block. You will have to pay a proportion of the cost that your landlord incurs in carrying out repairs, maintenance, major works and improvement by way of Service Charges.
Can I resell my property after purchasing it under the Right to Buy?
You may sell your home whenever you like, but:
- if you applied before the 18 January 2005 and sell within 3 years of buying it, you will have to repay some or all of the discount that you received, If you sell:
- During the first year, all of the discount will have to be repaid;
- During the second year, two thirds must be repaid; and
- During the third year, one third must be repaid.
- After 3 years, you can sell without repaying any discount. But if you live in a rural area, you may only be able to resell to the council or to a person who lives or works locally.
- If you apply for the Right to Buy on or after 18 January 2005, and sell within 5 years of buying it, you will have to repay some or all of the discount that you received. If you sell:
- during the first year, all of the discount will have to be repaid;
- during the second year, four fifths must be repaid;
- during the third year, three fifths must be repaid;
- during the fourth year, two fifths must be repaid; and
- during the fifth year, one fifth must be repaid.
- If you applied for the Right to Buy on or after 18 January 2005, and purchased your home and you wish to sell within 10 years of buying, you must first offer it back to your landlord or other local social landlords. Your landlord would have to pay you the full value of your property.
The repayment of discount will be a percentage of the original Right to Buy value. This percentage will be applied to the value at the time of re-sale.
Who values my home if I want to buy it?
Landlords have to do this. If you think your landlord has valued your home too highly, you have a right to an independent valuation from the District Valuer.
Will Harlow Council carry out repairs to my property if I have an active Right to Buy application?
No, we will not carry out any works other than emergency or essential works to your property while you are in the process of purchasing under the Right to Buy. This means that any works other than emergency, inside your property or relating to your property will NOT be carried out. If your property is a flat you will have to contribute to the cost of any future works carried out to the block where the flat is situated. If your property is a house, works will not be carried out by the Council.