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

Girl in windowBuying 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 £77,000 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 70 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 £77,000 then you are only entitled to receive that amount. If the amount comes to more than £77,000 then you will only receive the maximum discount of £77,000.

Annual change to the Right to Buy discount limit 

From 6 April 2015 the maximum cash discount amount available to eligible tenants will be increased in line with Consumer Price Index (CPI). The maximum discount that can be claimed will increase from £77,000 to £77,900.

These changes only apply to any qualifying tenant whose Right to Buy application form is received on or after the 6 April 2015. If your application form is received before this date you will not receive the increased discount.

A proposed change relating to the minimum eligibility period from five years to three years public sector tenancy requires a change to the law and is subject to parliamentary approval. We are awaiting information concerning this proposed change.


For information on eligibility and for more information please visit the Right To Buy 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.

You can apply by: 

Please send the completed and signed application forms to:

Home Ownership Team
Harlow Council
Civic Centre
Water Gardens
CM20 1WG

If you need any help in completing the form or wish to discuss your application in person please contact the Home Ownership Team on 01279 446424 for an appointment.

The Right to Buy agency service

Right to Buy agents 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have to be a tenant to buy?
You must have at least five years public and/or armed forces tenancy. 

What discount will I receive?
You can get up to a maximum of £77,000.00 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 there 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. More information for Leaseholders
Can I resell my property after purchasing it under the Right to Buy?
You may sell your home whenever you like, but if you wish to sell within the five years you will usually have to repay some or all of the discount. The amount of discount repayable will be calculated on value of the property at that time less any improvements that you have made.

If you sell within the first year of purchase, the whole discount will have to be repaid. Four fifths must be repaid if you sell in the second year, three fifths in the third year, two fifths in the fourth year and one fifth in the fifth year. After five years, you can sell without repaying any discount.

If you purchase your home under the Right to Buy scheme and you wish to resell or dispose of it within 10 years, you will have to offer it first to either your former landlord or to another social landlord in your area at full market value.

To offer your property to the Council, please complete the Notice of first refusal form (pdf) and send it to the Council. Your solicitors or legal representatives will need a copy of your completed form and the Council’s reply. The market value must be agreed between the parties or, if they are unable to agree, will be determined by the District Valuer (the government will pay the costs of employing a District Valuer). If your offer has not been accepted within eight weeks, you will be free to sell the property on the open market.

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.