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 £77,900 off the market value.

  • If you are the tenant of a house, you will qualify for a discount of 35% from the market value of your home after you have held a public sector tenancy for a total period of three years. Discounts start at 35% for three years tenancy. This remains at 35% until you reach five years tenancy, after five years add 1% for each extra year tenancy up to 70% or the cash maximum of £77,900 whichever is lower.
  • If you are the tenant of a flat, the discount you will receive starts at 50% from the market value of your home after you have held a public sector tenancy for three years. Discounts start at 50% for three years tenancy. This remains at 50% until you reach five years tenancy, after five years add 2% for each extra year tenancy up to 70% or the cash maximum of £77,900 whichever is lower.

Changes to the Right to Buy eligibility criteria 

The minimum eligibility period has been reduced from five years to three years public sector tenancy, as from 26 May 2015.


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

How to apply

You can apply by downloading the Right to Buy pack containing:

or you can pick up a Right to Buy pack from Contact Harlow

Please send the completed and signed forms in the pack to:

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

If you need any help in completing the forms 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. More contact details are available at the bottom of this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

What discount will I receive?
You can get up to a maximum of £77,900.00 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.

What can I do if I can’t afford to buy my home through Right to Buy?
You may still be able to buy through other government home ownership schemes such as Help to Buy. More information on home ownership schemes

Right to Buy - useful contacts

Harlow Citizens Advice Bureau
National advice service advising on debt, employment, housing, benefits, consumer and immigration etc.
01279 770189

The Money Advice Service
Free and impartial money advice, set up by government. They provide free impartial advice on a range of financial matters, including tips and tools to help you budget, choose a mortgage and work out whether you can afford monthly payments.
0300 500 5000

The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE)
Provides free advice on leasehold properties, including guidance on service charges and ground rent
0207 383 9800

More contacts details for advice