Apply for council housing

To apply for social housing you need to join the Housing Needs Register.

The register is a list of all people who qualify for social housing and need help finding somewhere to live.


To join the register, you must be at least 18 years old and meet the qualifying conditions.

The qualifying conditions are based on:

  • local connection
  • financial resources
  • behaviour

Local connection

To qualify under local connection, you need to:

  • have continuously lived in Harlow for at least 7 years
  • have a family member resident in Harlow for the last 7 years and be aged over 65 (if you are applying to move to Harlow for supported or sheltered housing)

You will not have to prove a local connection if you:

  • are an existing Harlow social housing tenant
  • are a current or former members of the Armed Forces – if your application is made within 5 years of discharge
  • are a bereaved spouse or civil partner of a member of the Armed Forces
  • are a divorced or separated spouse or civil partner of a member of the Armed Forces
  • are a current or former member of the Reserve Forces and need to move because of a serious injury, illness or disability sustained as part of their service – if your application is made within 5 years of discharge

Financial resources

You won’t qualify to join the register, if you or your partner has financial resources above:

  • £38,000 if there is a 1 bedroom need
  • £60,000 if there is a 2 bedroom need
  • £75,000 if there is a 3 bedroom need or more

This does not apply to existing Harlow social housing tenants or applicants that require supported or sheltered housing because of a medical or social need.

You will also not be able to join the register if you have housing-related debt totalling £1,000 or more (not including mortgage arrears). If you do, you will need evidence to show repayment plans have been made to clear all of the arrears and repayments sustained over a 12-month period.


You won’t be able to join the register if you have:

  • a current Antisocial Behaviour Order
  • an outstanding injunction
  • a recent conviction related to domestic abuse or hate crime
  • lost your previous home due to antisocial behaviour
  • had a home closed by the police due to involvement with drugs
  • provided false information to get a social housing tenancy
  • been guilty of behaviour serious enough to make either you or a member of your household unsuitable as a tenant

If your behaviour has shown significant improvement and you can show evidence to support this, you can apply to join the register.

Apply for housing

 To join the Housing Needs Register you will need to complete a housing application.

To complete the application form, you will need to create an account or log in using your details if you already have one. This is so that you can save the form and return to it.

If you think you might lose your home in the next 56 days (8 weeks), you should also fill out our online homelessness assessment form

If you cannot complete the online housing application form, you can also contact us on 01279 446655 for help applying.

We are currently receiving a high number of housing applications and it is taking us longer than usual to complete your registration.

The waiting time is currently 16 weeks.

We will contact you in writing once your registration is complete.

Report a change

If your housing circumstances change during the application process, you need to report the change to us.

If you do not report a change to us, we may cancel your application, or if you are shortlisted for housing, we may bypass you for an offer.