May elections

You must register to vote in the upcoming May elections before Wednesday 17 April. If you cannot attend the elections, you can apply for a postal vote before 5pm on Wednesday 17 April. Find all the key dates on our election news page.


How we allocate homes

If you meet the qualifying conditions to join the Housing Needs Register, you will be placed in a band based on your housing need. We allocate housing based on need rather than the length of time applicants have been waiting.

Band 1 is the highest priority, and band 3 is the lowest priority.

For full details of how we allocate houses, you can read our housing allocations policy (pdf)


Band 1

If you have an urgent need to move, we will place you in band 1.

Band 1 covers:

  • a ‘special’ medical priority (life-threatening)
  • current or former member of the Armed Forces or Reserve Forces with a serious injury, illness or disability sustained as part of their service
  • a recommendation by Essex County Council Social Care Services that there is an urgent need for alternative accommodation
  • a Harlow Council tenant whose home is about to be demolished or developed
  • a Harlow Council tenant living in an adapted property that no longer requires adaptions
  • a successor to a Harlow Council tenancy who we need to move
  • an adult son or daughter of a deceased tenant eligible to an offer of accommodation after a previous succession between parents
  • a notice to quit served on the council by one party to secure a tenancy, when the remaining occupant is under-occupying the property
  • a household living in a property which is subject to a compulsory purchase order and we have a duty to move
  • a person or household that has a need to move from care or supported housing and rehousing has been agreed under a special quota scheme
  • a tenant willing to move by giving up all extra bedrooms
  • a tenant whose house is statutorily overcrowded
  • exceptional circumstances agreed by Assistant Director of Housing following a recommendation by the Housing Options and Advice Manager
  • a prospective adopter with a recommendation from Essex County Council Social Services (maximum of 3 nominations per year)
  • a prospective foster carer with a recommendation from Essex County Council Social Services (maximum of 2 nominations per year)

Band 2

If you have a high need to move, we will place you in band 2.

Band 2 covers:

  • a high medical or social priority (as defined by Harlow Council)
  • a homeless household which we have a duty to rehouse
  • a household with no secure tenancy, dependent child and sharing facilities
  • a former tenant who we agreed to rehouse at a future date when the tenancy was given up
  • a tenant willing to move to a smaller home and still under occupy by one bedroom
  • a person in a one bedroom self-contained property where a parent has to share their bedroom with a child aged three or older
  • a household lacking 2 or more bedrooms
  • giving up 2 social housing properties in Harlow for one 1 property where 2 separate households want to live together and each home is not large enough to accommodate the family together

Band 3

If you have an identified housing need, we will place you in band 3.

Band 3 covers:

  • a moderate medical or social priority (as defined by Harlow Council)
  • a household lacking 1 bedroom
  • a person or household who has a need to move as identified by Essex County Council Social Care services care plan or has been agreed with social care as a means of relieving hardship
  • a current or former member of the Armed Forces or the Reserve Forces that have no housing need - where the application is made within 5 years of discharge
  • a tenant transferring under the Right to Move 
  • rough sleepers in Harlow - regardless of whether they have made a homeless application
  • a homeless person we have a duty to rehouse and are in temporary accommodation provided by Harlow Council
  • a person aged over 65 years that needs supported or sheltered housing


Once you have been given a band, you will be invited to bid on properties along with guidance on how to bid. 

Properties are allocated based on type and size. You will be allocated one bedroom for:

  • each adult single or couple
  • any other person aged 16 or over
  • 2 children of the same sex under the age of 16
  • 2 children under the age of 10 regardless of their sex
  • any other child
  • a full time carer if you or your partner requires permanent 24 hour live in care

You can bid on all advertised properties you are eligible for but can only make 3 bids per bidding cycle. 

Applicants in the highest priority banding will be matched first. If more than one applicant from the same band bids, then the priority date is the deciding factor.