Legal information on Right to Buy

The following information is for solicitors acting on behalf of tenants purchasing under the Right to Buy scheme.

Mutual enforceability clause

We do not have a mutual enforceability clause in the lease because of our obligations as a housing authority.

Not including the clause allows us to carry out our estates management functions as a landlord and statutory housing authority freely.

Our form of lease complies fully with the Housing Act 1985 and has been approved by the Land Registry and major lenders.

Landscaping fee

On conveying a property, schedule 6 of the Housing Act 1985 allows the council to include any Right to Buy grant, conveyance covenants or conditions that are reasonable in the circumstances.

In every Right to Buy sale there is a one-off landscaping fee to discharge any future liabilities under the covenant to maintain the landscape within the housing area.

The charge is based on the sum required to service the annual cost of providing landscaping and amenity cleansing in the property's housing area. Landscaping is not maintained at public expense.

The council’s housing revenue account bears this cost. All payments are placed in a perpetuity fund for the dedicated purpose of landscaping. Charges are reviewed and agreed by councillors.

The landscaping fees are essential to the right to buy transaction and are included in the s.125 offer notice made to the applicant.

Section 156 (2) of the Housing Act 1985 applies, whereby an approved lending institution will have priority for any legal charge securing an amount advanced to enable the Right to Buy. An approved lending institution, therefore, has statutory protection over this part of any advance.

Certificates for windows, gas and electricity

We do not have copies of property specific FENSA certificates.You will need to visit the FENSA website to get a copy

We have ownership of windows installed in leasehold properties.

Copies of gas certificates and electrical certificates will have been provided to the tenant at the time of inspection.

Deed of Postponement

Further advances must be for an approved purpose under the provisions of Section 156 of the Housing Act 1985.

For a Deed of Postponement, we will need:

  • a typed schedule specifying the proposed home improvement works at the above property with the cost estimates of each (please attach any quotes)
  • the amount of the original advance and name of the lender
  • the amount of the additional borrowing 
  • the fee to cover the council’s administration costs in processing the application (we will not refund this fee if we do not grant consent)

Once we receive all the information, we will decide whether to grant the postponement.  

You may also need to apply for planning permission, building control approval or covenant consent

Leaseholder buildings insurance

The leaseholder policy is a block policy underwritten by Zurich Insurance in the council’s name. You can get more information on leaseholder buildings insurance

There is no provision within the policy to record details of individual properties. However, the interest of the purchasers of properties sold under the provisions of any of the various housing acts and of their lenders are admitted under the policy.

The policy is renewable on 1 April each year. Premiums are paid by the council at that time and are recharged to leaseholders as part of their service charges.

The policy is not index linked but the sum insured is regularly reviewed and amended as necessary. In the event of a claim, the property is insured for its full reinstatement value, subject to the terms, conditions and exceptions of the policy.

Policy coverage is restricted when the property is unoccupied for a period of more than 30 days.

Contact information

Harlow Council
Legal Services
Civic Centre
The Water Gardens
College Square
Harlow CM20 1WG