Repairs and improvements to council properties
Many repairs are the council’s responsibility, such as external repairs and guttering. But in other cases it is the tenant's responsibility to fix a fault. For example tenants are responsible for electric plugs, fuses and bulbs.
Please remember that we will recharge you for any repairs completed which are not the council’s responsibility. You will be charged for the cost of the work, plus an administration charge and VAT. We will also charge you for:
- Repairs reported out of hours that are not emergencies
- All false calls and unnecessary visits
- Faults resulting from damage you have caused
- Repairs to your own fixtures and fittings
- Lost keys and damage caused by forcing entry
If you’re not sure whether a repair is your responsibility please refer to our leaflet “Repairs and improvements to your home”
We have target times of 24 hours, 3 working days, 5 working days and six weeks, depending on the urgency for the repair. Some repairs can be carried out by appointment. In some cases the repair may need to be inspected first.
We spend a lot of money each year providing improvements to our properties such as central heating upgrades, improvements to kitchens and bathrooms and installations of door entry systems. Tenants can contact our Housing Assets Section to find out if any improvements are planned for their property.
Improvements are not generally undertaken for tenants who have rent arrears.Tenants can carry out improvements to their council property themselves, but they must obtain our permission first, in writing. We can only refuse permission for certain reasons. Tenants may be eligible for reimbursement for part of the cost of improvements if they vacate within a certain period under the Compensation for Tenants Improvements Scheme.
Request a repair
Tenants should contact the council's housing repairs service to request a repair to their home.
Telephone Call Housing Repairs on 01992 564199 between 9am and 5:15pm, or on 01992 564000 if an emergency repairs is needed outside office hours.
Email You can request a repair by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tenants are responsible for carrying out certain repairs, while others are the council's responsibility. You may be recharged if you ask us to carry out a repair that is your responsibility, or if you call us out of hours for a non-emergency repair. Only current council tenants can use the housing repairs service.
Asbestos is a hazardous substance which can have health implications if not handled correctly. It is not classed as household waste.
Until the 1980s, asbestos was commonly used in building materials for homes, usually for fireproofing. Asbestos material can release fibres into the air if they are disturbed or damaged, which can cause damage to people's lungs. Certain asbestos is particularly dangerous and should be removed. Other asbestos is not dangerous provided certain steps are taken.
If you have a query regarding asbestos removal, please contact Essex County Council:
- Waste and Recycling Helpline on 0845 603 7625
or for information go to:
Essex County Council website - Asbestos
Council tenants can contact the Housing Repairs Service if they have queries about asbestos.
Download our leaflet for council tenants 'Asbestos in the home'
Central heating for council tenants
Most of the council's properties have been installed with central heating. We have an on-going programme to upgrade heating systems and to provide new systems where properties have been omitted from previous central heating programmes. The Housing Assets Section can advise if tenants' properties are due for an upgrade within the next few years.
Contact Gracelands in the event of any breakdown of council-owned gas appliances (see contact details below).
Compensation for tenants improvement scheme
Many council tenants carry out improvements to their homes (for example central heating, double glazing, kitchen or bathroom improvements). They may be eligible for compensation for all, or a percentage, of the cost of the improvement if they move out.
Permission for the improvement must have been given in the first place, and the request for compensation must be made when the tenant vacates. There are a number of rules relating to the scheme.
The Government has published a leaflet on compensation for tenants' improvements.
Contact your local Area Housing Office for more information.
Contents insurance for council tenants
Home contents insurance for council tenants
We advise our tenants to take out adequate home contents insurance
The insurance should cover decorations, goods or belongings that you own and keep at the premises, including outbuildings. This is important because your building is insured by the council - but we do not insure your furniture, belongings and decorations against theft, fire, vandalism or burst pipes.
A tenants' home contents insurance scheme has been specially designed for our tenants and leaseholders. It has been arranged by the council in association with Aon through Aviva
The advantages are:
- Affordable premiums
- Tenants can pay weekly, fortnightly, monthly or annually - and are several ways to pay
- Special low minimum sums insured (from £6,000 of you are over the age of 60)
- "New for old" insurance (except linen and clothing)
- The first part of a claim does not have to be paid by the tenant
You can find full details in our tenants' home contents insurance scheme leaflet.
To apply, you should complete an application form which can be downloaded below. Please read the leaflet first and make sure you have answered all the questions on the application, then sign the declaration and return the form to: Wessex Administration Services, Jewry House, Jewry Street, Winchester SO23 8RZ.
Alternatively we can post an information pack and application form to you. If you prefer this option, please complete the following form.
If you have queries about the scheme, or you wish to make a claim, please write to: Wessex Administration Services Ltd, Jewry House, Jewry Street, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 8RZ, or phone 01962 844454.
Damp and mould
Keep your home free from damp and mould
Is your home damp? Damp can cause mould on walls, and it can ruin your decorations and furniture. Damp housing encourages the growth of mould and mites, and can increase the risk of respiratory illness.
One of the most common causes of damp is condensation. Our leaflet explains how you can keep it to a minimum, so reducing the risk of dampness and mould growth. It also explains how to identify common defects which cause dampness to penetrate the walls of a dwelling. In cases where you can identify these, please contact the Housing Repairs Section. Phone 01992 564199 or email: email@example.com
When council properties are let to new tenants, a decoration allowance may be given (if we decide it is needed). The sum allowed depends on the amount of work required. It is paid in the form of Homebase vouchers for decoration materials. The voucher is a plastic card which is swiped at the store. The value of the products purchased will be taken from the total amount that has been credited to the account by us.
Decoration allowances are dealt with by your Area Housing Office.
Decorating service for older tenants
If you are a council tenant, and you need help with decorating, you may be able to get help through our internal decorations service. Normally all internal decorating is the responsibility of council tenants, but we will decorate one room free of charge for certain people.
To apply for this service you must meet all these conditions:
- We have not carried out any internal redecoration in your property in the past five years.
- All the tenants in your property are senior citizens or they are receiving disability benefits.
- You have a clear rent account.
- Your property has no more than two bedrooms.
You can choose the room you want to have decorated, and the colour of the paint. If you would like wallpaper we have a range for you to choose from.
We may be able to decorate a room, even if the tenant does not meet all the above conditions, but we will charge for the full cost for the work. Internal Decorations Leaflet available (including an application form)
The internal decoration service is dealt with by our Housing Assets Section.
You could be eligible for financial help if you are making your home more energy efficient. Follow this link to get advice from GOV.UK website.
The council's housing assets section carries out works including double-glazing, over-cladding and cavity wall insulation to improve the energy efficiency of our council properties.
Gas leaks should be reported immediately to the National Gas Emergency Service
Phone 0800 111 999
Gas repairs and servicing
The council is responsible for repairs and servicing of council-owned gas heating systems, and appliances such as central heating, boilers or gas fires. Breakdowns should be reported direct to our contractors.
Council owned appliances must be serviced every year and the contractor will write to tenants to advise them when their service is due. If you do not give access to the contractor, we may take legal action.
Contact details for our contractor:
Telephone 020 8502 2250 (24 hours)
Under the terms of your tenancy agreement, you are expected to deal with certain repairs and DIY tasks. But not all council tenants are capable of replacing light bulbs or tap washers, or putting up shelving. Our Handyperson Schemes could help you with some of the small repairs needed around your home.
Many vulnerable people living in Epping Forest District are eligible for the service and there are two schemes for council tenants covering:
- Tenants living in council-owned sheltered housing, and
- Tenants living in other council owned homes throughout the district
You'll find the information you need in our Handyperson Scheme leaflet.
There is also a scheme for home owners and private tenants.
Home adaptations for people with disabilities
We may be able to adapt council properties to make them more accessible for tenants with disabilities. Adaptations can include ramps, handrails, showers and stairlifts. These works will only be undertaken if they have been assessed as necessary by Essex County Council’s Adult Social Care Department.
Tenants should contact the Occupational Therapy Service of the Adult Social Care Department to arrange an assessment. Phone: 0845 603 7630
The Housing Assets Section is responsible for carrying out adaptations to council properties.