Repairs and improvements to council properties

Request your next repair with:

Please give us your mobile phone number when you make your appointment for a repair. We can then text you a reminder of the date, and tell you when the operative is on their way.

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 may also charge you for:

  • Routine repairs reported as emergencies
  • 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

Download our Housing Repairs Recharge Costs:

If you’re not sure whether a repair is your responsibility please refer to Section Four of your Tenants Handbook.

Most repairs are carried out by appointment. When you request a repair, you will be offered an appointment during the morning or afternoon. Or you could ask for a 'school run' appointment giving you enough time to drop your children at school (or collect them).


We spend a lot of money each year providing improvements to our properties such as central heating upgrades, 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.

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 peoples 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.

Read more in our Asbestos in the home leaflet:

And the Council's asbestos policy:

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:

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.

If you are a council tenant, and you need help with decorations, you may be able to get help through our internal decorating service. Normally this is the responsibility of council tenants, but we will decorate one room free of charge for certain people.

To be eligible for this service you must meet all these conditions:

  1. We have not carried out any internal redecoration in your property in the past five years.
  2. All the tenants in your property are senior citizens or they are receiving disability benefits.
  3. You have a clear rent account.
  4. 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 you do not meet all the conditions, but we will charge you for the full cost for the work. Internal Decorations Leaflet available (including an application form).

The internal decorating service is dealt with by our Housing Assets Section.

Phone: 01992 564203


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.

There are many small changes you can make in your home to save energy and money.

For independent, expert advice on saving energy in your home, contact the Energy Saving Advice Service or visit the Energy Saving Trust website for information on how to be more energy efficient at home.

Financial assistance may be available from the council if you are an owner-occupier and you meet certain qualifying criteria.

Grants for residents in the private sector

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.

If you are having trouble paying your energy bills or want to find out if you are eligible for any benefits for heating, you can find help and advice from the website.

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:

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 were not included in previous central heating programmes. The Housing Assets Section can advise if tenants' properties are due for an upgrade within the next few years. Phone 01992 564203 or email:

Gas leaks should be reported immediately to the National Gas Emergency Service

Phone 0800 111 999

Download a guide on electrical safety for older people - produced by the registered charity 'Electrical Safety First' (other electrical safety guides available)

Our Handyperson Schemes could help you with some of the small repairs you need around your home. 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.

Many vulnerable people living in Epping Forest District are eligible for the handyperson 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 all the information you need in our Handyperson Scheme leaflet.

There is also a scheme for home owners and private tenants. Read more about financial help for home improvements: Private sector housing 

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:  0345 603 7630 9 (or 0345 758 5592 for Minicom users)


The Council's Housing Assets Section is responsible for carrying out adaptations to council properties.

Tenants can carry out their own improvements to council properties. For example you could fit new double glazing or make improvements to a kitchen or bathroom. But before making improvements you must must get our permission first, in writing.  We can only refuse permission for certain reasons.

If you move out within a certain period, you could be eligible for compensation for all, or a percentage, of the cost of improvements you have made. Permission for the improvement must have been given in the first place, and the request for compensation must be made when you vacate the property. There are a number of rules relating to the scheme.

The following improvements may qualify:

  • bath or shower, wash-hand basin
  • toilet
  • kitchen sink and work surfaces for preparing food
  • storage cupboards in bathroom or kitchen
  • central heating, hot water boilers and other types of heating
  • thermostatic radiator valves
  • pipe, water tank or cylinder insulation
  • loft and cavity wall insulation
  • draught proofing of external doors or windows
  • double glazing or other window replacement, or secondary glazing
  • rewiring, or the provision of power and lighting or other electrical fittings (including smoke detectors)
  • security measures (excluding burglar alarms)

Interior decoration (painting and wallpapering) does not qualify for compensation.

Contact your local Area Housing Office for more information about the compensation for improvements scheme.

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Housing Repairs Service

Telephone: 01992 564199 (24 hour service), Email: