Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of our most popular questions from our residents and our responses to them. We hope you find them helpful.


  • We have received a cheque in joint names but don’t have a joint bank account. Can it be made out in single names?

    We can make payments to a single payee. Please return the cheque to us with a letter signed by both payees, stating which individual you wish the payment to be made to.

    Our preferred method of payment is BACS, as its easier, quicker and safer for us to pay money directly into a bank account, so please provide the bank details of the person whose account the payment is to be made to. Once received, the payment will then made on our next scheduled payment run.

    Please always advise us if you don’t hold a joint account, as we would like to get it right for you first time.


  • Why is the area of grass at the front of my house not cut at the same time as other areas in my neighbourhood?

    We don’t own all grassed areas, shrub beds and hedges on every estate. Some are owned by Essex County Council or Braintree District Council, and the frequencies of cutting aren’t always the same.


  • What do I do if I am having difficulty paying my Service Charges for a leasehold property?

    Service Charges should be paid by 31 March of that financial year. If you are having difficulty paying your services, please contact Leasehold Services immediately to discuss alternative options.

    Contact details of other agencies that may be able to offer advice and assistance:

    1) Braintree District Council Housing Advisory/Welfare Rights Service: 01376 552525
    2) Citizens Advice Bureau. Braintree Witham or Halstead office: 0344 499 4719 or
    3) National Debtline: 0808 808 4000 or
    4) StepChange Debt Charity: 0800 138 1111 or

    We also have our own Benefits Advice Service to ensure that you are receiving all the benefit that you are entitled to.


  • Why hasn’t my recycling or rubbish been collected?

    Greenfields Community Housing does not collect any refuse. This includes: recycling bags, black bins, green bins or food bins. You will need to contact your local council for further help with refuse collection.

    If you are unsure which council is responsible for refuse collection in your area, you can find out by clicking this link:

  • I think I have a rat/mouse/pest in my property. How do I get rid of it?

    Greenfields Community Housing is not responsible for pest control. Please contact your local council. If that is Braintree District Council, then call 01376 552525.

    For a list of the pests that they deal with, click here: Pest Control

  • Can I have a pet in my Greenfields property?

    You have the right to keep normal domestic family pets which are suitable to your type of property. Please see your Tenancy Agreement for more information.

    However, dogs listed in the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and any animal listed in the Schedule of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 may not be kept. In addition, python snakes that can grow in excess of 7 feet long and boa constrictor snakes that can grow in excess of 9 feet long must not be kept.

    Greenfields have the right to insist that animals be removed if they are considered unsuitable for the property.

    If you wish to build outside accommodation, other than a hutch or exercise pen for small mammals, then you must apply for Landlord’s Consent here:


  • Where can I find my Allpay reference number?

    Your Allpay reference number is the 19 digit number on your rent card. If you need a new rent card or just want the reference number, contact the Customer Service Team.  You can find our contact details by clicking here: Contact us

  • When are the rent-free weeks?

    The rent-free weeks are the weeks beginning:

    17th December 2018

    24th December 2018

    18th March 2019

    25th March 2019

    You can find our Payment Plan by clicking this link: Payment Plan

  • My rent and housing benefit entitlements are changing. How much do I need to pay?

    Your housing benefit entitlement will also be recalculated for the new financial year. We can’t work out your new payments until you have received a letter from your council to advise of the new year’s benefits. make sure you have your letter to hand when you call in to speak to your income advisor.

    If you pay by Direct Debit, we will calculate your new Direct Debit amounts taking into account your weekly rent, rent free weeks and any housing benefit that you receive. We will then send you a letter about 14 days before we change your payment to the new amount.

  • If I am in arrears, am I still entitled to the rent-free weeks when paying by direct debit?

    No. To help you to reduce your arrears and catch up on missed payments, your direct debit payments could increase and the rent-free weeks would be exempt.

  • Are rent-free weeks included in Direct Debit payments?

    Yes – we charge 48 weeks of the year. 48 divided by the 12 months = 4. We therefore collect 12 equal monthly payments of 4 week’s rent.


  • My energy supplier wants to install a smart meter, do I need your permission for this?

    No, you do not need landlord’s consent to install a smart meter. Your energy meters are owned by your suppliers so they can upgrade them when required.

  • I have loss of power/lights, what should I do?

    It might be a general power cut – look out of the window or speak to your neighbours to see if other homes nearby have their lights on and call your electricity supplier for information.

    If no other houses have had a power cut, check the trip switches on your consumer unit (this used to be called the fuse board). A light bulb blowing or a faulty appliance may have tripped the main switch or one of the smaller switches for a single circuit in your home.

    You then need to follow the trip test instructions, which you can watch by clicking here: Repair Video Guides

    If you have total loss of power, but your neighbours have not lost theirs, you may need to check you have credit on your meter if you pay as you go. If you have just topped up but have no power, you will need to reset the payment meter. Please contact your supplier for help with this.

  • My bathroom light bulb or toilet seat needs replacing. What do I do?

    Light bulbs and toilet seats are the responsibility of tenants to replace, as stated in your Tenancy Agreement. You can watch a video to see how to do this by clicking here: Repair video guide

    If you are unable to fit them yourself, we have a handy person service where we can come out and fit them for you, but you will need to supply the light bulb or toilet seat yourself. The handyperson costs £12 per 1 hour slot.

  • The manhole cover near my house is overflowing. What do I do?

    If the drain is shared with a neighbour, you will need to contact your water supplier regarding this. In most cases this will be Anglian Water on 0800 771 881.

    If you are unsure if it is a shared drain or not, we would still recommend calling your water supplier in the first instance. They will advise if it is Greenfields Community Housing’s responsibility.

  • I think I might have a gas/carbon monoxide leak. What do I do?

    Please call Cadent (previously National Grid) on 0800 111 999 immediately. Once they have attended, you can contact our Customer Service Centre to book a job for our gas contractor to attend.

  • How do I set up my storage heaters?

    Watch our handy repairs video of how to set your storage heaters by clicking here: Repair video guide

  • I’m trying to adjust my storage heaters temperature but the buttons aren’t changing the settings.

    Check to see if the little red light is on next to the key symbol above the display on the heater itself. If it is on then the child lock feature has been enabled. To turn the child lock on or off simply hold down the plus and minus buttons at the same time until the key light turns on/off (This can take up to 30 seconds).

    If the buttons are completely unresponsive please contact our Customer Service Centre.


Self Service Portal

  • Why can’t I check my rent account or book a repair on the Self Service Portal?

    Please check your emails for your verification code, which we will have sent you once we have verified your details. Don’t forget to check your junk mail.  You will need to enter this when you next log on to gain access to the portal’s full services.

    If you are not the tenant at the address, you will also have reduced services on the Self Service Portal.

  • Can I join the Self Service Portal if I am a household member, not a tenant?

    Yes. Household members can join the Self Service Portal, however it will be a reduced service. You will not be able to do things such as booking repairs or viewing the rent account, but you can use it to contact us.

  • I’m a garage tenant, can I join the Self Service Portal?

    Yes – you can join the Self Service Portal in the same way that you would if you were a Greenfields tenant.

Shared Ownership

  • What is Shared Ownership?

    Shared Ownership helps you buy your own home if you cannot afford to purchase on the open market. Buying a Greenfields home through Shared Ownership allows you to own part of the property and rent the remainder from us.

  • How does shared ownership work?

    You initially purchase a share of the property – typically around 40% – and pay rent on the remainder. If your household income allows it, you can “staircase” by purchasing extra shares to increase how much of the property you own and reduce your rent.

  • Is it more affordable than renting a private property?

    Situations vary, but the total monthly mortgage and rent cost is usually around the same as renting a similar property privately. You are also building equity within the property.

  • Am I eligible for Shared Ownership?

    If your household income is less than £80,000 a year, you have funds for a deposit and fees but not enough to buy a home outright, you may be eligible. Download our Shared Ownership leaflet to find out more.

  • Do banks lend for Shared Ownership mortgages?

    Yes. High Street banks and other lenders offer mortgages for households buying a Shared Ownership property.

  • How much deposit will I need?

    This varies depending on your mortgage – it is usually 5% or 10%.

  • Can I make home improvements and alterations to my Shared Ownership home?

    You usually can – if you apply for consent and receive approval before beginning the work. If you move into a new-build home, you must wait until the warranty has expired one year after it is completed.

  • Can I buy extra shares or sell my home in the future?

    Yes to both. With Greenfields, you can increase your share by “staircasing” and eventually own the home outright. To sell, simply contact Greenfields and we will advertise your property on the Help to Buy website for 8 weeks. After that period, you can advertise on the open market with an estate agent.

Supporting documents

Click the links below to download useful information:

Contact us

Contact the Greenfields team on the information below:

Self-service portal

Visit our self service portal

Email us

Text us

07860 024511

Connect with us

Call us on 01376 535400 or visit our social media pages by clicking on the buttons below.

What is a Community Gateway Association?

We give our residents the chance to be actively involved with Greenfields and have a say on how things are done. We provide additional opportunities and resources to our residents, beyond the development and maintenance of their homes. Click the button below to learn more.

Self-service portal

If you’re a Greenfields resident, you can pay your rent or report a repair by logging into your online account here. Click below.

Self-service portal

Our customer service team

Our customer service centre is open 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday, for all enquires. Click the button below to get in touch.

Customer service

Latest news

Learn about the latest from Greenfields and what’s happening in your community. Click below to find out about our latest news and events.

Latest news

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