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.

Cheques

  • 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.

Grass-cutting

  • 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.

Leasehold

  • 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 www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/braintree-halstead-witham/
    3) National Debtline: 0808 808 4000 or www.nationaldebthelpline.org.uk/
    4) StepChange Debt Charity: 0800 138 1111 or www.stepchange.org/

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

My Greenfields

  • Why can’t I check my rent account or book a repair on My Greenfields?

    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 My Greenfields’ full services.

  • Can I join My Greenfields if I am a household member, not a tenant?

    No. Only tenants can use My Greenfields, not household members.

  • I’m a garage tenant, can I join My Greenfields?

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

Neighbourhoods

  • 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: Gov.uk

  • 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: https://www.greenfieldsch.org.uk/landlords-consent-form

Rent

  • Why don’t my Universal Credit payments cover the full years rent this year?

    For this rent year (1st April 2019 to 5th April 2020) the maximum amount you may receive in Universal Credit for housing will not be sufficient to cover all rent payments due. This is because there are 53 Mondays in the rent year, but the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 calculate housing costs based on 52 weeks a year, before adjusting for rent free weeks. This is unfortunately outside the control of Greenfields and is the position for all tenants claiming Universal Credit and paying a weekly rent and service charge. You will therefore need to budget for this difference.

    For more information click on the link here: Paying your rent

     

  • 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, you can log onto My Greenfields by clicking here: My Greenfields or contact the Customer Service Team .  You can find our contact details by clicking here: Contact us

    For more information about your rent click on the link here: Paying your rent

  • When are the rent-free weeks?

    The rent-free weeks are the weeks beginning:

    16th December 2019

    23rd December 2019

    23rd March 2020

    30th March 2020

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

    Universal Credit Payments this year

    Important note: For this rent year (1st April 2019 to 5th April 2020) the maximum amount you may receive in Universal Credit for housing will not be sufficient to cover all rent payments due. This is because there are 53 Mondays in the rent year, but the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 calculate housing costs based on 52 weeks a year, before adjusting for rent free weeks. This is unfortunately outside the control of Greenfields and is the position for all tenants claiming Universal Credit and paying a weekly rent and service charge. You will therefore need to budget for this difference.

    For more information click on the link here: Paying your rent

  • 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.

    Universal Credit Payments this year

    Important note: For this rent year (1st April 2019 to 5th April 2020) the maximum amount you may receive in Universal Credit for housing will not be sufficient to cover all rent payments due. This is because there are 53 Mondays in the rent year, but the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 calculate housing costs based on 52 weeks a year, before adjusting for rent free weeks. This is unfortunately outside the control of Greenfields and is the position for all tenants claiming Universal Credit and paying a weekly rent and service charge. You will therefore need to budget for this difference.

    For more information click on the link here: Paying your rent

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

    Yes. All Greenfields residents are in receipt of 4 rent free weeks within the financial year, however we ask that payments continue to be made through these weeks to reduce any outstanding debt.

    For more information click on the link here: Paying your rent

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

    Yes –  normally 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. However this financial year 2019/2020 there are 49 weeks rent you need to pay. The calculation for this is your weekly rent multiplied by 49 divided by 12. This is because there are 53 Mondays in this financial year instead of 52.

    Universal Credit Payments this year

    Important note: For this rent year (1st April 2019 to 5th April 2020) the maximum amount you may receive in Universal Credit for housing will not be sufficient to cover all rent payments due. This is because there are 53 Mondays in the rent year, but the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 calculate housing costs based on 52 weeks a year, before adjusting for rent free weeks. This is unfortunately outside the control of Greenfields and is the position for all tenants claiming Universal Credit and paying a weekly rent and service charge. You will therefore need to budget for this difference.

    For more information click on the link here: Paying your rent

Repairs

  • Why is the water in my bath/shower not as hot as my basin water?

    This is most common in new build properties. Due to government legislation we are required to fit thermostatic mixer valves (TMV’s) to baths and showers to eliminate the risk of scolding when washing. The TMV’s are set by the manufacturer at 39 degrees.

  • What can I do about the damp/mould in my property?

    Most damp and mould problems in the home are caused by condensation and can be rectified by following our guidelines. You will find these by clicking on the link here: Controlling Condensation in Your Home leaflet

    You need to advise our Customer Services Team that you have started the process so they can update your account. Please follow the instructions in the leaflet for a minimum of 4 weeks. If the conditions do not improve, we will then send a damp referral to the Damp and Condensation Team who will be in contact with you to arrange a visit. You can contact us by clicking on this link: Contact us

  • 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.

     

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:

My Greenfields

Visit My Greenfields

Email us

csc@greenfieldsch.org.uk

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.

My Greenfields

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

My Greenfields

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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