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 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.
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 four week’s rent.
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.
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?
Your situation will vary, but the total monthly mortgage and rent cost is normally a lot less than renting a similar property privately.
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.
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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.