We have three area housing management offices dealing with council tenancy issues, such as:
- rent arrears and other breaches of tenancy agreements
- estate management problems
- neighbour nuisance, hate crime and boundary disputes
- non occupation or abandonment of properties
- sub letting
- tenancy changes such as joint tenancies, succession, assignment
- name changes through marriage, divorce or deed poll
Tenants can contact their area housing office to report problems on their estate, or to discuss other issues such as difficulty in paying their rent. You should note that we shut the rent system down for updating on Monday mornings (or Tuesday if there is a Monday Bank Holiday), so your housing officer will not be able to check your rent account during this time.
The area housing offices are listed at the end of this page. If you are not sure which one is yours, please check the information you were given when you signed your Tenancy Agreement.
What does our housing management service offer?
Abandoned vehicles on council housing estates can beremoved by the Council after a notice has been attached to the vehicle for a certain period of time.
Use the link below for more information and to report an abandoned vehicle.
Residents have the right to enjoy their homes quietly, without being disturbed or annoyed by anyone else.
There are a number of ways the Council may be able to assist:
- we will give you information and advice on your rights
- we will tell you when we will act, and what our action will be
- we will help residents to work with us, the police and other agencies to combat neighbour nuisance and anti social behaviour
- we will be honest about what we can or cannot do for you
Examples of severe neighbour nuisance and anti social behaviour are:
- serious and persistent noise nuisance
- rubbish dumping
- incidents of racial or sexual harassment
- vandalism, or
- threats of violence
See Section 3 of your Tenants Handbook for more information on neighbour nuisance and anti-social behaviour.
Under the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003, all local authorities and housing associations must publish their policies and procedures. These inform the public about the measures that will be used to address anti social behaviour, in relation to council tenancies. Our Anti Social Behaviour Strategy explains in detail how we deal with it, and how complaints can be reported.
Any tenant, applicant or other Housing client can appeal against a decision made by housing officers, or ask for a review of a homelessness decision.
In most cases, apart from reviews of certain homelessness decisions (see below), appeals are considered by the appropriate Assistant Director of Communities. Appeals should be made in writing to: Communities Directorate, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ
In certain circumstances, Housing clients may have a further right of appeal to the Housing Appeals and Review Panel (HARP), if they disagree with the decision of the Assistant Director. The HARP comprises five district councillors and will consider decisions made on the following issues:
- council tenants who have been refused discretionary home improvement grants
- council tenants who have been refused disabled adaptations
- the Council's refusal to sell an area of council-owned land under 50 square metres for garden use
- the Council's refusal to a housing applicant's request for a priority move
- council tenants disagreeing with the Council about their level of liability for current or former rent arrears
Reviews of homelessness decisions must be requested within 21 days of the decision being made. All other appeals must be made within 3 months.
There is a statutory right of appeal in certain homelessness cases which will be dealt with by the Housing Appeals and Review Panel, not the Assistant Director of Communities.
There is a separate process if you want to give us a compliment or make a complaint because something has gone wrong.
Do you keep a pet? Is someone's pet causing a nuisance in your area?
Your council tenancy could be at risk if your pet's behaviour causes problems for other people, and you could be breaking the law. There are several conditions relating to pets in your Tenancy Agreement, and you should read it before getting a pet.
The law protects pets and you have a legal responsibility to meet their welfare needs.
You will need to gain the Council's written consent prior to getting a pet in the following circumstances:
- if you occupy a property without your own enclosed garden and the animal may cause a nuisance
- if you intend to keep more than one dog at a property where you have access to your own enclosed garden
- if you live in sheltered or grouped housing schemes for older people you will not be allowed to keep a pet animal, with the exception of a caged bird or similar pet
If you would like to apply to keep a pet please complete the online application form.
Contact your Area Housing Office if a tenant's pet is causing problems on your estate.
Renting a garage from the Council
We rent around 3,000 garages on housing land in the Epping Forest district. The normal rent is £17.50 per fortnight for council tenants, and £21.00 for other residents.
Some garage blocks are in high demand and have waiting lists, while others are less popular. Garages may be available at discounted rent in areas where there is low demand.
How to apply
Apply online for a council garage, or to transfer to another garage.
Please note that our garages can only be used for car parking and normally you will only be offered a garage within easy walking distance of your home. Garages cannot be used for storage. Please read our leaflet 'Renting a garage' for full details of our terms and conditions.
See Section six of your Tenants Handbook for more information on renting a garage.
Contact the Housing Options section for more details, and for the location of council garages. Phone 01992 564716 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The garden maintenance scheme helps some of the most vulnerable council tenants in Epping Forest. The scheme is operated through Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF) and is targeted towards those who cannot cope with their gardens and have nobody to help. Their gardens are maintained on a four to six weekly basis following an assessment by the co-ordinator. The conditions are:
- Tenants will only be included on the scheme if there is no one physically able, under the age of 70 years, living at the property.
- If you have rent arrears you are not eligible.
- If you have a disability, you can be included on the scheme providing you receive certain benefits relating to your disability.
Contact your Area Housing Management office for more details.
The VAEF gardening scheme is run by volunteers - and more are always welcome. Residents wishing to volunteer should contact the Volunteer Services Co-ordinator at VAEF.
Phone: 01992 564256
We strongly 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 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)
You can find full details the tenants' home contents insurance scheme pack:
To apply, you should complete an application form which is included in the pack. 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.
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.
Note: The Council has done its best to get good value for you in making this arrangement. But it may be possible to get home contents insurance more cheaply, or better, somewhere else. Always check for exclusions and make sure the policy meets your needs. As with any insurance you should read the policy carefully to avoid disappointment. You could make a claim then find it is rejected due to an exclusion in the 'small print'.
Every year, housing fraud costs you thousands of pounds. Your money is stolen by cheaters, money that should be used to improve your local community.
Some of the most common types of housing fraud are:
- moving out of a council property and renting it to someone else (sub-letting)
- moving out of a council property, and leaving it empty
- obtaining social housing through deception, by making a fraudulent application
- fraudulent applications to succeed, after the current tenant dies
- illegally assigning a council tenancy to someone else
- making a fraudulent Right to Buy application
- taking (or making) a payment for a mutual exchange
If you are caught committing housing fraud, you could lose your tenancy and you could lose your right to council housing in the future. Depending on how serious the fraud is, you could also be fined or sent to prison.
When you apply to the Council for housing you are allowed to register for a joint tenancy. This could be with your husband, wife, partner or carer. The advantage is that joint tenants have equal rights and security of tenure, providing that the conditions of the tenancy are met. If one of the joint tenants should die then the tenancy will carry on in the name of the other tenant (although this would count as a succession – for further information see Section Three of your Tenants Handbook).
You should be aware that equal rights also mean equal responsibility so you should make sure, before you apply for a joint tenancy, that it will be the right thing for you in the long term.
Residents must ask our permission if they want to create parking spaces in their front or rear gardens.
Council tenants and occupiers of former council properties need to complete the online Vehicle Crossover Application Form. Permission is not normally given if a driveway needs to cross more than 12 metres of council grass. The Council's conditions are fully explained in section six of your Tenants Handbook.
Contact your Area Housing Office if you want more information or require a paper version.
Owner occupiers should apply to Essex County Council, Highways. Vehicle crossing applications cost £284.63 (this covers inspection and administration of the work).
Paying your rent to the Council
Use our 24 hour online payment service to pay rent, council leasehold charges, council tax and housing benefit overpayments. Follow the on-screen instructions. You can print the information on the screen when you have finished, or you can request an email confirmation to prove you have paid.
Swipe cards. Use your Allpay Rent Payment Card to pay your council property or garage rent at one of our payment points by cash, debit card or credit card. Cash payments can be made at any UK PayPoint outlet, or you can pay by cash or debit card at any Post Office™. Remember to bring your payment card along with the payment.
The Council's payment points are located at:
- Epping - Self-Service Kiosk at Civic offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ. Please take a look at the Map to view the Civic offices.
- Debden - Housing and cash office, 63 The Broadway, Loughton, Essex IG10 3SP. Please take a look at the Map to view the Housing and Cash office in Debden.
- Waltham Abbey - Self-Service Kiosk in the Library, 37 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1EL. Opening times 9:00am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday (excluding Thursdays) and 09:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday. Please take a look at the Map to view Waltham Abbey Library.
- Chigwell - Limes Farm Housing office, Limes Avenue, Chigwell, Essex, IG7 5LP. Opening times are 09:00am to 4:00pm Monday to Friday.
SMS Text message. First you need to register your details with Allpay. You will need your Rent Payment Card, email address, mobile phone number, debit card or credit card. You can text the amount you wish to pay on 81025 and it will be deducted from your account. You will get a confirmation by text.
Telephone payments. To use the Council’s automated 24 hour payment line 01992 564600 you will need a debit card or credit card as well as your payment card.
Direct Debit. Direct Debit saves time and may be the simplest way to pay your council property or garage rent. We offer a choice of payment dates to help you organise your finances. You can pay on any day of the month. Click on one of the following links to download a direct debit mandate:
Return the completed mandate to Communities Finance, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ.
The Government has published a Universal Credit & You informative guide to assist you with any questions you may have. For more information on the topics covered in this guide please visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit. They have also produced a short film about Universal Credit - how it works and what it means for you. EFDC has also published information about Universal Credit within the Benefits section.
When a tenant dies there may be another member of the family with the right to take over the tenancy. This is called ‘succession’ and involves the husband, wife, civil partner, common law partner or a close relative of the deceased.
Succession only applies to secure tenancies and introductory tenancies. With introductory tenancies certain conditions apply which are set out in Section Three of your Tenants Handbook
The rules relating to succession are complicated and you should get advice from your Area Housing Office.
The tenancy agreement is a legal contract between the tenant and the council, and it sets out the conditions of your tenancy. All council tenants sign their tenancy agreement at the commencement of their tenancy.
Flexible (fixed-term) tenancies are granted to all home seekers who sign up to a tenancy of any property. There are some exceptions which include:
- tenants moving into sheltered accommodation or grouped dwelling schemes for older people;
- existing tenants who are downsizing; and
- those who have existing secure tenancies which commenced before 1 April 2012 and are either transferring or entering into a mutual exchange who will be granted a 'post act' secure tenancy (but for one move only).
We operate an introductory tenancy scheme for all new tenancies. The introductory tenant does not become a flexible (fixed-term) tenant or secure tenant until a ‘trial’ period (usually one year) is completed. During the introductory period the Council can repossess the home more easily than it can when the tenancy is secure. The council will only seek to do this if any of the terms of the Tenancy Agreement are breached.
Unless there have been problems with the tenancy in the first year, the introductory tenancy automatically becomes a flexible (fixed-term) tenancy after one year.
Download a copy of the Flexible (fixed-term) Tenancy Agreement:
Download a copy of the Secure Tenancy Agreement:
See Section Three of your Tenants Handbook for more information on flexible (fixed-term) tenancies.
The Council is responsible for maintaining trees in communal areas on its own housing estates.
It is the tenant's responsibility to keep any garden forming part of the tenancy (enclosed, remote, or communal) in a tidy and cultivated condition. Also to keep all existing hedges to a maximum height of two metres, and not to plant Leylandii or Weeping Willow trees. The tenant must keep any tree in good condition.
If you are concerned about a tree and need advice contact your Area Housing Office.