The Private Sector Housing team at Colchester Borough Council help people who own their own home or rent their home from a private landlord or Housing Association to ensure that home is safe and suited to their needs.
If a private landlord or Housing Association is not maintaining a property or carrying out necessary repairs, we may be able to help. The tenant should give their landlord a chance to rectify any problems, but if they feel that they are not being addressed, they can contact the team on 01206 282581. We will contact the landlord and arrange to inspect the property if appropriate. We would identify any defects or repairs with the property that may cause health and safety hazards. We will then liaise with the landlord or agent to ensure that the works needed to remove those health and safety hazards are completed. For example, this may be to resolve issues of damp and mould, lack of adequate heating or hot water, unsafe stairs or steps, unsafe electrics or poorly designed bathrooms or kitchens and a range of other issues.
If a disabled or elderly person is finding it difficult to maintain their independence living at home we may be able to help. For example, if someone is finding it difficult to manage the stairs or any external steps, or to get in and out of the property, to use their bathroom safely or to access the community then we may be able to assist in funding appropriate adaptations through a Disabled Facilities Grant. The first step is for an Occupational Therapist from Essex County Social Care to make an assessment of the person’s needs. If they consider that major adaptations are needed they will make a referral to us. If minor aids or adaptations are needed they will arrange for these – for example hand rails, grab rails or bathing aids. Contact them on Tel 0345 603 7630.
Disabled Facilities Grants are means tested, so depending on how much money the person has in income and savings, they may have to contribute to the cost of the works. However, if the person is in receipt of a low income or has limited savings or is in receipt of a means tested benefit such as Housing Benefit or Guaranteed Pension Credit then they would not have to pay towards the work. We would devise a specification of works needed and arrange for contractors to price this and help the person to complete the application paperwork. The works would be completed and the contractor would be paid by the Council.
These are just the main services offered by the team. There are a range of other ways in which we may also be able to assist with housing conditions and housing related problems. If we are unable to help we should be able to direct you to other services within the Council or externally that may be able to. Please call 01206 282581 and ask to speak to the Duty Private Sector Housing Officer or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Animal Services team may also be of interest to you. We provide pest control treatments for pests such as rats and mice, fleas, wasps, cockroaches etc. We can also advise on pest prevention to prevent pests coming back, there are reduced fees for people in receipt of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit. We also deal with stray dogs and offer a free dog micro chipping service. All dog owners are required to have their dogs microchipped from April 2016 when new rules come into effect. We can visit people in their home and complete this free of charge. Call 01206 282581 to arrange for either of these services.”