Repairs & Maintenance

Need to report a repair?

South Essex Homes, on behalf of the Council is responsible for keeping the 'common parts' of your block in good repair. You, as a leaseholder, can report communal repairs via our Customer Contact Centre on 0800 833 160 or via email to


What repairs are South Essex Homes responsible for?

In general terms, the following are the responsibility of South Essex Homes:

  • Structure
  • Roofs, drains, gutters and pipes outside of the property
  • External entrance doors
  • Window Frames and communal glass panes
  • External paintwork/decoration
  • External Paths and Steps
  • Stairs and Landings
  • Installations/Fixtures and Fittings
  • Shared water pipes
  • Water tanks
  • Gas pipes
  • Electrical wiring
  • Light Fittings in communal area
  • Controlled door-entry system 


As a Leaseholder what repairs am I responsible for?

Again in general terms, you are responsible for maintaining and repairing the inside of your property.  This can include:

  • Plaster on the walls
  • Ceilings and floor coverings
  • Internal Wiring
  • Internal Pipe Work

The above responsibilities are of course not exhaustive.  If you have any doubts about who is responsible please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 833 160.


I have reported a repair, how long will it take?

We give all repairs a priority rating depending on how urgent they are. We will tell you which category this repair is in and a member of our Contact Centre will advise you the target date for completion. We categorise repairs into five grades: 

Emergency: Where life is at risk - we will respond within 1 hour to make safe, with works to be completed within 24 hours

Urgent: Where there is no immediate danger to life or limb - we will respond within 3 working days

Semi urgent: Where a repair is necessary but no danger - we will respond within 6 working days

Non urgent: we will respond within 21 calendar days

Minor repairs: we will respond within 2 calendar months


A repair has recently been completed but the works have not been done properly - what can I do? 

The cost of repairs will normally be shared between you, the Council and other leaseholders in your block.  When repairs are carried out by our contractors, it is important that we all get value for money.  On the rare occasion the job is not done properly, or is not done within the time set out above, please let us know by contacting us on 0800 833 160.

To report a repair please call our Contact Centre on 0800 833 160 or email Don’t forget to ask for the Job Reference Number and target completion date!


Carrying out your own alterations

As a leaseholder you have the right to improve your home, but in some circumstances you will need written permission from us. This is because, as the landlord, we have an investment in the block and a responsibility to the other residents, but we will not refuse permission unless we have a good reason. You may also need to get planning permission and building consent before starting work.

We do not need to know about minor works such as decorating, but we do need to know about any alterations which affect walls, windows, door frames, plumbing and electrical services before any work is started. 

You have the right to make alterations to the interior of your flat, so long as you do not remove structural walls or cause damage to the exterior or shared parts of the building.  Some alterations may require a variation of your lease, ie. installation of an extra room in the roof space, and there will be a charge for this.

For major alterations you must ask our permission before starting on any work.  We may advise you that you need planning permission and building regulations approval.  Such permission should be obtained from Southend Borough Council who will not unreasonably withhold or delay this process.

You must not do anything which is likely to cause damage to the structure of the building or to shared services, such as plumbing to the roof tank, electricity/gas/water/sewerage supplies.


For what sort of alterations do I need permission?

Any addition or change to the services in your home, including fixtures and fittings, such as:

  • Heating and kitchen units;
  • Dropped kerbs and hard standing;
  • Aerials or satellite dishes;
  • Outside decoration. The type of paint may need to be approved so that it is compatible with future paints that may be used by us.


How do I get permission?

You should write to the Leasehold Officer at South Essex Homes.  You will need to say exactly what you want to do and include a drawing or plan.  A building surveyor may need to visit your home to see what you intend to do before making a decision.  There may be a charge for this.  We will normally give you an answer within two weeks of receiving your request.  If we refuse permission we will tell you why.  You then have the right to appeal.

The permission we give you to go ahead is not the same as planning permission.  You are responsible for getting any necessary planning permission or building regulations approval.  We will normally make it a condition that you do this when we give you permission for the work.


Will the Lease need to be varied?

If you change the physical layout of the flat the original lease plans will not correspond to the actual layout of the flat and so the lease will need to be varied. A deed of variation in this instance would normally take the form of an amended plan which is registered at the Land Registry. If you do not obtain a deed of variation you may experience problems if you decide to sell the flat.