Modernising Council homes

Changing homes, changing lives - modern Council homes programme

"This is the biggest ever investment in modernising Council housing in Harlow which is changing homes and changing our tenants’ lives.” 

In June 2013 Harlow Council unveiled a £22m scheme which paved the way for the start of modernising Council homes as part of a five-year £100m programme.

Since July 2013 over 12,500 home improvements have been carried out in more than 4,650 Council homes and in addition nearly 2,000 electrical safety tests completed - and the work does not stop there! The Council is planning to spend a further £26m on around 5,000 home improvements in 2014/15. 

What we have done (as of 1 April 2014):

  • Modernised 1,574 kitchens and 1,162 bathrooms. 
  • Replaced 2,733 front and back doors and replaced 7,242 windows in 2,630 homes. 
  • Installed 788 central heating systems and 513 energy-efficient boilers. 
  • Completed electrical rewires in 800 homes. 
  • Installed new fuse boxes in 706 homes which have also included the installation of 1,387 new smoke detectors. 
  • Insulated the external walls of 372 homes.

Modern Council home with tenantWhat tenants have said about the programme:

“Our kitchen is now both neat and tidy, which is important for a better standard of living. Our property feels like home now, which every family in Harlow deserves.” Thomson family

“I’ve lived in my Council home for 23 years. My old kitchen was here since the day I moved in. I am very satisfied with my new kitchen - it is so much better for me.” Mrs. Searing

The programme is currently concentrating on internal improvements to bring homes up to the Government’s Decent Homes standard and in addition 4,500 homes will get new high security front doors. This means by March 2015 all Council homes will meet the Decent Homes Standard. Future years will focus on maintaining the Decent Homes standard and modernising other homes. This will include both internal and external improvement works. Houses, flats, maisonettes and Supported Housing (sheltered) Schemes are all included in the programme.

The five-year £100m programme is being funded by rents and additional grants secured by the Council. Changes to the way Council housing is now financed means the Council can reinvest money back into improving people’s homes.

The programme has been prioritised following an independent condition survey of Council homes carried out in 2012. Over the five year programme the Council plans to:

Modern Council home kitchenInternal modernisations and replacements:

  • Upgrade over 4,600 kitchens. 
  • Modernise over 4,400 bathrooms. 
  • Install over 4,900 energy efficient boilers and/or full heating systems. 
  • Carry out over 3,500 electrical rewires/upgrades. 
  • Install over 3,300 hard wired smoke detectors.

External Works:

  • Upgrade double glazed windows in over 2,400 homes. 
  • Replace over 6,300 front and rear doors with high security products. 
  • Replace over 1,000 flat and pitched roofs. 
  • Carry out environmental improvements - new door entry systems, bin store upgrades, fencing and paving schemes - in flat blocks.

Programme plans

Programmes are regularly updated and are published here. You can view the current programme for 2013/14 and 2014/15 and the outline programme for future years will be available soon. These programmes give details of the estates and not individual homes.

Homes in Aylets Field, The Briars and Copshall Close are not included in this investment programme.

For more information please contact an Advisor at Contact Harlow.

Modern homes programme and leaseholders 

Part of the Council’s programme will be funded by service charges where works are carried out to flat block external and communal areas. For example, where there is a block of ten flats and five are tenants and five are leaseholders, the cost of the external and communal works will be divided by ten.

This means the Council will pay for the five tenanted flats’ share which is collected via rent and the five leaseholders will be responsible for their share of the cost.

Before any planned works where leaseholders will be liable to contribute, the Council will follow the legal requirements and write to you giving you a chance to comment. You will also receive estimates for the works and again will be asked for your views on these. You will be kept up to date and be given the name of the contractor and any contact details should you have any problems while the improvements are being carried out.

Over the five year programme the Council plans to carry out the following external improvements, which may affect leaseholders:

  • Upgrading double glazed windows in over 2,400 homes. 
  • Replacing over 6,300 front and rear doors with high-security products.
  • Replacing over 1,000 flat and pitched roofs.
  • Carrying out environmental improvements, new door entry systems, bin store upgrades, fencing and paving schemes in flat blocks.

The Council’s programme over the next two years will bring tenants’ homes up to the Decent Homes Standard. The majority of this is internal work, such as kitchen and bathroom replacements, re-wiring and heating, so there will be very little external works over this period.

Starting in 2015 will see external works such as communal windows and doors, roofing, gutters, fascias, soffits, fencing, paving and other associated works carried out. 

Frequently Asked Questions