Managing your home is more than just making the house look nice and feel homely. It also means making sure your home is safe and secure and that you know what to do in different situations if something goes wrong.
It is best to register your appliances to:
- make sure you are the first to know of any safety repairs or recalls
- improve your after sales service
- keep in touch with upgrade news.
In a very small number of cases, manufacturers may identify problems with an appliance once the product has been in use for some time. They then need to contact you to get the fault corrected as quickly as possible. Normally a quick in-home fix by a qualified technician will remove any risk.
As a consumer, it is important that you take the responsibility to let manufacturers know that you own the appliance and to make sure that they can get in touch if they need to.
Registering can also save you money by entitling you to an extended warranty or guarantee period.
You can register your appliances here.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material which was regularly used in the construction industry from the 1950’s to the mid 1980’s; all uses of asbestos were banned in the UK from 1999.
The minerals ability to resist high temperatures and the fact it doesn’t decompose or decay meant it was seen as the perfect fire proofing solution.
For a long time the dangers of asbestos were not widely known.
In your home
Many people worry about having asbestos in their home.
Undisturbed asbestos usually causes no problems. However, loose asbestos fibres can seriously damage your health.
Asbestos fibres can only affect your health if they become damaged, either accidently or while they are being worked on during building work or DIY.
With over 3000 uses and often mixed with other materials its not always easy to identify, If you ever suspect damaged asbestos in your property or a communal area contact us and we will arrange for a licensed contractor to attend.
What to do if you think you have asbestos in your home
Asbestos is usually safe if left undisturbed. It only causes a problem if it is damaged or disturbed during DIY or building work.
Contact us if you have concerns and we will discuss the best way to deal with it.
Before you do DIY or other similar work
You may wish to carry out DIY to your home; before you do this you will need our written permission as required by your tenancy agreement.
We may not always give permission if the work could disturb or damage asbestos containing materials.
Written requests will need to be sent too 4040 Lakeside, Solihull Parkway, Birmingham, B37 7YN outlining what work you wish to complete and the affected areas in the property.
How can you reduce the risk
- Don’t carry out any work prior to receiving our permission.
- Don’t repair or remove any material that you think may contain asbestos.
- Don’t cut, break, saw, drill, sand or disturb anything you think may contain asbestos.
- If you don’t know what a material is made from, assume that it contains asbestos.
- If you think you may have damaged or disturbed asbestos contact us.
What are the health risks
Although asbestos is a hazardous waste, it can only pose a risk to health if the fibres become airborne and are breathed in which causes damage to the lung.
The most common diseases associated with asbestos exposure are asbestos is, Lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Asbestos is – Scarring of the lung tissues
Lung cancer – Malignant tumour of the lungs air passages
Mesothelioma – Cancer of the cells lining the lungs, ribs and abdominal organs
Things to remember about asbestos
Asbestos containing materials that are in good condition and not disturbed are not usually a health risk.
Before carrying out DIY work always seek our advice and permission, You must not carry out any work prior to receiving our permission.
If in doubt STOP.
Never drill, sand or disturb anything you think may contain asbestos.
What will we do?
WM Housing Group recognises the risk associated with asbestos and acknowledges our responsibility to reduce the exposure of asbestos to our tenants, employees, contractors and other people affected by our activities.
We have a management plan to make sure we take appropriate action to identify and deal with materials containing asbestos in your home, we also keep a register of known asbestos containing materials in our stock.
When you report damaged asbestos in our properties we will respond within 24 hours.
We will remove or repair any damaged asbestos.
We will not normally remove asbestos containing materials that are in good condition.
Where asbestos can be found
- Cement water tank
- Pipe lagging
- Loose fill insulation
- Textured decorative coating e.g. Artex
- AIB Ceiling tiles
- AIB Bath panel
- Toilet seat and cistern
- AIB behind fuse box
- AIB airing cupboard and or sprayed Insulation coating boiler
- AIB partition wall
- AIB interior window panel
- AIB around boiler
- Vinyl floor tiles
- AIB behind fire
- Gutters and asbestos cement down pipes
- Soffits – AIB or asbestos cement AIB exterior window panel
- Asbestos cement roof
- Asbestos cement panels
- Roofing felt
Reducing the risk of water pipes freezing
- Keep your home as warm as possible, even when it is unoccupied.
- Leave internal doors open to allow warm air to circulate.
- If there are pipes in exposed or draughty areas, insulate them with lagging.
- Report leaking outside overflows to our Service Centre.
- Leave the doors to your sink unit open overnight as warmer air will prevent pipes freezing.
- If you have water pipes or tanks in the roof space, leave the trap door to your roof space slightly open to let warm air in.
- Run your taps frequently to get water flowing.
- If you have an outside toilet, turn off the water supply to the toilet to prevent the pipe bursting.
If you have a burst pipe
- Locate your main stop tap and turn the stop tap off. Your stop tap can usually be found under your kitchen sink.
- If you cannot stop the flow of water, drain the system by opening all your hot and cold taps. Remember to remove your sink plug.
- Switch off your electricity supply at the mains if there is a chance that water could come into contact with electrical wiring or fittings.
- Call our Service Centre immediately on 0300 7906 555 who will arrange for an engineer to visit.
Thawing out your pipes
- Never thaw out frozen pipes by switching on your immersion heater or central heating boiler.
- Check for leaking joints or burst pipes.
- If it is safe use electric fan heaters to warm the room where the pipes are frozen.
- Apply a hot water bottle, or a thick cloth soaked in hot water, to pipes to help them defrost. Start nearest the tap. If the pipes are frozen in the roof space, only enter the roof space if it is safe to do so.
- Never use a naked flame to defrost pipes.
- If your waste pipe is frozen, try putting table salt or hot water down the waste outlet.
- Make sure there are no dripping taps at night. Report any dripping taps and any leaking outside overflows to us.
- If you have central heating and you go out during the day, leave radiator valves slightly open, or set the room thermostat to about 10 degrees C.
- If you have solid-fuel central heating, make sure you have enough fuel to keep the heating working.
- If you are going to be away for more than a week make sure the main stopcock is turned off and the water system is drained down completely by running the taps until no water comes out. Leave a contact number with a neighbour.
What is condensation?
Condensation can be caused by:
- too much moisture in the air, often created by steam from cooking and washing.
- not enough ventilation.
- extremes of temperature, for example a kitchen being very warm and a bedroom very cold.
Condensation can cause black mould on walls and furniture and mildew on clothes, curtains and other fabrics. It can even damage plasterwork and rot wooden window frames.
Top things to remember:
- When showering, bathing or cooking, open a window or trickle vent for at least 20 mins afterwards.
- If you have extractor fans, use them – this is really important.
- Ideally if you can, dry your clothes outside.
- If drying your clothes indoors, make sure you open a window when you’re at home.
- If you use a tumble dryer, vent it to the outside.
Myth-buster – Drying clothes on a radiator.
You can dry clothes on a radiator, however, please remember that this creates a lot of moisture and therefore ideally:
- use a clothes airer near the radiator
- open a nearby window.
Room corners/trapped air mould
Top things to remember:
- Keep a small gap between large pieces of furniture and the walls.
- Where possible, place wardrobes and other furniture against internal walls.
- Don’t overfill wardrobes and cupboards as this restricts air circulation.
- Heating one room to a high temperature and leaving other rooms cold makes condensation worse.
- If you struggle to heat your home, we can refer you to advisors to help reduce your energy bills. Please call our customer contact centre to arrange a home energy advice visit.
- If you need advice with finances or debt generally, then please call our customer contact centre to speak a member of our Money Advice Team.
- Dry your windows and window sills regularly.
- Use a mould treatment to clean any mould affected areas, such as bleach or mould spray (i.e. Wilko, supermarket, Homebase/B&Q/etc).
- Don’t try to remove mould without using a treatment product, as it will spread.
- After treatment, redecorate using a good-quality mould-resistant paint to help prevent the mould returning.
- Remove the cause of the damp, i.e. even if it has been due to a leak, dry out the affected area thoroughly.
Heating your home:
Heating one room to a high temperature and leaving other rooms cold makes condensation worse.
If your heating system is broken, please report it to our customer service centre. We will provide temporary heaters free of charge, in cold weather, while the repair is being carried out.
If you’re concerned about the costs of running temporary electric heaters, then we will consider covering the costs temporarily, if there is a delay in the repair to your main heating system. Please note that in this case you would need to provide evidence of your increased energy costs (i.e. receipts, bills).
Storage heater issues?
Read this CSE leaflet providing advice on how best to set your storage heater.
Myth-buster – Ventilation lets out all the heat.
Most of the heat in your home is stored in the solid objects such as walls, floors and furniture, rather than the air, so remember to:
- open vents, if you have them in your windows.
- open windows regularly.
Your home will still stay warm and you can always close them again once air has been allowed to circulate as this will help prevent damp.
Never seal up or cover, air vents. They may feel cool, but they don’t let in much cold air and are absolutely vital to remain uncovered to reduce issues with damp and mould.
Other causes of damp
Damp is not always caused by condensation. If damp patches on walls leave a ‘tidemark’ this may be a sign of:
- leaking or blocked gutters, down pipes and overflows.
- leaking roof from missing tiles or slates.
- internal water leaks.
If you have a problem like these, please remember moisture is still an issue, so:
- report it to us as soon as possible.
- ventilate by opening windows and trickle vents.
- use dehumidifiers, if provided.
Myth-buster – Dehumidifiers are expensive
- You may only need to run a dehumidifier for a few hours per day.
- Even if they are left on all day, they only cost a few pence a day to run.
- Speak to us if you have concerns about the cost.
External wall insulation (EWI)
If you have had EWI fitted to your property, please note that due to the increased insulation, this has the potential to cause condensation, which you may not have experienced previously.
If this is the case, then please remember to ventilate. Open windows, open trickle vents, use ventilation fans and keep air circulating.
To report damp or mould please contact us.
We can also help with further information and advice on heating or energy saving measures to help cut down on your bills or contact us for more details.
We are not responsible for your personal belongings, furniture, carpets, laminate flooring and internal decoration. If something happens to them then it is your responsibility. You need to take out your own insurance to protect your belongings.
You should insure your furniture and house contents against fire, theft, flood and other accidents. If you have not yet insured your house contents, take a few moments to add up how much it would cost to replace them – probably more than you thought. You should make sure you get cover for all risks, including fire, theft, frost damage, flood and other hazards.
- your personal belongings including decorations
- your fixtures, fittings, furniture and belongings against accidental damage and against any responsibility you may have to your neighbours or other people.
My Home Contents Insurance
We promote a scheme for our tenants called My Home Contents Insurance. This covers, but is not limited to:
- external locks if keys are lost/stolen
- freezer contents
- water damage
You were given a booklet and information leaflet when you signed for your tenancy. This gives information on the scheme. If you decide to go with the scheme, complete the application form and send it to the address listed on the form for My Home Contents Insurance or call 0345 450 7288 and they will help you fill in the form. Alternatively, fill in your details here to request a call back.
Download our PDF to see the range of insurance options and their cost.
My Home Contents Insurance is an independently run scheme. Your payment options are:
- weekly, by cash using a swipe card at any post office, or at the same location you pay your rent fortnightly by cash, using a swipe card as described above
- monthly by Direct Debit on interest free payments
- every year by cheque, postal order or debit/credit card.
Your local council are responsible for services such as:
- Dogs and strays
- Street cleaning, street lights, roads and footpaths
- Rubbish bin collection
For more information on these, please visit your local authority’s website. You can find the links here:
- Birmingham City Council
- Bromsgrove Council
- Coventry City Council
- Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
- Gloucester City Council
- Herefordshire Council
- Lichfield District Council
- Malvern Hills District Council
- Redditch Council
- Sandwell Council
- Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
- Warwick District Council
- Worcester City Council
- Wychavon District Council
- Wyre Forest District Council
Every 12 months we have to make sure that all gas appliances we own in your home are safe. This is something that we have to do by law.
You will be contacted when your gas safety check is due. If a normal weekday appointment is not convenient, an evening or Saturday appointment can be arranged.
The inspection is vital to your safety. It is free and will take about an hour.
To enable us to carry out the gas safety inspection, you will need to have credit on your gas and electric meter. If you are unable to do this, let us know before your appointment on 0300 7906 555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Gas safety checks are so important that if you do not let us in to carry them out we can get a court injunction. This may lead to you being evicted from your home. We will charge you for all our legal costs to gain access to your home. We may also temporarily stop your gas supply if your meter is fitted outside your home.
- ALWAYS use Gas Safe engineers to carry out work on your appliances
- ALWAYS ask to see the engineer’s Gas Safe identity cards
- ALWAYS follow the user instructions for your gas appliance
- ALWAYS make sure your gas meter is clear of obstructions
- ALWAYS be cautious if buying a second hand gas appliance – don t scrimp on safety
- NEVER try DIY with gas, make sure a Gas Safe engineer does the work. Anybody working with gas has to be Gas Safe registered by law
- NEVER use a ceiling fan at the same time as using a gas fire
- NEVER block air vents or flues inside or outside your home
- NEVER hang anything from the boiler flue or obstruct the flue
- NEVER use an appliance with a floppy yellow flame , if it has black marks or stains on or around the appliance, or if there is too much condensation in the room.
If you smell gas
For more information about gas safety, visit our safety and security section.
- Turn any electrical appliances or light switches on or off
- Use door bells
- Use matches or a naked flame
- Open doors and windows
- Turn off all gas appliances and don’t restart them
- Turn gas supply off at the meter, the on/off lever can be found at the side of your gas meter
Thanks to Jewson and ICI Dulux you can now get discounts on DIY materials.
You can use the Good Deal card for discounts on everything from wallpaper paste to hammers and nails.
The discount you receive will vary depending on what you want to buy and cannot be used with any other offer.
To find out the price of a product simply ring your local store and let them know you have a Good Deal card.
To get the discount all you need to do is take the following things with you:
- The Good Deal card and
- Proof of tenancy (tenancy agreement) and
- A recent utility bill
We aim to provide you with information that we hope you will find useful, including an explanation of your rights and responsibilities as a leaseholder and our rights and responsibilities as your landlord, or your landlord’s managing agent.
In the meantime if you have any questions please refer to the information you were given when you took on your shared ownership or leasehold property or call us on 0300 7906 555.
If you want a good source of independent information on leases, we recommend you look at the Leasehold Advisory Service’s website. This is an independent source of advice supported by the government and contains a wide range of information useful to leaseholders, both shared owners and full equity leaseholders.
Our buildings insurance for leaseholders and shared owners
You can download a leaflet for a summary of the significant features, benefits and limitations of our cover provided by the Zurich Municipal. Leaseholder and shared owner buildings insurance cover summary (PDF).
Pets can cause complaints between neighbours. Your pet must not cause any danger, harm, nuisance or noise to your neighbours.
If you want to keep a pet you must get our permission first.
If you have an enquiry about keeping a pet please contact us.
The current freezing conditions can end up having a negative effect on the performance of your boiler.
If your boiler starts developing random faults which are preventing your central heating from operating as it normally does, then it may be worth investigating to see if your system is being affected by a frozen condensate pipe.
This video gives you step-by-step guidance on how to deal with a frozen condensate pipe.
If you can’t view it then here’s our troubleshooting guide to dealing with a frozen condensate pipe.
First things first you need to establish if the issue actually isolated to your condensate pipe. If your condensate pipe is frozen then your boiler will likely exhibit either some flashing lights or some form of fault code – it’s advisable to check the manufacturer guidance that will have been supplied with your boiler to see if the code relates to a frozen pipe problem. Other tell tell signs include the emergence of a “slurping” sound when your boiler is switched on.
- Reset Boiler
Before you do this, it is worth resetting your boiler to see if the issue that was present has now resolved itself. If the pipe was frozen but has since thawed then the errors present on your boiler dashboard may no longer be applicable. Try resetting your boiler – if the fault indicators are still present then it’s time to try and address the issue itself.
- Locate external pipe (outside)
The condensate pipe removes water from the boiler. As such you will likely find a white or grey plastic pipe emanating from the location of your boiler to the outside wall of the property. In some installations the amount of pipework that runs external to the property can be fairly substantial. As a large amount of the pipe is exposed to the outside conditions, when the weather turns cold the pipe may get blocked when any water within the pipe freezes and turns to ice. Sometimes it will be obvious that the pipe is frozen however in other cases the symptoms will be more subtle, hidden away within the pipe itself.
- Time to thaw
The easiest way to deal with a frozen condensate pipe is to put it in contact with warm water. A couple of jugs of warm water poured over the exterior of the pipework is a great remedy. Increasing the temperature within the pipe can cause the ice blockage to subside. If you don’t have a jug then you could also try a warm flannel or hot water bottle. It’s important that you refrain from using boiling water, as although this will likely melt the ice quicker, you may cause more damage as the extreme contrast in temperatures may cause the plastic pipe to crack.
- Reset Boiler
With the frozen blockage hopefully now dealt with, it should now be a simple matter of returning to your boiler and hitting the reset button. If the fault signals are still present then it may be worth consulting your boiler instructions or contacting the manufacturer.
You need to do a number of things to live safely in your home.
Interfering with electricity and gas meters or communal supplies is very dangerous. If you are found to have done this we will take action to end your tenancy.
You must not use or keep dangerous goods (including those that catch fire easily) in your home or the shared areas. Only goods needed for normal household use may be kept. These must be stored and connected correctly.You must keep any shared areas and gardens clean and tidy and free from rubbish.
For more information on gas, electrical, fire and water safety and your security please visit our safety and security page
A tenancy management check (TMC) is a visit completed by Whitefriars’ officers every two years. The aim is to support you to sustain your tenancy and live well in your home for as long as you wish.
We will discuss any issues in the neighbourhood that the customer feels are affecting them or their tenancy and aim to inform residents of changes in benefits, policies or legislation which may also impact on them; to help we can also signpost customers to specialist support either provided by us or partner agencies. The TMC is an opportunity for customers to ask their neighbourhood officer any questions they have about their home or tenancy and discuss services provided such as cleaning and grounds maintenance.
We will offer practical guidance to residents to report repairs through our new digital customer portal called My Account and explain the other functions that customers will be able to access, day or night, when convenient to them.
During the visit we will complete a visual inspection of the property and any outside space to make sure you are maintaining your tenancy obligations and managing any property related matters such as the control and treatment of condensation. We will check who is living in the property at the time of this visit and identify any overcrowding or under-occupancy issues.
An appointment text will be sent around two weeks before the appointment. If the appointment is inconvenient we will be happy to rearrange.