Managing my home

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 were to go wrong.

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

Don’t panic.

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

  1. Cement water tank
  2. Pipe lagging
  3. Loose fill insulation
  4. Textured decorative coating e.g. Artex
  5. AIB Ceiling tiles
  6. AIB Bath panel
  7. Toilet seat and cistern
  8. AIB behind fuse box
  9. AIB airing cupboard and or sprayed Insulation coating boiler
  10. AIB partition wall
  11. AIB interior window panel
  12. AIB around boiler
  13. Vinyl floor tiles
  14. AIB behind fire
  15. Gutters and asbestos cement down pipes
  16. Soffits – AIB or asbestos cement AIB exterior window panel
  17. Asbestos cement roof
  18. Asbestos cement panels
  19. Roofing felt

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 gassection@wmhousing.co.uk

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.

Safety tips:

  • 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

If you smell gas or you are worried about carbon monoxide fumes please call National Grid immediately on 0800 111 999 and our customer service centre on 0300 7906 555.

For more information about gas safety, visit our safety and security section.

Do not:

  • Turn any electrical appliances or light switches on or off
  • Use door bells
  • Smoke
  • Use matches or a naked flame

Do:

  • 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

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.

Damp and humid conditions can also increase the number of house mites. If anyone in your home has a health problems like asthma or bronchitis mould and house mites can make these worse.

Simple things you can do if you have condensation in your home

Dry your windows and window sills every morning and any other surfaces that have become wet. Wring out your cloth rather than drying it on a radiator or in front of a heater.

Use a fungicidal wash to clean any mould affected areas. Use a mould and mildew remover that carries a Health & Safety Executive (HSE) approved number.

Dry-clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets. Don’t try to remove mould by using a brush or vacuum cleaner. This can release spores and increase the risk of breathing problems.

After treatment, redecorate using a good-quality fungicidal paint and fungicidal wallpaper paste to help prevent the mould returning. The effect of fungicidal or anti-condensation paint and paste is destroyed if covered with ordinary paint or wallpaper.

The only lasting cure for severe mould is to get rid of the damp.

Key things to remember about controlling condensation

  • Produce less moisture
  • Put lids on saucepans.
  • Don’t dry clothes in front of a fire or over radiators. Dry them outside.
  • Vent your tumble dryer to the outside.
  • Don’t use portable gas and paraffin heaters. They produce a lot of moisture.
  • When running a bath put cold water in first. This reduces the amount of steam.

But remember – the only lasting cure for severe mould is to get rid of the moist conditions.

Ventilate your home

Open to the first notch a small window downstairs and a small one upstairs. The windows should be on opposite sides of the house. Or diagonally opposite if you live in a flat. At the same time open all the inside doors this should be done for about 30 minutes each day for it to be most effective.

When cooking or washing open a window slightly. If you have an extractor hood or extractor fan, turn this on when cooking.

When using your kitchen and bathroom close the door to prevent moisture escaping. Open a small top window afterwards for about 20 minutes. Use an extractor fan if you have one.

Leave your bedroom window slightly open at night, or use the trickle ventilators if you have them.

To reduce the risk of mildew on clothes and other stored items. Allow air to circulate round them by removing false wardrobe backs or drilling breather holes in them.

Place furniture on blocks to allow air to circulate underneath. Keep a small gap between large pieces of furniture and the walls. Where it is possible, place wardrobes and other furniture against internal walls.

Never overfill wardrobes and cupboards as this restricts air circulation

Make sure that accessible windows will not cause a security problem if left open. Remember to close them when you go out.

Heating your home

Heating one room to a high temperature and leaving other rooms cold makes condensation worse.

Keeping the heating on low all day in cold weather will help control condensation. This can be costly so keep a close check on your meter or bills.

If you are concerned about the cost of using your heating system, please contact the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0800 512 012.

If you don’t have heating in every room keep the doors of unheated rooms open to allow some heat in.

If you need to raise the temperature in rooms that don’t have radiators it is better and cheaper to use electric heating on a low setting rather than bottled-gas heaters which will create more moisture.

If you have a freezer it’s a good idea to put it in a space that has condensation. The heat from the motor should help keep the room temperature up and condensation at bay.

Be careful not to over-ventilate your home when it is cold. This will cause the temperature inside your home to drop and make condensation more likely.

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
  • Rubbish or soil piled against the wall above the level of the damp-proof course.
  • Internal water leaks.

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

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.

WM Housing Group leaseholder and shared owner buildings insurance cover summary

Tenancy Management Check (TMC) is a visit completed by Whitefriars Officers every two years.  The aim is to support residents to sustain their tenancies and live well in their homes for as long as they 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 ensure residents are maintain their 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 approximately two weeks prior to the appointment, if the appointment is inconvenient the customer can request another appointment which we will be happy to arrange.

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.

Stores that accept the Good Deal card (PDF)

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

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.

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:

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.

Insure:

  • 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
  • fire
  • theft
  • vandalism
  • 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.
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