Homes Self-Help Guides

Most of the issues that are reported as tasks are easily resolved without any external assistance. Following the guides can get the issues fixed quickly and avoids the need for unnecessary callouts and charges.

There is no power (or problem with the electricity)
  1. Make sure it is not a power cut! Have a quick look outside at neighbours’ houses & streetlights. Sometimes power cuts can ‘miss a house’ so it may not be your immediate neighbour, but the next house along.
  2. If not – it is likely that something has tripped a break switch in your fuse-board (these are designed to click off if there is a problem). The problem is usually something plugged in (i.e. fridge or hairdryer).
  3. If you switch the main breaker switch back on it will stay on if it is safe. If it clicks off there is still a problem. You can follow these steps to identify the cause:
  • Switch off all the breakers and then switch on the main breaker switch (it should stay on)
  • Switch on the first breaker switch – If that breaker and the main switch stay on, the problem is not on that circuit
  • Repeat this for each of the other breakers, until you find the breaker which trips the switch
  • If the breaker is for a plug socket circuit turn off and unplug everything on that circuit to check whether the breaker still trips
  • If it doesn’t – plug in and switch on each item, one at a time. If it trips when an item is plugged in then that is the item causing the problem.

Let us know if it is something plugged in which belongs to your Landlord and we can arrange to get it fixed, also if the breaker is tripping with nothing plugged in or is not for a plug socket circuit we will need to get an electrician to have a look at this so please contact us. Please be aware we may need to charge you for the call out if the problem is caused by one of your items connected into the circuit.

The heating is not working
  • Does the boiler make a noise like it is running? If so check the radiators to make sure they are all switched on.
  • Turn the thermostat up to full to see if that makes the boiler kick in.
  • Follow the user guide to reset the boiler and if there is an error code use the guide to check what this means. You can also simply turn the boiler off and on again.
  • If you use gas make sure it is on, and if you have oil make sure the tank is not empty.
The radiators need bleeding
  • Turn your heating on, so that all the radiators come on and wait until they are fully heated (you need to build up pressure in the radiator in order to force the air out).
  • Identify which radiators need bleeding, by checking each one individually to see if all parts of the radiator are warming up. Cool spots, (particularly towards the top of the radiator), mean that there could be air or gas trapped and that you’ll need to bleed that radiator.
  • Switch off your central heating. This is reversing the process identified in step one and will allow you to handle the radiators without burning yourself or soaking your floor.
  • Bleeding radiators will require a radiator key (buy one at your local hardware store if you can’t find yours) or a flat-blade screwdriver. At the top of the radiator at one end there will be a valve. You can attach the radiator key to the square bit in the centre or put the end of the screwdriver into the groove.
  • Hold the key or screwdriver with a cloth, and have another cloth ready to catch any drips, then slowly turn the radiator key or screwdriver anti-clockwise – if gas is escaping you’ll hear a hissing sound.
  • Once there is no more gas, liquid will come out and the valve will need to be closed quickly. With the more modern screwdriver operated escape valve, liquid is likely to emerge as a jet rather than a dribble.
  • Check the pressure by having a look at the gauge on your boiler. If the pressure is too low, you’ll need to ‘top up’. You can do this using the lever or tap on your boiler, known as the filling loop.
  • Afterwards, you may want to run another ‘hot test’ to check that your efforts have been successful. Simply turn your heating on, wait for all the radiators to heat up and check for any cool spots.
  • That’s everything – the radiators should now be working properly again!
There is no hot water
  • If you have a boiler to heat your water, follow the user guide to reset the boiler and ensure it is working and switched on. Follow the user guides to identify any error codes that may be showing.
  • If you also have an immersion heater in the tank. This can provide hot water until the boiler is fixed.
  • If your water is heated only by the immersion please check the switches are on and that there is power.
The water supply has cut off

If you have problems with water supply you need to contact your water company. They will often notify you if for any reason you will be experiencing an interruption in your water supply.

The front or back door is broken and not secure
  • Please contact us before calling out an emergency locksmith and we can try to get this sorted for you.
  • If you have had a break in: please call the police immediately and get a crime reference number. Let your insurance company know and let us know. We can arrange for any works to be completed by one of our contractors.
The drains are blocked (water not going down sink or toilet)

If your drains are blocked we can arrange to get them cleared.

However in almost every case they are blocked by things that residents have put down the drains, in which case we have to charge the resident for the call out. The problem is often solidified fat or wet wipes.

Please note we have many loos blocked by ‘flushable’ wipes. These wipes do not break down quickly and often accumulate causing a blockage. We recommend these are not flushed.

Where you have a blockage we advise your first step is to try to clear the drains yourself using drain un-blocker chemicals from the supermarket. We also find that a good load of bleach and hot water should do the trick, especially if left overnight.

Electric oven not working

Check it is switched on at the wall – there should be lights on the oven somewhere.

Check the clock is set and the timer is not set – this is usually the problem. The manual can explain how, although we find it easier to follow the many explanations people have posted on line, which seem available for most oven model

Smoke alarm is continuously beeping

It is likely that the batteries need replacing, please replace these and if there are further problems then contact us!

Minor maintenance repairs are needed

Minor repairs such as fixing a cabinet door, renewing sealant, changing batteries, fuses, bulbs, tightening toilet seats are the resident’s responsibility throughout the Tenancy.

Remember the property must be maintained to the standard that it was handed to the resident in the initial Inventory Report, therefore if the items are in good working order on the initial report, the resident would be expected to maintain and hand them back in this condition (with the exception of fair, wear and tear!).

There is damp/mildew at the property
  • Ensure the property is correctly ventilated by the keeping windows open.
  • Try not to hand clothes out to dry inside as this leads to a lot of moisture in the air
  • Wipe down any mildew and mould and treat as necessary

Property Basics

What are some things that you should be able to do when living in any property?

The below guides can help you fix loads of property issues yourself.

Dampness or Condensation?

Water vapour in the air occurs naturally and in general, does not cause any issues. However if the air contains excessive levels of moisture, or it comes into contact with cold surfaces, the moisture can be released forming liquid droplets. This can often go unnoticed until black mould starts to appear. This mould is a naturally occurring fungus that thrives on these moist conditions and can grow quite quickly. It is a common misconception that black mould growth is a sign of a dampness problem rather than a condensation issue. Condensation problems generally get worse in the colder seasons, as ventilation to the property is reduced due to closed windows and moisture levels are increased through activities such as drying washing on radiators.

Dampness issues such as rising damp or penetrating damp are a very different issue and result from a physical problem with the property. Rising damp is usually caused by a failure of the damp proof membrane which is designed to prevent moisture being absorbed from the ground. One of the signs of a damp proof membrane failure is the forming of white salts at low level to ground floor walls. Penetrating damp is often caused by a blockage within the cavity allowing moisture to pass from the external brickwork through to the internal walls. Signs of penetrating damp are discolouration and plaster damage to a very localised area on an external wall.

How to top up your boiler pressure

If you have a combination boiler in your property and it stops working, it may be due to the boiler pressure falling below the minimum level. The pressure can easily be checked via the gauge which is usually located on the front of the boiler, behind the front flap or sometimes underneath the boiler. The video below will show you how to top up the boiler pressure which should allow the boiler to function once more. Whilst your boiler make and/or model will most likely be different to the one shown, the basic principles will still apply. Please note that there is no need to remove the filling loop as demonstrated in the video.

How to fit a toilet seat

At times toilet seats can break or become damaged, it is your responsibility to supply and fit a new one. To help you with this we have attached a video showing a step by step guide on how replace your toilet seat with confidence.

How to clean grout

The grout between the tiles in your kitchen and bathroom can become mouldy and discoloured, to help prevent this you should clean them regularly. If the grout between your tiles has become discoloured, please see the step by step guide below which will help you with this.