Home, garden and estate maintenance

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Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust carries out planned maintenance in our properties and communities and expects tenants to keep homes and gardens in good condition.

Planned home maintenance

Planned home maintenance

We carry out regular checks on the condition of the homes we own. We carry out maintenance work programmes for things that are outside of your responsibility as a tenant. This keeps housing and communities up to a good standard. Wherever we can, we will try to carry out the work while you are living in the property. You will be notified well in advance.

Gas safety

Gas safety

Gas appliances and flues can cause gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning. This can happen if they are not fitted properly, badly repaired, not maintained regularly, or not used properly. Exposure to carbon monoxide can be seriously harmful. Carbon monoxide has no taste, smell or colour - we strongly recommend you get a carbon monoxide alarm in your home.

All residents should avoid the misuse of gas appliances by:

  • Never using an appliance if you think it is not working properly.
  • Never covering an appliance or blocking the convection air vents.
  • Never blocking or covering any fixed ventilation grilles, air bricks or outside flues.
  • Checking appliances for safety. Whenever draught excluders, double glazing or conservatory extensions are fitted to a room containing a gas appliance. To ensure that the right amount of oxygen still gets to the appliance.

If you smell gas or fumes, call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 immediately. You should also do this if you are concerned about gas safety. For deaf or hearing-impaired residents, the minicom/text phone is 0800 371787. You should also;

  • Open doors and windows for fresh air.
  • Check if the pilot light has gone out.
  • Check any gas appliances that are switched off. If the pilot light is still on but the appliances is switched off, there may be a gas escape.
  • Turn off the gas supply at the mains. The emergency control valve is usually located at the side of, or above, the gas meter.
  • Leave the house.
  • Do not turn light switches on or off, use doorbells, mobile phones or any electrical switches. Don't smoke, light a match or use any naked flames.

We have a duty to inspect and service the gas appliances in your home each year. We will arrange a convenient appointment to check that they are working properly and safely. We will carry out a gas tightness test on other gas appliances that may belong to you. We will report to you on their condition. However, you are responsible for servicing or replacing any appliance that belongs to you. It is essential when we contact you, that you arrange access to your home for the annual safety check. Also for service work to be done. Failure to allow access is a breach of your tenancy and may result in the termination of your tenancy.

After each annual service we will send you a copy of the Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate within 28 days. Please keep this in a safe place. If you end your tenancy, you must leave the certificate for the next resident.

Electrical safety

Electrical safety

All residents should avoid the misuse of electrical appliances by:

  • Checking the current rating of extension leads before plugging appliances into them.
  • Never overloading extension leads. By plugging in appliances that together exceed the maximum current rating stated on the extension lead.
  • Only using one socket extension lead per socket and never plug an extension lead into another extension lead.
  • Regularly servicing electrical appliances.
  • Ensuring that wires are kept away from heat or water. Carefully removing plugs from sockets to minimize damage to wiring.

You can turn off the electricity supply by flicking the main switch. You should make sure you know where the fuse board is. So you know where to go in an emergency.

Fire prevention

Fire prevention

All residents should reduce the risk of fire in your home by:

  • Not leaving pans, deep-fat fryers or frying pans unattended when you are cooking.
  • Keeping matches away from children.
  • Not using portable gas or paraffin heaters.
  • Making sure that fires are guarded (especially when there are very young or elderly people in the room).
  • Not propping fire doors open, or interfering with them or any other fire equipment.
  • Unplugging electrical appliances, especially at night.
  • Making sure that heaters cannot be knocked over and that they are not too near to furniture.

In case of a fire, get everyone out of the building. Close all the doors behind you. Call 999 and ask for the fire brigade. Alert your neighbours. Do not go back into the building. contact us to let us know what has happened as soon as possible. If you reside in a supported communal facility such as Hartfields, please refer to their local Fire Evacuation procedure.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms prevent many deaths each year. They provide an early warning when they detect smoke or gas. They can give you time to get out of your home safely.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed in each of our rented properties. If you would like more installed, or if you wish to report any faults, please contact us.

All residents should look after smoke and carbon monoxide alarms by:

  • Never switching off your alarm.
  • Never removing batteries to use in other appliances.
  • Regularly testing your alarms (at least once a week). This can be done by pressing the ‘test’ button until the alarm sounds.
  • Opening the case twice a year. Cleaning the inside using a soft brush vacuum attachment to remove dust from the sensors.

Do you have difficulty replacing the batteries or checking the smoke alarms in your home? Contact our Customer Service Team on 0800 587 0211. We will arrange for someone to do it for you.

Flooding

Flooding

During the cold winter months, there is an increased risk of flooding. The cold weather conditions can cause water pipes to freeze and drip or burst. This could cause great damage to your home and belongings.

You can reduce the risk and damage of burst pipes by:

  • Identifying where the stopcock is located. Ensuring that you can turn it off easily in an emergency.
  • Insulating pipes and the sides of your water tank if you have one.
  • Fitting new washers if your taps drip (particularly external ones).
  • Keeping your home warm (a minimum of 12°C) if it is forecast to freeze.

If, despite all these precautions, a pipe bursts, you should:

  • Turn off the water supply by turning the stopcock clockwise immediately. The stopcock inside your home is located under the kitchen sink or where the service pipe enters your home.
  • Turn on all your taps to drain the water as quickly as possible.
  • Turn off the central heating or hot water boiler as quickly as possible.
  • Try to find out where the water is coming from. Do your best to make a temporary repair or contain the leak until a plumber arrives.
  • contact us immediately.

If the water has been leaking through an electric light or ceiling rose, do not switch on the light.

In the event that your home is affected by road flooding, contact your local council. Do the same if affected by flooding from public drains, or from a river/stream. To find out the risk of flooding to your home or local area contact the Environment Agency. They're available Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, on 03708 506 506 (Minicom: 03702 422 549). Or email [email protected]. You can also contact Floodline 24 hours a day on 0345 988 1188. You can get information about any long-term flood risk to your property. You can also get flood warnings. These are free services for householders.

Condensation

Condensation

The most common cause of dampness and mould in homes is condensation. It can lead to discolouration and black mould growth on walls, window frames, furniture and clothing. Condensation is caused by moist air coming into contact with cold surfaces. It's also caused by water vapour from cooking, baths, showers and drying clothes indoors.

We will not pay for damage to your personal possessions or decorations as a result of condensation. It is your responsibility to limit the effects of condensation on your home, health and belongings by:

  • Opening windows and using an extractor fan when cooking, while keeping doors to rooms where steam is being created closed.
  • Keeping lids on saucepans while cooking, turning down the heat when the contents are boiling, and using an extractor fan.
  • Drying washing outside if possible, increasing ventilation if drying clothes indoors, and ensuring that clothes dryers are vented externally.
  • Keeping temperatures in all rooms above 17°C in the colder months of the year.
  • Not blocking up air bricks or vents.
Asbestos

Asbestos

Asbestos is a natural mineral that has been used commercially for about 150 years. It is strong, flexible and resistant to heat. It is unlikely to be found in buildings built after 1982.

Asbestos Cement is the most widely used asbestos material. It is found in many types of building as corrugated sheets for roofing and wall cladding. It is also in flat sheets, partition boards for lining to walls and ceilings, bath panels, and soffit boards. It's in fire surrounds, flue pipes, cold water tanks, roof tiles and slates. It's in roofing and cladding for garages and sheds, and also in guttering and drain pipes.

Asbestos Cement is unlikely to release high levels of fibres, unless subject to extreme abrasion. Damage from weathering may also release a small amount of fibres.

Even if there is asbestos in your home, it is usually not a problem. Asbestos ONLY becomes dangerous when it is damaged, or is disturbed during work on your home. This is especially true when drilling, sawing, sanding or scrubbing. Certain DIY work can result in brief but high levels of exposure. It is important to contact JRHT prior to undertaking works at home. If you think a material might contain asbestos, do not disturb it – contact us.

External works

External works

We are responsible for maintaining the outside of your home (external painting for example). Also for decorating any communal rooms, staircases and landings. This will be carried out under the planned maintenance programme.

We are also responsible for the maintenance of original fencing installed by us. This will usually be post and wire, unless specified otherwise by planning restrictions. Where a resident, neighbour, or a previous resident, have replaced original fencing, they are responsible for its ongoing maintenance. If the fence needs replacing, we will only replace with the original post and wire fencing. If you want to take out/replace the original fencing provided by us, you need written permission.

Garden maintenance

Garden maintenance

It is a condition of your tenancy agreement that you regularly maintain your garden to a good standard. Unless it is part of a communal area. You must also maintain any garden furniture. This includes sheds or outhouses. Also any other features such as fencing, patios or paths that you have put in.

You must keep any garden/land in a neat and tidy condition free of weeds and rubbish. It is your duty to cut the grass and hedges regularly. Ensure that nothing encroaches on to a neighbour’s property or communal areas. If you collect grass cuttings, hedge clippings or any other ‘green materials’ they need to be disposed of responsibly. Use the green bins provided by the Council.

When you move into your new home we will ensure that the garden is in an acceptable condition. Your garden will then be inspected at least four times over the first 12 months. Tenants who fail to maintain their garden to our standards will receive a letter. This will set out what we expect you to do to sort this out. If you do not tidy up your garden we may serve a Notice of Seeking Possession.

You must not remove any hedging or trees without first getting our written permission. If you leave your property you must return the garden to its original condition. Otherwise you may be recharged the cost of us doing this work.

New Earswick residents may be able to receive help with their garden maintenance – contact us at the Garth.

Estate and landscape maintenance

Estate and landscape maintenance

We pride ourselves on the high standards of maintenance of our open spaces. We ensure your estate remains clean, attractive and safe. Our teams undertake a monthly community walkabout on our larger estates. We publicise the dates in advance. We will deal with unkempt gardens, boundary hedges and fencing, and overgrown pathways within agreed times.

We operate a horticultural approach to the landscape maintenance service we provide. This is in communal areas of our communities and sheltered schemes. This means we don't have a fixed schedule of works. It can vary between each site, each visit and each year. It depends on the weather and other growing conditions.

The grass will usually be cut once in late March and once in April. We then aim to cut it fortnightly until the end of September. A final cut in October, dependent upon weather and growing conditions. Staff will also undertake the following work at least once during the ‘growing season’:

Cut back overhanging shrubs.

  • Keep rose and shrub beds, drying areas, footpaths and hard standing areas weed free. Do this by hoeing or spraying depending on weather conditions.
  • Check grass edges to shrub and rose beds and trim the edges as required.
  • Cut, spray or trim off grassed areas missed by machinery (e.g. around signs or lampposts).
  • Check roses and deadhead as required.
  • Apply herbicide to grassed areas in either spring or autumn, as weather conditions allow.
  • Remove dead/dying bulb foliage from shrub beds.
  • Prune early flowering shrubs.
  • Cut boundary hedges from August onwards, subject to Wildlife & Countryside Act to protect nesting birds.

Out-of-season maintenance work will usually be carried out five to six times from October onwards. Plus, time for snow clearing and salting as appropriate. This includes:

  • Rejuvenation of shrub beds through replanting.
  • Winter pruning of shrubs after flowering.
  • Foliage of perennial plants removed and plants divided.
  • Pruning, reducing and reshaping shrubs to keep pathways clear and maintain visibility in car parks.
  • Check condition of trees, replace or remove stakes and ties as required.
  • Carry out any tree-pruning, especially as advised by independent condition surveys.
  • Pruning of roses including shrub roses.
  • Reforming grass edges to footpaths and shrub beds.

Specific alternative or additional landscape maintenance may be carried out. This is at sheltered schemes and estates outside of York and independent living communities.

The Landscape Maintenance department also provide the following services:

  • Cleaning of parking areas and other hard landscaped spaces.
  • Removal of litter and fly-tipping.
  • Graffiti removal.

Contact us for more information about your area and the types of work to be carried out.

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