Caring for your home

Gas safety

By law, we must inspect all gas appliances in the homes we own once a year. 

Our gas contractor carries out all repairs, services and inspections on the gas appliances we own.

They will need to enter your home once a year to carry out work. Aaron Services is our contractor.

Our contractors will always let you know when they are going to call.

If the appointment is inconvenient, you should call them to rearrange it.

If you miss an appointment, we will write to you telling you to make another appointment urgently. 

It is extremely important that you or a friend or relative (who is 18 or older) can be at home to let our contractors in.

If you miss an appointment, this will cost us money and you may be putting your home in danger.

When the contractors are in your home

  • use a dust sheet to protect your flooring
  • take your boiler apart and vacuum it
  • check your gas meter
  • check the ventilation in your home
  • if you have radiators, take a water sample from one of them
  • Quality control checks

If you have no gas appliances

Even if you have no gas appliances, we still need to have access to your home.

The health and safety executive insists that all landlords must inspect every property they own once a year - this includes homes that have no gas supply.

This reassures everyone living in the neighbourhood that the risk of a gas explosion has been reduced.

The safety inspection visit takes about five minutes but it is vital for everyone's safety.

For your safety

For your safety, always follow these rules:

  • Do not block the ventilation in a room that has a gas boiler with an open flue
  • Do not fit a ceiling fan in a room that has a gas boiler with an open flue or gas fire
  • Carbon-monoxide detectors fitted in your home must not be removed, painted or altered in any way
  • Do not install surrounds to any gas appliances unless you have our permission
  • Do not paint or alter casings to any gas appliance in any way
  • Boiler flues that go through an outside wall must not be covered or altered in any way. This includes building any extension such as a conservatory which would enclose a boiler flue

Your own gas appliances

If you have had your own gas appliance fitted in your home, we will carry out a general safety inspection but not a full service.

It is your responsibility to have it serviced every year by a CORGI-registered engineer.

However, we are responsible for any chimney used by your own appliance, and the engineer will check it.

You cannot see, smell or taste carbon monoxide, so it is important to ask your CORGI-registered engineer or your landlord for a gas safety certificate.

You must have this by law to show that your gas appliances have been serviced.

Please let us into your home when we ask

Last year we serviced all the gas appliances we own. To achieve this, we had to gain access to every property, and we have a firm forced-entry policy.

We do not want to force entry to your home but we must do all we can to make sure that you, your family, your home and everyone living in your neighbourhood is safe.

Electrical and fire safety

Electricity kills and injures many people every year. This can be because of faulty installation.

Any professional doing electrical work must make sure that it meets building regulations. If they don't, they could be committing a criminal offence and putting your home at risk of fire.

They should be registered with the Electrical Contractors Association or the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting. They must also be a member of the Domestic Installer Scheme.

If they are, they will give you a certificate which you can photocopy and pass on to us for our records.

If you carry out electrical work yourself, it will need to meet building regulations.

If you have work carried out which does not meet building regulations, we may charge you to fix it.

Fire Safety 

We take fire safety very seriously. We want you to be safe in your home. 

The Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service has lots of information about fire safety and also offer home fire safety checks. 

Top tips and advice on fire safety are also available for download from the 

Insuring your Council home

We insure the structure of your home.

You should insure the contents of your home including any decorating you do. 

We have joined together with Thistle Tenant Risks to offer you home contents insurance. They can offer:

  • Cover for fire, theft, flood, water damage and other household risk 
  • Cover lost or stolen keys
  • Freezer contents
  • Accidental damage to fixed glass in doors and windows 

For more information contact Thistle Insurance on 0845 601 7007 or if may be cheaper to call 01628 586187 from a mobile. Alternatively you can email Crystal Insurance.

More information is also available on the Crystal Insurance website

Keep your home secure

It is your responsibility to keep your property secure.

If you lose your keys or lock yourself out, you must call a locksmith and pay for the service.

If you use a security-door fob key which is damaged or faulty, we will replace it free of charge.

If you lose it, or you cannot return it to us for any reason, you will have to pay for the new one. These keys are expensive and take a few days to replace.

What to do if your pipes freeze

If your pipes freeze:

  • turn off the water supply at the stop tap
  • turn off the central heating or put out the fire if you have a back boiler
  • drain the water system by turning on the taps until they run dry
  • find out where the pipe is frozen
  • if it is frozen in the loft, open the hatch to let the warmer air in
  • thaw the pipe with a fan heater, hairdryer or hot-water bottle

If your heating is affected, and you live in one of our council homes, we may be able to provide some portable heaters. Please contact us 

If you go away

If you are going away for a few days in the winter and you have central heating, leave it running on its lowest setting. This helps to prevent pipes freezing.

If you are leaving your property for more than 21 days:

  • turn off and disconnect all electrical appliances (except your freezer)
  • turn off the water at the stop tap
  • when you return, drain the hot and cold system of water by turning on the taps and flushing the toilets
  • ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your home
  • leave your heating on a low setting in the winter

If you are leaving your property for a long period of time, then please contact us 

Damp and mould

Damp, mould and condensation are common problems in the home. There are things you can do to prevent them, or reduce them.

We have worked with Ipswich Borough Council to produce a handy guide on how to reduce condensation.

Damp

'Damp' is generally used to describe water that has damaged the structure of a home. There are two types of damp:

  • rising
  • penetrating

Rising damp

Rising damp is quite rare and occurs when moisture from the ground travels upward, through the walls.

Most houses have a barrier installed (this barrier is called a damp proof course) to prevent rising damp. However, these courses can fail over time - in older houses, they might not exist at all. Sometimes, due to a construction fault, they may also be bridged. This means that, despite the course remaining intact, damp can still travel past it.

Rising damp will affect the ground floor of your home, up to a height of about one and a half metres.

A few, common signs of rising damp are:

  • dark patches on the wall(s), that are damp to the touch
  • peeling wallpaper
  • a damp and musty smell
  • decaying timber (for example, the floor boards)

Rising damp is usually treated with a damp proofing injection cream.

Penetrating damp

Penetrating damp is also sometimes referred to as 'rain penetration'. It occurs when moisture travels through an external wall and into the home.

Penetrating damp is usually the result of building defects like cracks in a wall(s), spalling bricks or faulty guttering. It can affect your home at any level, and can get worse after long and heavy periods of rain.

A few, common signs of penetrating damp are:

  • damaged or misshapen plaster
  • damage to the interior decoration of the home
  • damp patches that get bigger when they come into contact with moisture
  • mould growth

Treatment will depend on the individual property and the extent of the damage.

How to prevent damp

There are a few, simple things you can do to help prevent damp in your home:

  • Dry your clothes outside
  • Use the extractor fans in your kitchen and bathroom, if you have them
  • Air your home regularly by opening your windows for short periods of time
  • Keep your home warm

You should also check for, and cover, any gaps in window and door frames.

Mould

Mould is a naturally occurring fungi that grows on damp surfaces, in poorly ventilated conditions. Damp and condensation can both cause mould to grow and reproduce.

If your home is not kept warm and dry, it's at risk of mould growth.

Mould is a health concern and can make asthma worse - it can also cause other breathing problems.

How to prevent mould

If you take steps to prevent damp in your home, you are making sure that mould is less likely to grow too.

Keep your home as ventilated as possible - open windows regularly and always open windows after cooking or showering. You should also keep your doors closed, so that moisture does not have a chance to spread.

If you have thick carpets, clean them regularly. Do not block your radiators with furniture, or use them to dry clothes.

A home free of clutter is also less likely to see mould growth, as the air will have more space to circulate in.

The Centre for Sustainable Energy have published an easy to read guide about dealing with damp and mould in the home.

Condensation

Condensation is a common household problem. It is a physical change where a gas turns into a liquid (it is the opposite of evaporation).

It can occur when warm, humid air meets a cold surface - for example, water vapour will release moisture (as water droplets) when it comes into contact with a window.

Condensation can cause damp, and then mould.

How to prevent condensation

The best way to prevent condensation is to keep your home well ventilated; warm and dry. Open your windows regularly so that fresh air can circulate.

Wipe down windows and their sills every morning, to prevent a build-up of excess moisture. You should also wipe down bathroom tiles after showering or having a bath.

Dehumidifiers, when regularly cleaned, are also an effective way of managing condensation as they remove water from air.

Contact us

If you still have a problem, and are a council tenant, please contact us and we will send somebody to inspect your home.