Top tips for maintaining your property this winter
Over the winter period, it is important to be aware of and understand the ways in which you can maintain your property.
With this in mind, we have put together some of the key maintenance issues that may arise, and how you can look to resolve these.
Damp & Mould
It is important that you take all the steps you can to stop the build-up of damp and mould in your home. Small patches of mould can often be wiped off.
If the mould has arisen due to condensation and that condensation has been caused by the action of a tenant (such as drying clothes indoors without adequate ventilation or blocking off an air brick) then remedying the issues caused by the condensation is often an occupier's responsibility.
You should keep your property sufficiently aired and ventilated in order to prevent the above, especially during colder periods.
The Scottish Government has put together a paper that we think will really help you take the steps required to protect your home from unwanted damp and mould. Tips include:
• Produce less moisture - cover pans when cooking; dry clothes outdoors where possible; keep doors closed to prevent the moisture from escaping.
• Ventilate to remove moisture - ventilate all the time and especially when someone is in, increase ventilation in the kitchen and bathroom.
You can read more here - https://www2.gov.scot/Resource/Doc/1125/0011805.pd
You may be experiencing issues with your radiators heating up. If the top of your radiator is cold but the bottom is warm, this can mean there is too much air trapped in the system, and you need to bleed your radiator.
It is a relatively simple thing to do, but an important one to help maintain the efficiency of your boiler and central heating system. Bleeding the radiator releases the air and allows hot water to fill the whole system.
Follow these steps to check and bleed your radiators:
Before bleeding your radiator:
• Turn off your heating and ensure all radiators have completely cooled down.
• Although a screwdriver can be used for some modern radiators, most radiators require a radiator key to bleed. If you don’t have a radiator key, you can pick one up from most DIY stores.
• Ensure you have a cloth and a bucket below the radiator valve to catch any water.
• If more than one radiator is cold, there may be a problem with the whole system that needs to be checked by an engineer.
How to bleed your radiator:
• Holding the key with a cloth, slowly turn anti-clockwise to open your radiator’s valve (the smallest square nut at the top of the radiator).
• You should hear a hissing sound as the air escapes. Wait until the sound stops and water starts to leak out before turning the key clockwise to close the valve. Do not unscrew the valve completely.
• Once all your radiators have been bled, check the pressure of your boiler gauge. If the pressure is too low, you’ll need to rebalance the pressure (check your boiler manual for guidance). If the pressure is normal, you can switch your heating on and check that there are not any cold areas.
• We recommend doing a full check of all the radiators in your home every couple of months.
Smoke Alarms and CO Alarms
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms can be mains-powered or battery-powered. Mains-powered alarms also tend to have a backup battery.
If your alarm is not functioning correctly, please attempt to change the battery before reporting the issue. Battery issues are usually indicated by a periodic beep. The replacement of tenant consumables (such as batteries and light bulbs) is considered a tenant responsibility.
For the majority of smoke/heat alarms, a 9V Battery is what is required, and CO Alarms tend to be AA.
You can usually access the batteries by prising open the alarm head with a blunt knife or a flathead screwdriver. Otherwise, there are usually clear instructions written on the alarm itself.
The replacement of tenant consumables, such as lightbulbs, is considered a tenant responsibility.
There are many types of bulbs that may be in a property, but practically all can be replaced and the majority of bulbs can be purchased locally from corner shops, supermarkets, larger DIY stores, or online.
The below guides can be used to help determine which type of bulb you have and what needs to be done to replace this:
Before attempting to replace a bulb, please ensure that the light switch is switched off. It is advisable to turn the electricity off by the mains switchboard before replacing any bulbs.
If you see signs of rodent activity, there are a few steps to take:
• Mice look for two things – food and warmth. Quite often, the mice will use properties as a route to food sources. Please make sure that all food packaging is sealed in Tupperware in cupboards; clear any food debris off counters and flooring; attempt to keep bins from overflowing.
• You should also purchase traps and poisons and lay them in the affected areas. It may take a couple of weeks for these products to fully take effect before seeing decreased activity. This action is usually enough to deter mice as they search for food elsewhere.
• Another effective product to try is an ultrasonic frequency device. They can be purchased relatively cheaply online.
• Once all the above has been attempted, and if the issue is persisting, we can approach your landlord for permission to send out a professional pest control team.
Communal areas are those to which everyone has access, including:
• The entrance lobbies, landings, corridors, stairwells, meter cupboards, lifts, open walkways, external pathways, and balconies.
• It also includes shared facilities including main doors and its entry phone systems and locks, carparks, bin stores, bike stores, roofs, and gutters.
If you have any issues pertaining to the above, please check if the building has a Factor. This may be included in your tenancy agreement. If not, then you will be able to search the register:
You should attempt to report any issues to the Factor in the first instance. If there is no Factor, each building typically has a homeowner that has been nominated to organise the communal repairs. You should try to find this person by speaking with your neighbours or writing a note to be read in the communal space. It is possible that another resident has experienced the same issue as you and has already taken steps to prompt a repair.
Please note that we are not a Factoring agency and cannot make communal repairs without express permission from the landlord. They may not wish to be responsible for organising the repair.
If you search the internet for your respective city and “shared repairs,” you will find useful information on the local authority website about what to do if no owners will take responsibility for a repair.