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FAQs

FAQs – Most information that you will need about your home and tenancy is included in your tenancy agreement and below we aim to answer questions you might have.

Please click on this link if you have any questions or would like more information.

You can find the details to contact us by phone, email, in writing or by social media by clicking this link.

You can find information on services on the Council’s website or you can call 01452 396396 and ask for the service you need.

In March 2015, Gloucester City Council’s housing was transferred to the ownership of Gloucester City Homes. Gloucester City Council monitors our services to ensure that we deliver the promises set out in the Offer to tenants, made at the time of the transfer.

The role of the City Council

The Council continues to provide strategic housing services in the City, such as:

  • Gloucestershire Homeseeker
  • Helping homeless people
  • General housing advice
  • City-wide housing strategies and policies
  • Housing and Council Tax benefit
  • Enforcing standards in the private housing sector

The Council also provides other general services, such as:

  • Environmental Health
  • Leisure services
  • Planning
  • Waste collection and recycling

If you find you need emergency accommodation:

If you require Emergency Accommodation following an eviction, you will need to present to a local authority Homelessness Team. They will make you an appointment with a Housing Options Advisor who will discuss options and provide you with housing advice on securing alternative accommodation.

Please note that you may not qualify for housing via Homeseeker Plus if you have more than 8 weeks current or former housing debt or if you have been evicted for anti-social behaviour.

Advice

If you find yourself in this position please contact the Council’s Housing Options Team on 01452 396 396. Alternatively, you can get independent legal advice from:

Gloucester Citizens’ Advice Bureau – 01452 527202 or visit www.gloucestercab.org.uk
Shelter Housing and Homelessness Charity – 0808 800 4444 or visit www.shelter.org.uk
The Gloucester Law Centre – 01452 423492 or visit www.gloucesterlawcentre.co.uk

We know it is important to keep the communal areas around and leading up to your home clean.

These are the cleaning standards for communal areas.

Every week our cleaning partners will clean:

Bin store areas including walls and ceilings, bin chutes, outside bin areas, walls and ceilings, light fixtures, balconies, steps, stairs and landings, inside and outside glazing up to the first floor (about 2.5m high), inside and outside doors, electrical fittings, signs and notices, passenger lifts, other painted and varnished surfaces, WCs, laundries, kitchens, lounges, bathrooms, guest rooms, carpets, handrails, mirrors and pictures, window blinds, and raised half landings.

Every 12 months our cleaning partners will:

  • Clean outside communal stairwell windows on the first floor and above and soft furnishings e.g. curtains
  • Shampoo and dry all carpets in the 8 main sheltered schemes.

To help us maintain these standards, please help us by:

  • Being careful about how you dispose household waste
  • Keeping security doors closed
  • Reporting any repairs, damage or graffiti
  • Not dropping litter or dumping rubbish
  • Telling us if you are not satisfied with standards in your neighbourhood
  • Keeping proper control of your pets.

As well as this, your tenancy conditions say that you must:

  • Keep the common areas of your block clean and tidy. This includes staircases, landings, entrance halls, lifts and bin areas
  • Keep the areas clear of anything that might cause a hazard or block people’s access

With your help we intend to keep communal areas as clean as possible.

You should only keep animals that are suitable as domestic pets and must look after pets properly. We can revoke permission if you are do not look after your pet/s properly and if they are causing a nuisance to neighbours.

In your tenancy agreement it states that you can keep one domestic pet and one caged pet without our permission however you must apply for permission to keep any more. To request permission to keep more than one pet please complete a Pet Application Form or request one from your Housing Officer.

Pet(s) we consider reasonable are:

  • Domestic cats and dogs
  • Small animals such as rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs
  • Small caged animals such as budgies and canaries
  • Fish (not including large aquarium’s)
  • Non-poisonous insects and spiders (if appropriately tanked)
  • Non-poisonous snakes and reptiles under two feet in length when fully grown (if appropriately tanked)

Permission will always be granted for assistance dogs, such as guide dogs or hearing dogs.

The number of pets residents can keep in their properties will depend on several factors.

When you send us a Pet Application Form we will aim to get back to you within 10 working days

Tenants must ask our permission before installing CCTV because because we must be sure that the system doesn’t break the law or damage any property. We will not withhold permission if the following applies:

  • The system covers just your property and nobody elses
  • CCTV does not cover communal areas
  • The system does not cause damage to neighbouring properties and that any damage is made good
  • Suitable signage is installed
  • Reasons for the CCTV are provided. We may ask tenants to consider other solutions before giving permission. For example, security lighting and neighbourhood watch schemes.
  • That GCH are able to view the cameras once fitted, at installation or at a later time if requested
  • That the system complies with relevant UK law.

We will not provide consent or may withdraw consent if residents are not meeting these conditions or have not sought prior consent before installing CCTV.  If cameras are clearly focused on neighbours’ homes or property then this may be deemed as behaviour capable of causing a nuisance or annoyance and is a breach of the terms of the tenancy agreement. In these instances we will ask for the CCTV equipment to be removed and if no action is taken we reserve the right to take legal action to remove it and costs will be re-charged.

Residents are responsible for the images they record and must comply with legislation, for example:

  • They can only keep information for as long as necessary;
  • They must be able to justify the use of CCTV under the law;
  • Their images must be of good enough quality to identify people.

For more information residents can go to the Information Commissioners Office website

Gloucester City Homes do not cover your contents as part of your tenancy agreement.

It’s a good idea to consider what a home contents insurance policy would cover in order to help you make an informed decision on whether you need one. Click here to find more information.

As an Assured tenant you have:

For information on swapping your home (mutual exchange) with another tenant click here.

The right to exchange your home (with our consent)

 The right to be consulted

You have the right to be consulted on housing decisions that affect you. We will consult you about any major changes in the service you get from us and will:

  • Normally give you at least 28 days to consider the change
  • Take your views into account before making a final decision.

The right to repair

You have the right to have some urgent repairs done if they pose a risk to your health, safety or security. These must be done within target times set by the Government. For more information please see the Repairs Handbook.

The right to take in lodgers

If you have a spare room in your home and wish to take in a lodger, you can arrange this as long as you are not illegally overcrowding your home. You do not have to ask our permission.

If you receive Housing Benefit, taking in lodgers will effect the amount of benefit you get. You must tell the City Council’s benefit service. If you receive Universal Credit, then you will need to inform the Department for Work and Pensions. If you don’t, you may be overpaid Housing Benefit and you will be legally responsible to pay it back.

The right to succession

When a joint tenant sadly passes away, the tenancy will continue in the name of the other tenant. If someone who is not a joint tenant passes away, the tenancy may pass to the co-habiting partner, as long as they were living with the tenant at the time of their death.

If you are not married, registered as a civil partner or do not have a partner, another member of your family may be able to take over the tenancy, if they have been living with you for at least a year and if you have an Enhanced Assured Tenancy Agreement. We call this a ‘succession’ to your tenancy. Please check your Tenancy Agreement to see what applies to you. Your tenancy can normally only pass on once.

Your successor must contact us so that we can check that the succession is legal and update the information we hold on the tenancy.

If your home is not suitable for your successor, we may offer them the tenancy of a more suitable home. This could happen if your home is larger than needed or is suitable for a disabled person and no longer has a disabled person living there. We would not expect any remaining family members to move for at least 6 months after you pass away.

If there is a dispute over whether it is reasonable for your successor to move, we may ask the courts to resolve this.

The Right to Assign (with our consent)

You may be able to pass on (“assign”) your tenancy, to any person who would be eligible to succeed to your home if you should pass away. Your tenancy may also be assigned by a court order as part of matrimonial proceedings.


You can also assign your tenancy, with our permission, to someone with whom you are swapping (mutually exchanging) homes.

The right to sublet your home

If you want to sublet part of your home to another person, you must get our permission first. When we receive an application to sublet we will make a decision based on all the facts within 28 calendar days of receiving your application, sooner if possible. Please note, you are not permitted to sub-let the whole of your property. This is classed as tenancy fraud and may result in possession proceedings and/or criminal proceedings.

The Right to Acquire your home

The Right to Acquire allows most housing association tenants to buy their home at a discount. New tenants to Gloucester City Homes, after the transfer of 16th March 2015, will have the Right to Acquire. To do this you must have a 5 years minimum tenancy with a public sector landlord such as a council or housing association. If you would like information on what this means to you, please check your Tenancy Agreement or speak to our Leasehold Manager.

The Preserved Right to Buy (if you have an Enhanced Assured Tenancy)

If you were previously eligible to buy your home under the Right to Buy legislation and have continued to be a tenant after the transfer of housing stock on the 16th March 2015, you will have a Preserved Right to Buy. You will keep any discount entitlement that you built up as a Council tenant, even if you have moved to another GCH property (providing that it is a property that can be bought. Certain elderly and disabled designated properties cannot be bought.) Please speak to our Leasehold Manager for more information.

Yes, both tenants wishing to swap homes must have the permission of both landlords before they can move. Formal legal paperwork will need to be completed by all parties as part of the process.

What would happen if I moved without permission?

If you move without permission you will have lost security of tenure and could be evicted.

Will my tenancy change?

It might. It is essential that you understand that in swapping your home you are also taking on the tenancy of the person you are swapping with.

Local authority tenants usually have a Secure Tenancy with rights set out in Acts of Parliament. Housing association tenants are normally Assured tenants with similar rights to those set out in our Tenancy Agreement.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, tenancies are usually swapped by way of a “deed of assignment.” This means you effectively take over the existing agreement of the person you are swapping with. Different landlords may also have slightly different tenancy conditions.

If you want to swap homes with someone from another landlord you may wish to contact the landlord for a copy of their Tenancy Agreement so that you can compare them.

Will I pay the same rent?

You may have to pay slightly different rents and/or service charges. Please check with the new landlord.

Can my landlord refuse a swap?

There are grounds whereby your swap can be refused, this includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Either tenant has been served a Notice of Seeking Possession or legal proceedings have begun
  • Either home is adapted or designed to help a disabled tenant, and the new tenant doesn’t need this support
  • Either home is too large or too small for either tenant.

If you are in any doubt as to whether the swap can take place, please contact us for further advice. If your swap is refused you can appeal against the decision. We will give you information on independent advisors in Gloucester who can give you help and advice.

Can my landlord make my move conditional on me doing something first?

If you have broken your tenancy conditions we may only agree for you to swap homes, if you comply with them first.

This can include:

  • Making sure your rent is fully paid up to date
  • Complying with other tenancy conditions if you have broken any of them.

Can I pay someone or receive money from someone in exchange for swapping?

No. If you give or receive money or goods to get a swap, you may be evicted or in some cases fined.

 Will any repairs or redecoration be done before swapping homes?

No. We do not do repairs just because you are moving or you have moved into a new home. We will do any repairs in line with our normal policy.

Redecoration is the tenant’s responsibility.

Apply for a mutual exchange here or contact your Housing Officer.

We will:

  • Resolve at least 90% of your enquiries at the first point of contact
  • Deal with all your enquiries within target
  • Be courteous and friendly whenever we speak to you
  • Be neatly dressed
  • Carry and show you our ID badges at all times
  • Give our name whenever we communicate with you
  • Treat your enquiry strictly in confidence, unless you agree we can pass it to others e.g. to help provide you with a service or the law requires us to give information, for example for the protection of vulnerable adults and children, or crime detection

When you phone us

We will:

  • Confirm you are through to Gloucester City Homes
  • Give you our name and ask you if we can help
  • Call within 1 working day if you ask us to call you back

When you write to us

We will:

  • Reply within 5 working days

When you send us an email or fax

We will:

  • Reply within 1 working day

When you visit us at our office

We will:

  • See you on time if you have made an appointment
  • Offer to see you in a private area if your enquiry is confidential
  • Provide access and support to online services

Outside our office

We will:

  • Show our normal office opening hours
  • Show clear information on how to contact us in other ways
  • Normally advertise any change to our usual opening hours e.g. bank holidays, at least 5 working days ahead

When we contact you

We will:

  • Give our name, job and reason for contacting you
  • Use plain language in a format you choose

When we visit you

We will:

  • Make appointments for staff to visit you in your home, at the office or somewhere convenient for you
  • Tell you in good time if we cannot keep the appointment
  • Show you our identity card and encourage you to check that it is valid if you are not sure
  • Leave a calling card with our name and contact number if you are out

 In return we ask

That you:

  • Are polite when you speak to us
  • Do not use abusive language or be threatening in any way
  • Are patient with us at very busy times
  • Give us information to speed up your enquiry when we ask for it
  • Attend appointments on time, to avoid delaying other residents

We thank you for your help and co-operation in applying our General Service Standards

Pests such as mice and rats should be dealt with by tenants. More serious outbreaks or infestations will need to be dealt with by Gloucester City Council’s Environmental Health Team. You can call them on 01452 396396 or visit their website

We know that more of you need your homes adapted to help you stay independent at home and to support your health and wellbeing.

We have an in-house Occupational Therapist who can assess tenants medical needs and recommend the adaptations needed in homes.

There are two types of adaptation work we can carry out

Minor work (without planning permission)

May include:

  • grab bars
  • lever taps
  • additional stair rails
  • handrails
  • lowered light switches
  • raised electric sockets
  • specialist smoke alarms

Major work (requires planning permission)

May include:

  • stair lifts
  • over bath showers
  • replacing baths with showers
  • ramps
  • vehicle hard standings
  • widened doors
  • ceiling tracks
  • mobility standard kitchens
  • extra WC/wash facilities and pods
  • adapted homes

If you think this type of work could help you please contact us.

Your home has a permitted number of people who can live in it. This number is given in your Tenancy Agreement.

Allowing more than the permitted number of people to live in your home is a breach of your tenancy conditions and is an offence under the 1985 Housing Act.

The number of people who should live in a home depends on:

  • the number of rooms
  • the size of the rooms
  • the ages of the people who live there.

If you think you or your family are living in overcrowded conditions, please contact us or alternatively Gloucester City Council on 01452 396396 or heretohelp@gloucester.gov.uk​​ if you are overcrowded and require a move to bigger accommodation.

We have two types of repairs banding – Emergencies and Routine repairs.

Emergency Repairs

We aim to attend all Emergency jobs within 4 hours with a view that our engineers will make the situation safe.  We will aim to resolve the issue within 24 hours however this may not always be possible if parts need to be ordered or it’s a weekend. This would be discussed with you at the time of the visit.

Although not a definitive list, the below are examples of what is an emergency:

  • Blocked toilet (This must be the only toilet in your property and you must attempt to clear the blockage yourself first)
  • Uncontainable water leak
  • Smashed external windows leaving your property insecure
  • Unable to lock front or rear external door leaving your property insecure
  • Communal internal lighting outages

Routine Repairs

Non-emergency or routine repairs will be attended within 28 days unless there is a reasonable requirement for an extension.

Customers will be given a job number, appointment details and the name who will be attending to do the repair such as PropertyCare or an external contractor. We will keep tenants updated on the progress of their repairs including any changes to an agreed appointment.

Customers are offered an appointment “slot”. These are defined as:

  • Morning 8am – 12 noon
  • Afternoon 12 noon – 5pm
  • Avoid school-run 10am – 2pm

We will aim to complete a first time fix wherever possible.

Inspections: If we need to inspect before repair work can be completed, then we will make an appointment with you when you report the repair to us.

We give all new tenants a trial period to show they can keep to the Tenancy Agreement. This trial period is called a Starter Tenancy.

The trial period will last for 12 months (or longer, up to a maximum of another 6 months, if we identify issues). This allows us to monitor behaviours and rental payments during this period.

As a Starter tenant, you get the same level of service as an Assured tenant. For example, if you are a victim of someone else’s bad behaviour during your trial period, we will give you the same help as an Assured tenant.

As a new tenant you must sign an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (Starter Tenancy) before you move into your home.

What are my rights as a Starter tenant?

As a Starter tenant, you do not have the right to:

  • acquire your home
  • take in lodgers
  • sublet part of your home
  • improve your home
  • exchange it with another tenant.

Becoming an Assured tenant

If there are no problems during your Starter tenancy, we will send you a conversion notice. This converts your tenancy to an Assured non-shorthold tenancy. This will give you the same rights as an Assured Tenant. See more information later in this section.

We hope your Starter tenancy period is problem free and we will always try to help if you have any problems, but we will act quickly if you break your Tenancy Agreement. We will always investigate first to see if we can sort things out but if the problem is serious, or if you will not co-operate with our efforts to find solutions, we will take legal action to evict you straight away.

Paying Your Rent – Our Service Standards

We want to support you by providing the best possible advice to help you make your rent payments. As part of our Service Standards, we will:

  • Give you easy-to-understand information on; arrears, the help we can offer, actions we may take and independent advice agencies
  • Manage rent accounts well and tell you about any arrears quickly
  • Agree realistic repayment plans with you
  • Send you a rent statement regularly showing your payable rent, your account balance, your payments, benefit payments, outstanding arrears and other adjustments
  • Send you a copy of your rent account when you ask, within 1 working day
  • Give you your account balance over the phone, having confirmed your identity
  • Advise you about claiming welfare benefits, tax credits and any other benefits you may be entitled to
  • Give you help and advice on managing your money
  • Refer you to an independent advice agency before taking legal action
  • Respond to urgent enquiries about legal action we are taking, within 1 working day

If you do not pay your rent and cannot stick to a payment agreement we may have no choice but to evict you.

There are different types of court orders and we may use the below to manage our tenancies:

Suspended possession

This suspends the possession of your home based upon an agreement to pay your rent. If you stick to the agreed payments nothing else will happen. If you do not make the agreed payments we can apply to the court and seek a possession order. You may then have to leave your home.

Immediate possession

We only ask the court for an immediate possession order where we cannot reach a sustainable agreement to clear the arrears. This means that we can apply for a warrant to evict you from your home and do not need to wait.

Possession after a specified number of days

This is similar to an immediate possession order except that the court decides that we should wait a number of days until we can apply for an eviction warrant. If you still break the court order then we can continue with legal action.

When you move into your new home we want to help you get things the way you want them.

Our Standard:

If your home is poorly decorated we will either:

  • Offer you a voucher from our decoration voucher scheme towards the cost of buying decorating materials of your choice
  • If you are vulnerable and have no one to help you decorate, then further assistance may be given
  • If the home is so poorly decorated we may undertake some of the preparatory works for you (e.g. Strip old wallpaper)

Where to get your vouchers

We will issue you with vouchers and you can collect your materials or get them delivered from Johnstones Leyland Decorating Centre, Unit 5, Eastern Close Eastern Avenue Trading Estate Eastern Avenue, Gloucester GL4 3SJ. Telephone: 01452 310130.

Need more help than decorating materials?

Sometimes we will undertake some redecorating for you and this depends on how poorly decorated it is and your circumstances. We deal with this on a case by case basis so please let us know if you are unable to carry out decorating yourself.

New Homes

New build homes should not be decorated for the first 12 months. Tenants of new properties will recieve details of this when moving into a property that is less than a year old.

Anti-Social Behaviour

If you are suffering from anti-social behaviour you can report this to us by calling 01452 424344, or by making a report online

For reports of Criminal Activity (examples include: drug dealing; illicit drug use; violent or threatening behaviour; assault; criminal damage; sexual assault; theft/burglary; cuckooing) then please call the police in the first instance. If you are in immediate need of assistance, or if a crime is in progress, then call 999. To report to the police please call 101 or report online. To report crime anonymously then you can report through CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111 or report online.

If you do make a report to the police please let us know that you have done this. If the police convict a person of an offence then we may also take action against the responsible person(s) tenancy.

What happens when you make a complaint about ASB?:

Once you have made a complaint we will contact you to discuss the details and agree a plan of action with you. All reports will be received in confidence and we will not disclose the source of the complaint without agreeing this with you first.

Where agreed, we will make a referral to Victim Support if it is felt that you would benefit from this.

If you report an incident out of our normal office hours, please leave details and we will pick up the enquiry on the next working day.

You can help us by:

  • Keeping a record of incidents – this helps us to understand the persistency of the reports and the impact that this behaviour is having upon your household/community
  • Keeping us informed, and the Police if necessary, of any changes in your circumstances
  • Letting us know what you think about the service we and other partner agencies give you

We will always look to resolve cases at an early stage. Where we are not able to do this and we are satisfied that the behaviour being reported is a breach of tenancy and is detrimental to members of the local community, we may be required to take formal enforcement actions. If we are required to do this we will discuss this in detail with you and may ask that you provide a witness statement and to attend court as necessary.

Reporting Domestic Abuse

If you are experiencing any form of domestic abuse, please contact us. You can also get independent advice from Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service – Call: 01452 726570 or visit www.gdass.org.uk 

The 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Freephone Helpline is 0808 2000 247.

If you believe that Domestic Abuse is occurring, or there is an immediate risk of harm, please call 999.

We are committed to tackling all forms of domestic abuse. We define domestic abuse as:

‘Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse: Psychological, Physical, Sexual, Financial, Emotional’.

Domestic abuse is a breach of our tenancy conditions. We may take action against anyone causing it.

Reporting Hate Crime

Hate Crimes can include crimes or incidents aggravated by a hate of someone’s age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual preference, religion or belief.

If you are experiencing anti-social behaviour because of your gender, religion, age, faith, race, disability or because you are gay, lesbian or transgender please report it to us.

‘Any hate incident, which constitutes a criminal offence, perceived by the victim or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or
Hate crime can include:

  • Verbal or written abuse, for example spitting, threats, theft, offensive items left on doors, telephone calls
  • Physical assault
  • Incitement, for example stirring up racial hatred by using petitions, leaflets or stickers
  • Damage to property, or arson

Gloucester City Homes take all hate crime incidents in any form against any member of our community, including staff and contractors, extremely seriously and will deal with all complaints swiftly

We will investigate all complaints of anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse and hate crime thoroughly.

We will do this by:

  • Encouraging residents to report anti-social behaviour to us
  • Taking suitable and fair action against people who cause antisocial behaviour, hate crime and domestic abuse, whether it is caused by them, their visitors and/or their family
  • Supporting complainants and/or witnesses of anti-social behaviour. We will also offer support to any vulnerable perpetrator
  • Working with our multi-agency partners to prevent antisocial behaviour, recognising that prevention is better than cure. We will do this by referring residents to mediation and support services where appropriate. We aim to resolve most complaints of anti-social behaviour without taking legal action
  • Monitoring the quality of our service by setting service standards with our customers and completing customer satisfaction surveys when cases are closed

You can also get independent advice from:

We are no longer informed of deaths so please ensure you inform us directly.

What to do if you find, or are notified that there is asbestos in your home.

What is asbestos?

It is a natural fibre and was used in a wide range of building materials and products up to the 1990’s because it is a good insulator and resistant to fire. Homes built since the mid-1990s are unlikely to contain asbestos because of changes in health and safety laws.

Why is it harmful?

When products containing asbestos get old or damaged, they can release fibres into the air. When people breathe in high levels of these fibres they risk getting serious lung disease.

There may be asbestos in your home. However there is little risk unless the product containing it is damaged. If there is damaged asbestos in your home please contact us for advice.

Where might I find it in my home?

You might find it in these common building materials:

  • Sprayed asbestos – generally used as fire breaks in ceiling spaces, fire protection of ducts and structural steelwork
  • Lagging around pipes and boilers
  • Walls, ceilings and door linings
  • Roofing tiles and felt
  • Some ceiling tiles
  • Some flooring
  • Decorative textured coatings generally applied before 1990
  • Bath panels
  • Boarding and gaskets in electrical mains fuse cupboards and some gas fires
  • Asbestos cement products, like flat or corrugated roofing sheets and wall cladding on garages, sheds etc.
  • Gutters, rainwater pipes, water tanks and flues

How to tell if a product contains asbestos

Since 1976, British manufacturers put labels on their products to show they contain asbestos. Since 1986 all products with asbestos carry the European label. The supplier or manufacturer may be able to tell you if it contains asbestos.

Remember: products that contain asbestos can look very similar to those that don’t.

If in doubt call us on 01452 424344 about building materials.
Contact Gloucester City Council’s Environmental Health service on 01452 396396 about other goods.

How are we reducing the risk?

We have surveyed a sample of our homes to get a picture of where it is. This helps us to manage it and reduce any risk to you.

If it is damaged we will remove it. If it is not damaged we may leave it alone to do its fire-resistant job. In that case we will make sure that everyone knows the asbestos is there and that nobody damages it.

When we repair or improve your home, we will treat it with the caution it deserves. This ensures that your health and safety and that of our staff are not put at risk.

What should I do if I think there is asbestos in my home?

It is often best to leave it where it is, if in good condition and not easily damaged. Removing it can lead to higher levels of fibre in the air for some time. We will check the condition of the asbestos from time to time to make sure it isn’t damaged or deteriorating.

Do:

  • Contact us straight away if you think there is damaged or deteriorating asbestos in your home
  • Contact us if you think your warm-air heating system, electrical storage heating system or flameless catalytic gas heater may contain asbestos

Don’t:

  • Disturb or damage asbestos that is in good condition.

Contact GCH or the Health and Safety Executive www.hse.gov.uk Telephone: 0300 003 1747

You can choose to pay your rent and charges weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

Paying your rent should be a priority and it is payable to Gloucester City Homes.

If you are a joint tenant, both tenants are jointly liable for the rent payment. Both of you are still liable, even if one of you leaves the home.

Smoke and heat alarms

Fire detection is the best way to protect yourself from fire. Smoke and heat alarms gove you an early warning of a fire in your home.

We provide smoke detectors in all our homes. Your home should have a smoke alarm fitted on every floor and a heat alarm in the kitchen (heat alarms operate at higher temperatures to allow for cooking heat). If you have not got these fire detection precautions in place, notify us straight away.

We are converting all of our customer’s smoke and heat alarms from being battery powered by batteries to hard wired alarms which are powered by your mains electricity. They have a battery as a backup in case your power fails.

Do:

  • Dust your smoke/heat alarm regularly
  • Check your smoke/heat alarm weekly to make sure it is working by pressing the test button
  • Replace the battery if the alarm bleeps for any reason other than smoke or fire in your home
  • Contact us if you have any problems with your smoke alarm

Do not:

  • Remove a working battery from your smoke/heat alarm
  • Paint over or remove the smoke alarm

If you decide to put up extra smoke alarms:

Do:

  • Check with us first to ensure your ceiling does not contain asbestos
  • Position them on the ceiling in the middle of the room

Do not:

  • Put smoke alarms in or near kitchens or bathrooms because everyday steam and smoke can set them off by accident. Your Scheme Officer will also test the fire alarm systems in your scheme’s communal areas weekly

If you live in one of our sheltered or semi sheltered homes there is an annual programme of testing the smoke detector in your property. If a battery needs replacing GCH will be responsible for arranging this.

Your smoke detector connects to the monitoring centre.  Please answer their call if they contact you, to confirm what has happened. If there is no answer this will be treated as an emergency and the Fire Service will be called.

Fire safety checks in Sheltered Housing:

  • Emergency lighting – monthly
  • Appliances e.g. fire hoses and fire extinguishers – annually
  • Alarm systems – quarterly
  • Risk assessments – annually
  • Alarm test – weekly

Fire safety checks in General blocks:

  • Emergency lighting – monthly
  • Appliances e.g. fire hoses and fire extinguishers – annually
  • Aalarm systems – 6 monthly
  • Risk assessments – 3 yearly (annually where fire risk is higher)

We will take any action needed to ensure these systems are working properly and that fire detection methods comply with the latest standards.

What should I do if there is a fire in my home?

How do I prevent fire in my home?

How do I reduce fire risk in a block?

Our Estate Services Team complete practical work to maintain your community and communal areas.

The Estate Services Team follow a 4 week schedule from Monday to Friday that covers Podsmead, Tuffley, Quedegley, Matson, Robinswood, Barton and Tredworth, Westgate and Kingsholm and other smaller areas around the city. This means that each area is visited at least once per month.

The Estate Services team are responsible for:

  • Removal of bulky items from communal areas if a health & safety/fire risk. If not a risk, items will be left in place and identified for recharge through Tenancy Services. Flytipped items will not be removed for free
  • Check communal waste areas and remove excess bags from bins. This is so that they can be collected by the Council collections
  • Complete a litter pick of the area
  • Areas of grounds maintenance not covered by Council contracts will be addressed, cut back and tidied. Some of these areas may necessitate a return visit in order to complete
  • Check and maintain local alleyways and paths. Some may need more than one visit and work will continue on the next scheduled visit
  • Check and maintain garage sites and compounds
  • Record and report any other issues back to relevant GCH team

Please note that we may recharge you for this service, if we find that you have caused the problem in the first place, such as dumping rubbish illegally.

We want to hear about your experience with us and welcome your suggestions, compliments and complaints. You can make them here

We do not provide furniture, carpets or curtains when letting our homes.

If you receive benefits, we can tell you about organisations which may be able to help you buy them.

Decent Homes Standard

In 2000, the Government brought in rules about the quality of homes tenants rent from councils or housing associations. The standard is:

A decent home will be warm, weatherproof and have reasonably modern facilities.
These are the main things taken into account when deciding if a home meets the Decent Homes Standard. A decent home must:

  • Be in reasonable repair
  • Meet current legal housing standards
  • Have reasonably modern facilities and services

This means at least 4 of the following:

  • A kitchen that is no more than 20 years old
  • A kitchen with adequate space and layout
  • A bathroom that is no more than 30 years old
  • A suitably located bathroom and toilet
  • Adequate noise insulation
  • Adequate space and layout in common areas of flats
  • Be efficiently heated and effectively insulated

Gloucester Housing Standard

Working with our tenants we have developed a Gloucester Housing Standard. This provides better facilities than the basic Decent Homes Standard and where possible we aspire for all of our homes to meet this.

The standard includes:

  • High-quality PVC double-glazed windows with secure locking handles
  • No all-metal window
  • Modern fitted kitchen units, also vinyl flooring, tiling and extractor fan
  • A full heating system
  • A modern fitted bathroom suite with extractor fan, vinyl flooring, tiling and redecoration
  • High-quality, secure front and back doors with a choice of fittings
  • Loft insulation, cavity-wall insulation and external insulation with rendering as appropriate
  • Modern wiring including smoke detectors, plus electricity meters in an outdoor cabinet where possible
  • Gardens that have been cleared and left tidy where required
  • Good access, where possible, to external doors and staircase/doorway handrails where needed
  • Footpaths and boundary fencing to front and rear gardens, with gates as required
  • Off-street parking with paved access and a refuse/green bin storage area where possible
  • A modern watertight roof

Whether we can do all of the above items will depend on there being enough money available at the time we do the work.

You can make improvements, alterations and additions to your home provided that you have gained our consent in writing and all other necessary approvals

We will not unreasonably withhold our consent. However we may make it conditional that the works are carried out to a certain standard. If you don’t gain our consent or comply with our conditions this is a breach of your tenancy agreement. If we have to undertake work to improve or reinstate the original we may charge you.

You are responsible for repairing and maintaining your improvements, alterations and additions. This is unless we agree in writing that we will be responsible for them. We may require you to remove any improvements, alterations or additions at the end of the tenancy. Also to make good any damage to your home or our fixtures and fittings or to the common parts caused by the improvement, alteration or addition. Or to pay any costs reasonably incurred by us in carrying out such works in default.

We have a team of friendly Tenancy Sustainment Advisors who can help you to address any financial problems that you may be experiencing.

We can help you with:

  • Universal Credit advice and support making a claim or amendments to your claim 
  • Completing benefit applications, or liaising with other agencies such as the Department of Work and Pensions and the Local Authority 
  • Advice about other benefits that may be available to you 
  • Rent account queries and setting up Direct Debits 
  • Setting up a household budget 
  • Prioritising your payments 
  • Signposting you to more specialist financial services if necessary

Keeping communal areas clear and free of obstruction is very important.

It is important that communal areas are kept clear and free from rubbish or hazards at all times.

Communal staircases, landings and corridors provide access for emergency services in the event of a fire and an escape route for the safe evacuation of residents.

Items left in stairwells or corridors could become a hazard particularly in the event of a fire if the area was smoke filled or in darkness.

Customers living in blocks of flats with communal areas have a responsibility to keep the corridors, landing and stairwells clear at all times. These are not areas for storage of personal items, furniture or bags of rubbish awaiting disposal.

The following items should not be stored or placed in communal areas;

  • Bikes or motor bikes
  • Prams, buggies or pushchairs
  • Children’s toys, bikes and scooters
  • Recycling boxes, bags or bins
  • Furniture, tables, cupboards or chairs
  • Door mats or carpet
  • Black bin bags and general rubbish
  • Mobility scooters or other walking aids

We routinely inspect communal areas and remove items, with the costs recharged to individual residents if known or inlcuded as part of the annual service charge for residents within the block. We encourage residents to help us keep areas clear by reporting items left in communal areas.

To reduce fire risk, customers should ensure that communal doors and fire doors to individual flats are not wedged open and kept closed at all times.

Legislation from July 2007 prohibits smoking in common parts of domestic premises e.g. communal areas in a block. Enclosed communal areas of blocks of flats are now designated smoke-free premises.

Our priority is to ensure that communal areas are hazard free and together with residents within our blocks of flats and housing schemes, we effectively manage, monitor and minimise fire risk.

What should I do if there is a fire in my home?

How do I prevent fire in my home?

What fire detection methods are there in my home?

Internal Doors

You are expected to pay for internal doors to be replaced. Regardless of whether this was due by accidental damage or criminal damage.

External Doors

If you or anyone in your home causes damage on external doors, we expect you to arrange to get this repaired. Alternatively you can ask us to repair this and the cost will be recharged back to you.

Windows:

You are expected to pay for glass to be replaced in windows even if this was due to accidental damage.

If criminal damage has occurred such as a break- in or vandalism, we will carry out the necessary work to make your home safe. We will not charge you for the work if you can give us a police crime reference number (not an incident number). If you are unable to provide this information you will be recharged.

What to do if there is a fire in a sheltered housing property or a flat within a purpose built block with a communal area

Do:

  • Stay in your home and close all doors behind you
  • Move towards a window, so that you can be seen from the outside
  • Get ready to be evacuated e.g. get dressed, collect walking sticks, house keys etc.
  • Wait for the Senior Fire Officer to decide when to evacuate the building. They will have a list of all the residents who need help
  •  Stay in your home until told that it is safe to leave, or you are told to evacuate
  • If you are in a communal area leave by the safest route and report to the assembly point
  • Stay at the assembly point until the Senior Fire Officer tells you what to do next.

Do not

  • Use the lift
  • Let visitors through the communal door entry system unless they are emergency personnel needing to get into the building
  • Leave your home until told that it is safe to do so
  • Go out into the corridors to investigate
  • Block corridors, keep escape routes clear at all times

If there is a fire in your house, bungalow, maisonette or in a converted block of flats*

*Our converted blocks of flats are 31, 35 & 39 Parliament Street, 71 London Road and 1 Belgrave Road.

Do not tackle the fire yourself.

Do:

  • Keep calm and leave immediately, closing all doors behind you
  • Crawl out at ground level if smoke is making it difficult for you to breathe – smoke tends to rise and breathing should be easier the closer you are to the ground
  • Check doors before opening them, with the back of your hand. If it is warm, do not open it – there may be a fire on the other side
  • Raise the alarm by activating a fire alarm point if there is one. Alternatively dial 999, ask for the Fire and Rescue Service and tell them your location
  • Go to a place of safety outside and stay there until told what to do by the Senior Fire Officer on the scene.

Do not:

  • Waste time investigating what has happened or rescuing valuables.

If you are trapped by the fire or smoke

Try to take refuge in a room with a window or external door that isn’t affected by fire or smoke and make sure you close the door behind you to delay the fire. Place a wet piece of clothing or towel across the bottom of the door to prevent smoke getting in. If there is an exit door or window from the room, use it to escape. If you are on the first floor, throw something out of the window which will help to break your fall, such as a mattress or cushions, and then lower yourself by your arms from the window ledge before dropping.

Do Not Jump

If there are 2 adults, 1 should go down first to catch children. The other should get into a secure position and then lower the children as far as possible down the outside wall before letting them drop.

If you are above first-floor level, or due to your age or health cannot get out of the window, open the window and draw attention to yourself by shouting and by waving sheets or clothes. Wait until the emergency services arrive to rescue you.

If your clothes catch fire Stop! Drop! And Roll!

Do:

  • Lie down and roll around. It makes it harder for it to spread and may put out some of the flames
  • Smother the flames with a heavy material, like a coat or blanket, it will help deprive the fire of oxygen which it needs to keep burning

Do not:

  • Run around, it will make the flames worse

How do I prevent fire in my home?

How do I reduce fire risk in a block?

What fire detection methods are there in my home?

For a free Home Fire Safety Check: visit www.glosfire.gov.uk or call 01452 888777

Your rent service charges are set by a Government formula. Ensuring that the rents for similar homes in similar areas of the country are the same. This is regardless of whether the landlord is a Council or Housing Association.

We will tell you about any changes in your rent or service charges in late February or March each year. This gives you at least 4 weeks’ notice of any change.

For more information contact The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (formerly the Department for Communities and Local Government) on 0303 444 0000 or visit www.communities.gov.uk

The Council encourages residents to reduce, reuse and recycle as much household rubbish as possible.

Recycling rubbish conserves resources, saves energy and helps protect the environment by reducing the amount of rubbish in landfill sites.


You can use the green bins, food waste containers, compost bins, garden cuttings collection service etc. provided to recycle your rubbish.

If you live in a block of flats, you can recycle your rubbish using the Council provided communal facilities.  If you misuse the recycling bins and put the wrong things in them, they become contaminated. This could lead to an increase in your service charge.

For more information, contact the Council’s Recycling Team on 01452 396396 or email enviro@gloucester.gov.uk

You are responsible for replacing door locks or keys when keys are lost or broken, or you get locked out.

This includes window and garage keys.

You should contact a local, reputable locksmith or we can raise a rechargeable repair for you.

If you have a water emergency in your home such as a burst pipe or  flooding:

  • To stop flooding, turn the mains stoptap to the right (clockwise ↵) or press the surestop switch (if there is one).
Diagram of how to turn off a water service valve
  • If you need to shut off the supply of water to a fitting, such as a toilet or basin, you can use the service valve on the pipe leading to it (if there is one fitted).
  • After the water has been isolated, call our repairs team on 01452 424344

If you have no water at all coming into the property, phone Severn Trent on 0800 783 4444

Condensation can occur in any home. You can take steps to prevent it.

Control excess moisture:

  • close kitchen and bathroom doors to prevent steam going into other colder rooms.
  • open kitchen and bathroom windows when cooking or washing so that steam can escape, or use an extractor fan if you have one fitted.
  • open some windows in other rooms for a while each day to allow a change of air.
  • do not use bottled gas heaters – these are not allowed to be kept inside under gas regulations.
  • wipe down surfaces where moisture settles to prevent mould forming; and
  • do not block air vents or air bricks in your property.
  • use fans where they are fitted.
  • do not cover radiators.

Produce less moisture:

  • dry clothes outdoors whenever possible, otherwise use well ventilated rooms.
  • cover pans when cooking: and
  • vent any tumble drier to the outside, or use a tumble dryer condenser box.

Read here about how to reduce condensation

Planned programme of repairs

We may not carry out all routine repairs as soon as you report them. Where a repair does not cause immediate inconvenience or present a danger to occupants or to the public, we may include them in a planned programme of repairs.

Planning repairs in programmes means that we can carry out similar repairs to a number of properties in a road or neighbourhood at the same time, which is more efficient. An example would be replacing gutters to a number of homes in the same road.

We will tell you if we are putting your repair in a planned programme within 5 working days of you reporting it. Also, we will tell you when we expect the programme to start and end.

We also undertake annual planned maintenance checks to your homes which include the following:

  • Communal heating systems
  • Communal lighting and electric car park barriers
  • Individual and communal smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide alarms
  • Communal door entry systems
  • Communal fire alarms
  • Lifts

It can also include:

  • The regular painting of rendering on the outside of individual homes or blocks of flats and maisonettes
  • Painting communal areas inside blocks of flats and maisonettes

Our Service Standards when improving your home are that we will:

  • Ensure you have a clear point of contact for all work being completed in your home
  • Provide proof of identity before entering your home
  • Wear uniforms that display our name
  • Drive vehicles that clearly show the home-improvement partner’s name and that they are working in partnership with us
  • Do the work to a good standard
  • Use good-quality materials
  • Where possible, we will offer you a choice of style and colour of kitchens, bathrooms, floors, doors, fires and surrounds etc.
  • Do the work while you stay in your home
  • Give you extra help if you have special needs
  • Ensure you are not left overnight without electricity and essential facilities
  • Post-inspect a percentage of work, to ensure that our contractors are delivering a high standard of workmanship and you are happy with our service

Fire Safety in your home is very important and we want you to be safe from the risk of fire in your home.

If you can smell or see smoke, call 999 immediately.

Chip Pan – Fire Risk & Safety Advice

Chip pan fires cause one fifth of all accidental dwelling fires attended by the fire and rescue service in the UK each year. Nearly 20 people are killed or injured every day in accidental fires that start in their kitchen, the most common of these caused by deep fat frying.

Given the considerable fire risk we no longer support the use of chip pans by customers.

Barbecue – Fire Risk & Safety Advice

Barbecues present a significant fire risk and a risk to personal safety. Balconies on blocks of flats are not allowed due to the risk of falling embers and higher wind speeds at height.

Top 10 barbecue safety tips:

While barbecues should never be used on balconies on blocks of flats, they can be used safely in outdoor garden areas, provided these rules are followed:

  1. Ensure the barbecue is strong, sturdy and in good working order
  2. Place it on level ground to avoid it tipping over
  3. Keep it well clear of any trees, shrubs, or flammable objects
  4. Keep children and animals well away
  5. Never pour on petrol or other accelerants
  6. For charcoal barbecues, only use the minimum fuel necessary
  7. For gas barbecues, ensure the tap is turned off before changing the cylinder
  8. Never leave the barbecue unattended
  9. Keep a bucket of water or sand close by
  10. Ensure the barbecue is cool before attempting to move it

Candles – Fire Risk & Safety Advice

Candles mark special occasions and create a special atmosphere however they also bring fire into your home so need to be treated carefully.

The Do’s and Don’ts

  • Always put candles on a heat resistant surface. Be especially careful with night lights and tea lights, which get hot enough to melt plastic. TVs are not fire-resistant objects
  • Candles need to be held firmly upright by stable holders so they don’t fall over.
  • Position them away from curtains. Don’t put candles near curtains or other fabrics – or furniture. And keep them out of draughts
  • Don’t put them under shelves. It’s easy to forget that there’s a lot of heat above a burning candle. If you put it under a shelf or other surface then it can burn the surface. Make sure there’s at least three feet (one metre) between a candle and any surface above it
  • Keep clothes and hair away. If there’s any chance you could lean across a candle and forget it’s there, put it somewhere else. You don’t want to set fire to your clothes or your hair
  • Keep children and pets away. Candles should be out of reach of children and pets
  • Keep candles apart. Leave at least four inches (10cm) between two burning candles
  • Take care with votive or scented candles. These kinds of candles turn to liquid to release their fragrance, so put them in a glass or metal holder
  • Don’t move them when they’re burning. Extinguish candles before moving them. Also, don’t let anything fall into the hot wax like match sticks
  • Don’t leave them burning. Extinguish candles before you leave a room. Never go to sleep with a candle still burning. And never leave a burning candle or oil burner in a child’s bedroom
  • Use a snuffer or a spoon to put them out. It’s safer than blowing them, which can send sparks and hot wax flying
  • Double check they’re out. Candles that have been put out can go on smouldering and start a fire. Make sure they’re completely out.

Polystyrene tiles

We actively discourage the use of polystyrene tiles in our homes because older types of these tiles can give off poisonous fumes if they catch fire and may spread fire quickly to other parts of the property.

Because we cannot tell whether polystyrene tiles in our homes are the old, potentially dangerous or the new safer variety, we always remove them before re-letting a home. Do not put up polystyrene tiles in your home without contacting us first.

Furniture

Ensure that your furniture has the fire resistant permanent label.

How to prevent common kitchen fires

Do:

  • Keep matches and saucepan handles out of children’s reach and do not let saucepan handles stick out from the cooker where they could be easily knocked off
  • Take the pans off the heat or turn down the heat under the pans if you have to leave the kitchen whilst cooking
  • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker
  • Use spark devices rather than matches or lighters to light gas cookers because they do not have a naked flame
  • Double check the cooker is off when you have finished cooking
  • Keep electrical leads and appliances away from water
  • Keep your cooker clean and free from fat and grease
  • Use a thermostat controlled electric deep-fat fryer, which cannot overheat rather than hot oil in a saucepan which can easily overheat and catch fire
  • Keep toasters clean and away from curtains and kitchen rolls
  • Keep oil to below one third of the height of the pan if you do use a saucepan, and make sure food is dry before placing it in the hot oil – it could splash and spit hot oil on you
  • Turn off the heat and leave the oil to cool down if it starts to smoke.

Do not:

  • Leave children in the kitchen on their own when you are cooking
  • Wear loose clothing when cooking as it could easily catch fire
  • Put anything metal in the microwave
  • Take any risks, if oil in a pan catches fire, turn off the heat if it is safe to do so
  • Try to put an oil pan fire out with water as it could just lead to the burning oil exploding over you and the kitchen
  • Take a burning saucepan outside as oxygen will feed the fire and make it worse

How to prevent common electrical fires

Do:

  • Always check that you use the right fuse to prevent your plug overheating
  • Make sure your electrical appliances have the British or European safety mark
  • Use one plug per socket rather than using adaptors or extension leads. High powered appliances such as washing machines should always have a single plug and plug socket to themselves
  • Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order to prevent them causing a fire
  • Look for signs of dangerous or loose wiring such as scorch marks, hot plugs and sockets, flickering lights, fuses that blow or circuit breakers that trip for no obvious reason
  • Replace any old cables and leads
  • Unplug appliances that you are not using
  • Unplug electric blankets before going to bed if they do not have a thermostatic control for safe all night use
  • Try to secure portable heaters up against a wall to stop them falling over
  • Keep portable heaters away from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes
  • Replace electric blankets immediately if they show wear and tear.

Do not:

  • Overload an extension lead or adaptor – check its limit e.g. an extension’s limit may be 13 amp so you would not want to put 4 x 5 amp appliances, as this adds up to 20 amps
  • Leave electric blankets folded as this damages the internal wiring, store them flat or rolled up instead
  • Buy second hand electric blankets.

Planning a safe escape

Preparing and practising an escape plan will help to ensure that you and your family can escape safely if there is a fire.

Do:

  • Make sure everyone in your home knows where the door and window keys are kept
  •  Make sure exits are kept clear
  • Identify a quick and easy route out of your home
  • Think of another route in case the first one is blocked
  • Make sure everyone living with you knows what to do in a fire

For a free Home Fire Safety Check: visit www.glosfire.gov.uk or call 01452 888777

What should I do if there is a fire in my home?

How do I reduce fire risk in a block?

What fire detection methods are there in my home?

By law we must carry out Home Safety Checks at every property each year. The aim of this check is to service any gas fires, boilers and water heaters in your home. We will also test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, where fitted.

You must allow our engineers into your home to do this. If you do not let them in, you are putting the lives of you, your family and neighbours at risk. You must have Credit on your meter otherwise we cannot carry out the service and your supply will be capped.

Appointments

When your safety checks are due, we will give you at least 1 week’s notice of the appointment. Should you be out at the agreed time, the engineer will leave a card with a new appointment. If you cannot keep the second appointment you must phone and rearrange it. If you do not keep the second appointment, the engineer will leave another card and a warning label across your front door and you will be charged £20.
Should an appointment be inconvenient for you, please let us know with as much notice as possible.

If you do not keep your appointment

If you do not get in touch with us, we will start legal action to get into your home. We will do this within 12 months of the date we last checked and serviced the appliance(s).

If we smell gas or have concern for your welfare, we reserve the right to force entry to your home to take emergency action. This is to protect your health and safety and that of your neighbours.

We do this because if your gas appliance isn’t serviced it can cause death by carbon monoxide poisoning or explosion. We won’t put your safety or that of your neighbours at risk in this way. Thank you for your cooperation.

We may charge you for all the costs of taking legal action, coming out to your home, forcing entry and doing repairs. If you keep refusing us entry you may lose your home.

Your own gas appliances

If you have fitted any gas appliances, please have them checked and serviced every year to make sure they are safe. We check this takes place. Always use a Gas Safety Registered gas fitter for any work to gas appliances.

If you smell gas, take these steps straight away:

Do:

  • Turn off your mains supply
  • Open doors and windows
  • Once outside, phone the emergency number 0800 111 999

Do Not use:

  • matches, naked flames or cigarettes
  • electrical switches (do not turn on your lights)
  • mobile phones inside the building

Carbon Monoxide Kills – but you cannot see it, taste it or smell it.

Carbon monoxide is poisonous and can be fatal. If an appliance that burns gas, oil, coal or wood isn’t working properly it may give off carbon monoxide. This can also happen if the appliance is in a room with poor ventilation or a blocked chimney or flue.

What should you do?

  • Keep your Home Safety Check appointment
  • Get any appliances you’ve fitted yourself checked each year by a Gas Safety Registered engineer
  • Keep your home well ventilated. Never block flues or paper over air vents
  • Have any chimneys regularly swept and kept clear
  • If you are buying a carbon monoxide detector, get one that complies with BS 7860 but do not rely entirely on these devices

DANGER SIGNS:

  • Flames that normally burn blue are burning orange or yellow instead
  • Sooty stains on or just above appliances
  • Coal or wood fires that burn slowly or go out

If you have any of these symptoms and you think carbon monoxide may be involved, switch off all of your appliances and call your doctor at once:

  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Chest pains
  • Giddiness
  • Sickness, diarrhoea or stomach pains.

If you are concerned about any gas appliance please contact us.

Useful Contacts

For gas appliances:
Gas Safety Advice Line: 0800 300 363 or visit www.hse.gov.uk/gas

For solid fuel, coal and wood appliances:
Solid Fuel Association: 0845 601 4406 or visit www.solidfuel.co.uk

For oil appliances: 
Oil Firing Technical Association for the Petroleum : 0845 65 85 080 or visit www.oftec.org

For Gas Safe Engineers: 
Gas Safety Register: 0800 408 5500 or visit www.gassafetyregister.co.uk

We will always aim to complete repairs within our specified time limits.

If a repair engineer does not visit your home within the response time or keep to a specific appointment time agreed with you please contact us so we can follow this up.

Under the Right to Repair regulations, you have a right to have certain repairs (which could affect your health and safety) completed within set time limits. If you want to find out more about the Right to Repair, please contact us.

We know that your local environment is important to you and your quality of life.

Our grounds maintenance partner looks after the grassed areas in your neighbourhood. They will:

  • Cut grassed areas at sheltered housing schemes (including semi-sheltered schemes) so that they are box cut with grass collection by rotary machine, 14 times per season
  • Cut all other grassed areas maintained by pedestrian rotary machine or cutting on amenity grass areas, on a cut and leave basis, 12 cuts per season
  • Strim all grassed areas and borders edged as appropriate, 12 times per season
  • Spray weed sprays on hard surfaces, 2 times per season
  • Maintain shrub beds and borders, 1-2 occasions per season
  • Cut hedges appropriately, 2, 3 or 4 occasions per season dependent on location and type of hedge
  • Collect, remove and dispose of fallen leaves as appropriate, 4 occasions per season

Laundries

We provide laundry equipment on our main 8 sheltered schemes.

There is a charge for use of the machines of £1.40 per washing cycle per load and £1.00 per tumble dryer per load.

Please bear in mind that Independent Living Officers do not keep or supply change for these machines as they are supplied by external contractors.

Motor Scooter Facilities

There are storage facilities for motor scooters at Clapham Court, Badger Vale Court, Broom House, Nightingale House and Halford House.

Please ask your Independent Living Officer for permission if you would like to have a motor scooter. Scooter space is allocated on a first come first serve basis. Scooters stored on our sheltered schemes must be insured to include public liability cover.

If you are considering moving into sheltered housing with a motor scooter, please discuss with your Housing Officer before you sign up to the property. They will be able to check availability at the scheme.

There is zero tolerance for motor Scooters to be stored in communal hallways and corridors due to fire saftey regulations.

If you currently have a scooter stored within the scooter store please ensure your Independent Living Officer has a copy of the insurance.

Security

All sheltered housing properties are fitted with suited locks.

This will enable the Independent Living Officer/emergency services to enter your property if there is an emergency. We will not use the suited lock key unless you have agreed in writing for us to do so, with exception of a gas leak, fire or flood

All of our schemes have CCTV which is only used when a security issue has arisen. Cameras are placed in communal areas and external areas only.

Fire Alarms

All Independent Living Schemes are fitted with an integrated hard wired fire alarm system. This is linked to all properties via a smoke detector.

24hr Emergency Service

We operate a 24 hour out of hour’s service for repairs and emergencies.

Emergencies out of hours can be reported to Hereford Careline on 01432 384100 and our emergency repairs line is 01452 424344.

Lifelink Alarm Service

The Lifelink Alarm Service is an assistive technology telecare alarm service for elderly and vulnerable residents of Gloucestershire.

Lifelink supplies, installs and maintains alarms which customers can use to request assistance in an emergency. This is a chargeable service, find more information here.

If your fittings or appliances are sparking, flickering, giving off shocks, or no electricity at all:

  • Turn the mains switch at the consumer unit (fuse box) OFF and contact us so that we can raise an emergency repair
  • If you have a power cut, call the emergency number given in the phone book or on your electricity bill. It might be worth checking if your neighbours have power.
  • After the electricity has been isolated, call our repairs team on 01452 424344 to raise an emergency repair.

If you suspect someone is guilty of tenancy fraud, contact us in confidence.

The Audit Commission Act 1998 requires us to take part in the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) data-matching exercise from time to time. We provide tenancy data to the Audit Commission for the NFI. They use it to cross check information, helping prevent and detect fraud. Every tenant in the country may be checked. It does not imply that you are involved in fraud.

You can report tenancy fraud online here

Our Shine Employment and Training Service can help tenants or anyone living in our properties.

Yes, you will need to buy your own TV licence unless are aged over 75.

Tenants over the age of 75 qualify for a free TV licence, if you live in sheltered housing accommodation please contact your Scheme Manager for information.

Existing sheltered housing tenants who are on the Concessionary TV Licence will be invoiced £7.50 by GCH each year.

If you have arrears from a former tenancy you can make payments towards the debt in the normal way.

We will work with you to come to an arrangement for how you will pay us back the money that you owe us.

If we cannot agree how you will pay your debt we can take further action against you. We use a debt recovery agency to help us find people who have left a home without leaving a forwarding address or making an agreement to clear arrears and legal action can be undertaken.

Remember that you may not be entitled to start a tenancy with other landlords if you have left your GCH home with arrears.

We want you to be warm and well in your home, below is our advice for keeping warm and well in cold weather.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia (when your body temperature falls below normal) is more likely to happen to someone who is elderly or very young and can happen if you are in a temperature of below 6°C (43°F) for 2 hours or more.

Avoiding hypothermia

Here are some simple tips to help you avoid hypothermia.

During the day:

  • Set your heating thermostat to around 21ºC (70ºF) and heat all the rooms you use in the day
  • If you cannot heat all your rooms make sure you keep your living room warm and heat your bedroom before going to bed
  • Set the timer on your heating to come on before you get up and switch off when you go to bed in very cold weather.

At night:

  • Try to keep a temperature above 18°C (65°F) in your bedroom
  • If you use a fire or heater in your bedroom during winter, open the window or door a little at night for ventilation. An electric blanket or a hot water bottle will help you keep warm but never use them together as you could electrocute yourself
  • Keep your curtains closed.

In general:

  • Use draught excluders around doors and windows but do not block up any air vents
  • Have plenty of hot drinks and food
  • Wear plenty of thin layers, rather than one thick one
  • Put on a coat, hat, scarf, gloves and warm shoes or boots when you go outside
  • Wear clothes made of wool, cotton, or fleecy synthetic fibres
  • Stay warm in bed with bed socks, thermal underwear and a nightcap or headscarf.

What to look out for:

The signs of hypothermia are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • No longer feeling cold even though the room is very cold
  • Very cold skin in areas that are normally covered (stomach and under the armpits).

What to do if someone is suffering from hypothermia:

  • Take action quickly
  • Gradually turn up the heating
  • Use some light blankets to warm them up
  • Give them a warm drink
  • Get medical help.

Visit the Warm and Well website www.warmandwell.co.uk

Water Safety covers Legionella, hot water and overheating thermostats.

What is Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia that can kill. It can affect anybody, however, it mainly affects vulnerable people due, for example, to age, illness, a lowered immune system or smoking.

A bacterium called Legionella Pneumophila, and other bacteria that live in rivers, lakes and reservoirs cause the disease. They can also live in purpose-built water systems including hot and cold-water systems, storage tanks, pipe work, taps and showers. In the right conditions, the bacteria may grow. This increases the risk of legionnaires’ disease so it is important to control the risks.

The risks tend to be higher in larger water systems like those in factories, hotels, hospitals, museums and cooling towers. But the bacteria can also live in smaller water-supply systems used in homes and other residential accommodation.
Legionella can survive in low temperatures, but thrive at 20°C (68°F) to 50°C (122°F). Temperatures of 60°C (140°F) and over will kill Legionella.

How to reduce the risk of Legionella in your home

The risk of Legionella is very low, but you can take steps to avoid it. The risk is greater when you move into a new home. It is also higher if you are returning after a long break.

  • Keep your cistern covered, insulated, clean and free from debris
  • Make sure your pipe work is insulated. If it isn’t, ask us to do it for you
  • Run your shower or hot tap continuously for at least 5 minutes when you move in or return after a long break. This flushes out any bacteria.

Please remember that if you are going away for over 2 weeks, let us know. Then we won’t think you have abandoned your home.

What we do to reduce the risk of Legionella

We are responsible for some large water tanks in blocks of flats, which supply more than one home. We arrange regular checks of these water systems for Legionella.

Hot water

Accidents involving overheating hot water cylinders are rare. However if you know the warning signs, you can help to make sure you and your family are safe if your cylinder does overheat.

These are the warning signs to look out for:

  • Excessively hot water coming out of the hot taps
  • Excessive noise or ‘bubbling’ from the hot water cylinder
  • Hot water coming out of certain cold taps (some storage cisterns also feed cold taps in the bathroom)
  • Steam/moisture in the roof space

If you think your thermostat may be overheating, please turn it off and contact us on 01452 424344.

If you report a problem with an immersion heater, we will check whether any of the warning signs are present. We will ensure that all immersion heaters we repair or replace have a safety cut out feature.

You can also contact Gloucester City Council’s Environmental Services on 01452 396396.

Electrical Safety in your home is important to us. We want you to be safe and secure in your home.

You can help to keep your family safe by knowing what to check for on electrical items in your home. If something isn’t quite right or you are unsure, remember to contact us and we will be able to advise if repairs are needed.

Simple safety checks

  • Check where your mains switch is and that you know how to turn it off if there is an emergency.
  • If you have an RCD trip switch in your home, make sure you know how to reset it. We advise that you should test this every 3 months and instructions can be found on the inside of the board. Check appliances before you use it again if it has caused the trip switch to cut out. The appliance causing the problem is generally the last one you turned on. If in doubt, turn on the appliances you have been using one by one until you find out which one has caused the switch to trip.
  • If your electricity fails and you have a token meter – always check you have a supply of tokens in the meter.

Plugs and sockets

Look out for:

  • Hot plugs or sockets, scorch marks, fuses that often blow, or flickering lights. These are all signs of loose wiring or other electrical problems
  • Badly-wired plugs – any coloured wires sticking out could come loose and debris could also get into the plug
  • Overloaded sockets – plugging too many electrical appliances into one socket can lead to overheating

Cables and leads

Check for these problems:

  • Fraying and damage – make sure the outer covering of all power leads is in good condition and replace if necessary
  • Bad positioning – make sure leads cannot be tripped over and that they are not near water, cookers or other sources of heat
  • Do not run leads under rugs or carpets – they may wear out without anyone noticing.

Appliances

General rules:

  • Do not get them wet. For example, do not put a vase of flowers on top of the TV in case you knock it over
  • Do not leave them on at night – unless they are designed to be left on, like freezers
  • Do not put anything in the microwave that is made of metal, or has a metallic finish or parts.

Servicing

Arrange a yearly service by a qualified electrician, for appliances that run at high speeds and contain motors, like washing machines.

Plugs, sockets and cables

To use plugs, sockets and cables safely, always:

  • Change a plug correctly and make sure you cannot see any coloured wires between the plug and the power lead
  • Make sure the wires are held firmly in place inside the plug
  • Use sockets safely – it is better to use an extension lead than a single multi-plug adaptor
  • Only use 1 adaptor per socket – do not plug 1 adaptor into another and try to keep to 1 plug per socket

If you are fitting or changing a fuse, make sure you use the right fuse for the appliance. Check the manual or look for a sticker on the appliance to find out its wattage and then use the correct fuse for appliances:

Fuses

  • up to 700 watts, use a 3 amp fuse
  • between 700 and 1,000 watts, use a 5 amp fuse
  • more than 1,000 watts, use a 13 amp fuse.
  • Extension leads and adaptors have a limit on how many amps they can take, so be careful not to overload them, to reduce the risk of a fire.

For more information please contact us or visit the Electrical Safety Council’s website at www.esc.org.uk

Installing Electrical Additions and Alterations

No electrical work can be carried out until it has been approved by us. If you plan to carry out any electrical installation works, such as installing new sockets, switches and wiring to outbuildings, this must be approved by us first as these works must be carried out and certified by an approved electrical contractor. Failure to do so will result in the removal of the alterations which will be charged back to you. Find more information here about the Building regulations and Document P.

Any light fittings or fixtures must be installed by a competant electrician.

Please contact us if you need any information about electrical upgrades in your home, we want you to live happily but more importantly safely.

Our electrical servicing partner will inspect:

  • Emergency communal lighting every month
  • Communal portable electrical appliances, in our Independent Living Schemes, every 12 months, e.g. kettles in communal kitchens

For any tenancy related issues or questions please contact your Housing Officer. They will be able to put you in contact with a range of staff and agencies.

Paying your rent and budgeting

Our friendly Tenancy Sustainment Advisors can help you with budgeting, payment options and benefits advice.

Greensquare Community Based Support

Gloucestershire County Council provides Community Based Support (CBS) through an organisation called GreenSquare in Gloucester. This service is open to anyone with an assessed housing-related support need. If you live in sheltered or semi-sheltered accommodation or are disabled, GCH provides a support service.

Following an assessment, the service will:

  • Help you focus on both the short term problems and provide you with the tools to improve your quality of life and support your independence in the long term
  • Liaise with other services, to give you the best chance of living independently in the long term
  • Work with you to connect you to the local community
  • Offer transitional support if you are leaving supported accommodation

GreenSquare can provide you with advice and signposting if you require support with the following:

  • Drug and/or alcohol issues
  • Risk of domestic abuse
  • Sensory impairments
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Gypsies and traveller
  • Asylum seekers and refugees

To contact GreenSquare phone 01452 726951 or email glos.support@greensquaregroup.com

If you want to end your tenancy you will need to let us know by completing a notice of termination.

You must give us at least four weeks’ termination notice in writing ending on a Sunday unless we agree to a notice ending on a different day.

You can submit a notice of termination online.

You will need to return all of the properties keys to our office (or any place we agree) on an agreed date. If you fail to return the keys at the end of your tenancy we may continue to charge use and occupation fees (equivalent to rent) until the keys are returned. If we have to change the locks of the property due to your failure to return the keys, we will charge you the costs of the replacement.

When you leave your home you must remove all furniture, personal possessions and rubbish and leave your home and our fixtures and fittings in good lettable condition and repair (subject to fair wear and tear). If you fail to comply with this condition you will be charged for disposal of rubbish and cleaning of your home.

We do not accept any responsibility for anything you leave at your home at the end of the tenancy.

Yes, it is possible to change your name on your tenancy if you have official documentation to provde the change.

You can complete a form online here.

We have a team of friendly Tenancy Sustainment Advisors who can help you with budgeting, benefits and looking at how you can be better off.

If you would rather look at your budget yourself you can use our online budget calculator. Our budget calculator is free for all tenants to use, once you have completed your information press ‘send to Advisor’ and one of our Tenancy Sustainment Officers will look at your information to see how you could be better off.

Are you struggling to make ends meet? Please contact us straight away if you have money problems. Once we know that there is an issue we can often help by checking that you are receiving all of the correct benefits, working out the best way of paying your rent and putting you in contact with our partners who are able to provide a range of help.

These government schemes help eligible council and housing association tenants in England to buy their home with a discount. The longer you have been a tenant the more discount you are entitled to.  

If you were a GCH tenant before 16th March 2015 you may have the Right to Buy and could be eligible to receive a discount up to £82,800. If you moved into the property after 16th March 2015 you may have The Right to Acquire and could receive a discount up to £10,000. 

Please bear in mind that some homes cannot be bought and that there are exceptions. 

Am I entitled to Right to Buy? 

If you have been a tenant of GCH since before the 16th March 2015, you may have the Preserved Right to Buy. There are some exceptions so please contact us to check your eligibility.  

Please note that the Right to Buy is different on our brand new properties. This is because we are unable to sell these for less than they cost to build. This rule applies for 15 years after the property is built. Please bear this in mind if you move from one of our existing properties to one of our new homes. 

You can find out more about buying your home from The Department for Communities and Local Government website

What is Right to Acquire 

If your tenancy with GCH started after 16th March 2015, you will not have any Right to Buy. You may be entitled to the Right to Acquire your property though.

Am I entitled to Right to Acquire? 

If you have become a tenant after 16th March 2015 and have a least 3 years tenancy with any Public Sector Landlord, then you may have the Right to Acquire your home. You can contact us to check your eligibility. 

You can find out more about buying your home from The Department for Communities and Local Government website

We run a not-for-profit company called Lifelink. This is open to anyone living within Gloucestershire.

Lifelink is a 24-hour telecare alarm service which provides you or your loved one with the ability to call for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In times of emergency, help is just the push of a button away. You can call from anywhere in your home, even in your garden.

We also offers a Responder service where the team can act as an emergency contact.

Prices for start from £3.69 per week.

For more information or to request a no-obligation home visit please visit the Lifelink website, email info@lifelink.uk.com or call 01452 833133

We have 3 main types of tenancy.

A Starter Tenancy – this tenancy is for new tenants who became a tenant of GCH after 16th March 2015.
An Assured Tenancy – this tenancy is for new tenants after 16th March 2015, who complete their Starter Tenancy.
An Enhanced Assured Tenancy – this tenancy is for ex Gloucester City Council tenants who became GCH tenants when their home’s ownership was transferred to GCH on 16th March 2015. This tenancy provides additional rights such as the right to buy and additional succession rights and mimics the previous Secure Tenancy.

A recharge is when we charge tenants for costs we incur when the work is due to their action or behaviour. For example, we may have to carry out repairs to property because the resident has neglected or caused damage to their home.

All work prices are based on the National Housing Federation’s Schedule of Rates and are fixed costs. Please bear in mind that we also charge for our time plus VAT and a 15% admin fee.

Please be aware that if we are if we are called out and the work is no longer required we will still have to charge you for our call out time.

Example costs for a recharge for a lock change are: Our time, VAT and a 15% admin fee plus £65 – £100 for the lock change (depending on the type of lock required). If you do lose your keys you could consider calling a reputable locksmith to change the locks, you do not have to use our service.

If you have any suggestions for additional FAQs please email us on communications@gch.co.uk