Tenants

Reporting Maintenance Issue

Stuff breaks. It sucks, we know. Perhaps one day there will be a magical fairy who will come down and fix all our household problems within minutes. But fear not, until that charming day, you can report your maintenance issue by either e-mailing us 24/7 at chloe@southernandwesthomes.co.uk or calling the office on 01202 232323 between the hours of 9am – 6pm Monday-Friday or 9am – 12pm on Saturday’s. If you have an emergency outside of our office hours, please call 07736 933919.

Although every now and then boilers break, water leaks and power cuts, we want to minimise the disruption that you experience. After all, our property managers are here to make your lives easier and sort out these niggling issues. We’ve listened to your queries and have come up with a time-saving solution. 

Below we have provided you lovely tenants with help and advice on how to fix simple issues yourselves, and how to report more complex issues for our team to investigate. By following the steps below it will help our team resolve issues much quicker, as we know the extent of the problem straight away, saving you, us and contractors time.

Chloe
Flowers

Important Information

Gas

In the event of you smelling gas, evacuate the property IMMEDIATELY and please call the free Gas Emergency Services emergency line immediately on 0800 111 999 from outside of the property. Once outside, DO NOT RE-ENTER THE PROPERTY.

Electricity

  • If you have no electricity and you are on a prepaid meter, have you still got credit?
  • If you have no electricity and are not on a prepaid meter or you have credit, is there a power cut in your area? Check with your next door neighbour to see if they have power.
  • Did your power go out as you turned on an appliance? If you are the owner of this appliance and it caused the power to trip, you may be charged a callout fee.

Water

  • If you have no water, check to see if your neighbour has water. If your neighbour has no water, please call Bournemouth Water on 01202 590059.

Boilers

  • If you have an oil boiler which has stopped working, please check that your tank still contains oil. If it is out of oil, please refill the tank and see if the boiler will reignite before contacting us.
  • If you have a gas boiler where the gas is prepaid, please check you have credit on your account. If you are out of credit, please top up your meter before contacting us. Also check that your Boiler has power and that this is switched on.

Blocked Drains

  • If the blocked drain is within your internal pipework, you will normally be liable for its repair.

Please be aware that if it is considered the issue is as a consequence of your misuse/delay in reporting problem/or when a contractor attends no issue is identified you could be liable for the contractors charge.

How to Report Maintenance Issues 

If you are to experience any issues within the property there is a procedure for reporting them. This procedure is in place to help try and speed up the process for repairs. It is extremely useful for you to be able to provide us with the following information:

  • What is the nature of the issue? Is it a fault? Request for improvement?
  • Full description of the issue.
  • Exact location of the issue?
  • When did the fault occur or issue begin?
  • What do you believe is the cause to the problem or what could have triggered the issue?
  • If the fault is visible please provide a photo or if the fault is audible, please provide a video or sound recording.

If we are to send a contractor out and no fault is found, you could be liable for the call out charge, so please be sure the issue is an actual fault and not user error before requesting us to send someone out. 

All maintenance must be reported to chloe@southernandwesthomes.co.uk or by calling the office on 01202 232323. It is not acceptable to report maintenance via WhatsApp or text message alone, as this could get missed. If you are sending a photo to the office mobile, please follow this up with an email to Chloe. The office mobile is only for out-of-hours emergencies, so if your issue is not deemed to be an emergency and you call the office mobile, it will not be dealt with until the office reopens. 

Help and Advice with Condensation & Mould

In the UK at certain times of the year, condensation can build up within a property and create problems such as water dripping down windows and mould appearing on walls and ceilings. These problems can be easily controlled if you follow a few simple precautions:

  • Keep the bathroom door closed whilst using the bath or shower and open a window to allow any excess steam to escape after use. Running both the hot and cold taps at the same time can reduce the built up of steam. Use the extractor fan. Wipe down tiles and shower screens after use.
  • Keep the kitchen door closed when cooking and again open the window to let any excess moisture escape. Do not allow over boiling of food. Use the extractor fan.
  • Make sure both the kitchen and bathroom are kept warm as this will keep moisture levels down.
  • DO NOT hang washing over radiators or around the property to dry as this will also increase moisture levels.
  • Maintain a constant level of background heating throughout the day and night. The inside temperature should be higher than the temperature outside.  If the heating is turned off during the day and put on in the evenings the property will get damp and the sudden increase in temperature for short periods of time will cause mould to grow.
  • Pull back the curtains during the day and if the windows have condensation on them you should open a window or wipe the water off with a cloth.
  • Remember that the human body gives off at least 1 litre of moisture during the night and this must either be dried by a high level of heating or by opening the windows.
  • If your windows have a sliding vent system, please ensure the vents are left open at all times. If the windows can be locked whilst partially open leaving only a narrow gap, please do so.
  • Do not block or cover any air vents as these provide vital ventilation as well as an escape route for excess moisture.
  • Do not place wardrobes or other large items of furniture against outside walls as this prevents air circulation and the hot air hitting a cold outside wall will encourage mould to grow quicker.
  • Keep all internal doors open when not in the property to ensure free circulation of air.
  • If there is an extractor fan in the kitchen or bathroom, please ensure it is working and report any faults immediately. This is particularly important for internal rooms without windows.
  • Mould can easily get onto curtains and upholstery and will rot the fabric if not washed off immediately.

Hopefully if these recommendations are followed, there shouldn't be any, however, if condensation mould does start to appear, under the terms of your Tenancy Agreement, it is the Tenants' responsibility to clean it off. The Tenant is also obliged to tell the Agent or the Landlord as soon as possible. Failure to act may mean that the problem becomes much worse and could result in a deduction from the Tenants' Security Deposit when they vacate the property.

Group Photo

Water and Leaks

If the leak cannot be controlled by turning the stopcock off then this is deemed an emergency and must be reported to us immediately:

Monday to Friday 9:00am/6:00pm – 01202 232323/chloe@southernandwesthomes.co.uk 

Out of Hours: 07736 933919 (leave a voicemail with your Name, Number, Property address and the reason for calling)

If a leak is coming from the above or adjacent property, you must try and make contact with the occupants immediately. If you are unable to make contact with them then leave a note and contact the block management company. 

No water coming into the property

If you have no water, check to see if your neighbour has water. If your neighbour has no water, please call Bournemouth Water on 01202 590059. 

Bathroom & Toilet 

Dripping Tap

Leaking tap, toilet, shower head etc.  If you are experiencing any of these then please either call the office on 01202 232323 or email chloe@southernandwesthomes.co.uk  to let us know. We can then contact your landlord and arrange for a contractor to attend. 

Waste Pipe Blocked

A blocked waste pipe from a sink, basin, shower or bath etc can generally be identified by the slow draining of water. Blockages tend to form over a long period of time and could be down to, but not limited by, hair, grease or kitchen waste. As a result of this it won’t always be evident immediately. 

Blockages can be dealt with in many ways; once you have checked for any visible obstructions we would recommend you start off by using a good old fashioned plunger. If this does not do the trick, you should then clean out the waste trap. If you have tried a plunger as well as cleaning the waste pipe and it has not helped you should use a chemical drain cleaner.  

1) Plunger 

A plunger is most effective when water from the waste pipe has backed up into the basin/sink, it works by pushing and pulling the blockage within the waste pipe, until it becomes dislodged and can be flushed out.

Step 1 Check the water level.  Ideally, there should be enough water to cover the plunger cup.

Step 2 Make sure the rim of the plunger is completely pulled out from the cup as this is essential.  Lower the plunger into the bowl at an angle so that the cup fills with as much water as possible. Do your best to trap as little air in the cup as possible.

Step 3 Place the cup over the drain hole, the rim needs to be inside the hole.  The cup should form a complete seal around the outside of the hole.

Step 4 Using the handle of the plunger, forcefully push down on the cup and gently pull the cup back up ensuring you do not break the seal around the hole. Repeat this around five or so times, removing the cup on the last plunge.

2) Cleaning the Waste Trap

You will find the waste trap under the plug hole; it provides a water seal preventing odours from coming back into the room. Over time debris can collect causing obstruction, which effects the draining.

Step 1 Remove as much water as possible from within the sink/basin; doing this reduces the amount of water being released when the trap is opened.

Step 2 Use a container to collect any water that will be released once the trap has been opened/disconnected; this will need to be placed under the waste trap.

Step 3 Open or disconnect the trap, whichever is appropriate for your waste trap.

Step 4 Allow the contents of the trap to drain into the container.

Step 5 If you have an old leak pipe work trap then use a pipe cleaner to probe inside the waste pipe, wiggle this about to ensure all areas in the pipe are cleaned. Doing this will dislodge any debris. If you have a modern waste pipe then simply remove the bottom cap and clean out the trap pipe up to the plug hole using a small brush; this needs to be done with care, then rinse the bottom cap with water. Once rinsed thoroughly, fit this back to the waste pipe and run hot water down the pipe to clear any excess debris.

3) Chemical Cleaners

Chemical cleaners are powerful chemicals which are just poured through the plughole and into the waste pipe; as they are highly corrosive they break down the build-up of any debris. Chemical drain cleaners come in two forms; Liquid and Granules. One disadvantage to using liquid chemical cleaners is that it only cleans the surface they touch. Foaming chemical cleaners on the other hand expand once poured into the pipe, meaning it reaches a wider surface area within the pipes therefore cleaning more debris away. Always follow the instructions on the packet when using any chemical and take caution when handling any chemicals i.e wearing gloves.

If none of the above work then please contact the office on 01202 232323 or email chloe@southernandwesthomes.co.uk

Sealants

If the silicone sealants become discoloured this could be mildew. It is a tenant’s responsibility to remove mildew with appropriate products.

Over time the silicone can start to crack; if you notice the seals between the bath and the wall breaking down this will need to be re-siliconed to prevent water ingress.

Boilers and Heating

Boiler Pressure

What is boiler pressure? The boiler heats cold water that travels around the pipes and radiators throughout the property. For this process to work as efficiently as possible the water pressure needs to be stable. Most modern combination boiler pressures are maintained by a 'filling loop', which connects to the cold water pipe.

Please check the dial gauge; if the pressure reads less than 1 bar then it is highly likely that you may have lost water from the system.  You will need to top up the boiler to replace the lost water. If you are not comfortable to do this yourself then contact the office on 01202 232323 or email chloe@southernandwesthomes.co.uk and we will arrange for someone to come out and show you. 

If the pressure gauge on your boiler indicates high pressure above 2.75 bar then you may need to bleed a radiator to bring the level down to around 1.5 bar. Please ensure when doing this that you have a container handy to catch any water; once any air is out, you must ensure the valve is completely closed. 

Boiler Leaking

If your boiler is leaking please notify us as soon as possible, if this is out of hours please call the emergency line on 07736 933919 and leave a voicemail with your Name, Number, Property address and the reason for calling. We would also advise that you turn the water off at the stopcock to stop any further damage.  

Heating programmer not working

Firstly check the timer clock is set to the correct time; this can be the most common cause to the programmer not working as it can reset without you knowing. If you are unsure how to do this then look online for a manual by searching your boiler make and model.  

It is also a good idea to look and see if your heating programmer uses batteries; if so check these are working and if not replace them. 

Communal Heating and Hot Water not working

This relates to shared facility such as communal boilers and boilers in communal areas. Directly notify the block management of such issues.  Their details should be displayed in the communal areas of the block. If you cannot find these documents please contact the office and we can provide you with the details.

 

Appliances 

Appliance not turning on

Firstly check that you have power; if not please refer to the section Electricity.  If you have power then check that the appliance has not been turned off at the mains power switch; if this is on then contact the office on 01202 232323 or email chloe@southernandwesthomes.co.uk  so we can inform the landlord.  

Oven turns on but doesn’t heat up

Does the oven turn on? If not call the office on 01202 232323 or email chloe@sotuhernandwesthomes.co.uk , If yes then check you have set the temperature and the correct setting turned on. Once you have checked the settings, if the oven is still not reaching temperature it is likely that it requires a new element; contact the office to report this. 

Washing machine not draining

Have you overfilled your machine? If you have put too much inside the drum then this will affect it draining; you will need to take the clothes out and run it on a cycle or if you have the option for drain only then do this. If once you’ve tried this the machine still won’t drain it is likely that the pump or hose is blocked; it could be a build-up of debris or occasionally small items of clothing can get into the draining system. You need to remove the hose from the pump and clean this out. Also check the filter and clean it out; if you don’t know how to do this then search the make and model of the machine on the internet, and it will explain what you need to do. 

If after doing the above, the machine still does not drain then please call the office on 01202 232323 or email chloe@southenrandwesthomes.co.uk

Washing Machine very noisy when spinning

Why is the washing machine making noise? We need to find the cause to establish the extent of the repair. 

There are many reasons your washing machine is making noise, it could be that a coin or something like this has fallen out of your pockets whilst clothes are in the wash. Once the cycle has finished you should inspect the drum to look for any loose objects and remove them. If there is no evidence of any loose objects spin the drum by hand to see if you can hear any noise; if yes it could be that the drum bearings are worn. You will need to contact the office on 01202 232323 or email chloe@southernandwesthomes.co.uk

Tumble Drier is not Drying

You should start off by resetting the dryer’s thermal overload cut out. If your dryer is not getting hot this will stop the process of drying clothes; if this happens it often means the heater fuse has tripped; you just need to reset the switch. Some machines do not have a reset button; in cases like these an appliance engineer in required, therefore call the office on 01202 232323 or email chloe@southernandwesthomes.co.uk

Lighting 

Changing Light Bulbs

Changing light bulbs is a tenant’s responsibility, as per your signed tenancy agreement.

Step 1 Turn off the power – switch the red power button to off in the fuse box. 

Step 2 Let the bulb cool down before handling it.

Step 3 Make sure you can safely reach the fitting, if necessary use a ladder.  

Step 4 Remove by firmly grabbing the bulb, push it upwards and turn it anticlockwise.  

Step 5 Replace the bulb by turning it clockwise until it locks into place. Ensure it is securely installed.

Step 6 Turn the power back on in the fuse box. Once back on, test the light.

Be careful when disposing of the old light bulb as the glass is fragile. 

Replacing spot light bulbs

Changing spotlight bulbs is also a tenant’s responsibility. If you are unsure how to do this, you can watch videos online demonstrating the process. 

Flickering Light Bulbs

Flickering lights can easily be resolved; how you get to the bottom of this depends on the cause. You need to determine why the lights are flickering, listed below are the most common causes: 

  • Loose Bulbs - If bulbs aren’t securely screwed into place this will result in a weak connection, which causes flickering. To rectify this you simply tighten the bulb; if you have a florescent tube try rotating the tube ensuring the metal pins on the ends are making contact with the fixture mounts.
  • Dimmer Switches – These are the main causes to LED Bulbs flickering; dimmer switches are designed to be used with incandescent bulbs therefore don’t always cooperate with LED bulbs. If you have dimmer switches it is recommended that you buy premium dimmable LED Bulbs. If using the dimmer LED bulb does not help, then it could be that a new dimmer switch is needed; in this case it is recommended that a dimmer switch designed for LED bulbs is installed. 
  • Bulb Type – It is known that florescent lights tend to flicker more than LED and other bulbs; this is due to a number of things i.e. age of the bulb, temperature and warm up cycles.  Replace the bulb/tube; if the flickering continues then contact the office on 01202 232323 or email chloe@southernandwesthomes.co.uk

 From time to time lights will flicker due to a drop or fluctuation in the household voltage; this should rectify itself and is not a cause for concern.