Looking After Your Home

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On this page, you can find information and guidance about how to look after your home, and any other relevant information that might be useful during your tenancy!


Maintenance

For all of your maintenance related questions or issues, please see our maintenance page!


Noise and Behaviour

We hope that you have no problems during your tenancy with us, and in our experience of student and professional letting, the vast majority of tenants behave well, look after their properties and are considerate and friendly neighbours!

That being said, please see the following guidance as to being considerate and allowing all other tenants to enjoy their homes:

  • We know that everyone wants to enjoy their own home and we would like all our tenants to use and enjoy their home and the facilities provided as much as possible. However, we have a duty to make sure that this enjoyment does not negatively impact on any other tenants' rights to quietly enjoy their own homes.
  • Parties: Please think of your neighbours when planning parties. We do not want to limit your enjoyment of your home, but we cannot tolerate excessive noise or anti-social behaviour that disturbs other tenants, especially outside of sociable hours.
  • Another thing to keep in mind is that in many blocks of flats or houses, not all tenants are students and some people work at night. This means that any excess noise and disturbance could potentially affect someone's sleep or work, which is unfair and undefendable!
  • Please keep in mind the following clause in your Tenancy Agreement:
3.9 Nuisance to Adjoining Owners or Occupiers
3.9.1 Not to do or permit to be done on or in connection with the Premises anything which may be or tend to be a nuisance annoyance or cause of damage to the Landlord or the Landlords other tenants or any of them or to any neighbouring or adjoining property or the owners or occupiers of such property.
3.9.2 Not to play any music or otherwise create any noise that may be heard outside the Premises between the hours of 11 pm and 9 am.

If you find yourself affected by the behaviour of another tenant, please follow the steps below:

1. Contact the person responsible:
Firstly in most cases, the person causing the noise won't have realised that they are disturbing others and is not disturbing you from a place of malice or ill-intent. Often the quickest and simplest way to resolve a noise problem is to approach the person yourself to discuss the matter, either by politely knocking on their door and speaking to them or by writing them a polite note.
2. Contact us:
If the above step doesn't work, or the same tenant repeats the nuisance behaviour, you can let us know via email. We would need to know the flat number of the tenants responsible, a description of the problem behaviour (including specific times and dates), and the reason you believe them to be the culprits. We would treat the information you provide entirely anonymously and we will never reveal the source of any complaints.
We would then contact the tenant(s) directly to discuss the issue and hopefully resolve the matter. If deemed necessary, we will send those responsible a formal warning of a Breach of Contract. This formal warning carries a charge as set out in Clause 6.6 of the Tenancy Agreement and if we have to send three separate warnings to the same Tenants we would consider starting eviction proceedings against them.
Please do not suffer in silence hoping that the problem will resolve itself. If you are being disturbed by the actions of another Tenant, please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to help!
3. Taking further action:
If you find yourself disturbed by excessive noise or unruly behaviour outside our office hours, or if the problem continues despite our best efforts, we suggest that you call the Police (on their non-emergency 101 number) or Manchester City Council's Anti-Social Behaviour Action Team (ASBAT).
You can report noise nuisances to the Council using their online form here.


Cleaning

Please see our comprehensive cleaning guide for all of the information about cleaning!


Fire Safety and Smoking

Open flames such as candles, incense and smoking are all liable to cause fires, which are obviously extremely dangerous to both the tenants of your flat but also any of your neighbours! As per your tenancy agreement, you are prohibited from using any of the aforementioned items, as well as being never permitted to smoke inside any of our properties, which includes inside of your own flat.

  • If you wish to smoke, please do so outside and with consideration for other tenants. For this reason, we would request that you do not smoke next to any entrances, doors or windows.
  • Any damage to paintwork, fixtures and fittings or furniture in your flat will result in charges being levied at the end of your tenancy for cleaning or replacement. If we have to contact you during your tenancy regarding smoking within the building, the Formal Warning will carry a charge.
  • If we have to send more than three Formal Warnings to you, action to evict you could be considered.

Please also ensure that you keep fire exits and communal corridors clear of obstructions. Your flat should also be kept clean and tidy to avoid fire hazards (e.g. electrical cables that you may trip on in an emergency, clothes on electric heaters, etc.) and unnecessary damage to furniture and fittings.


Mould and Condensation

Mould and condensation is one of the biggest problems facing our tenants. This section aims to help you understand what condensation is and how it and mould growth can be minimised!

What is Condensation?

Condensation occurs where moist warm air comes into contact with colder dryer air, or a surface, which is at a lower temperature. Air contains water vapour in varying quantities; its capacity to do so is related to its temperature - warm air holds more moisture than cold air. When moist air comes into contact with either colder air or a colder surface, the air is unable to retain the same amount of moisture and the water is released to form condensation in the air or on the surface.

Condensation is generally noticeable where it forms on non-absorbent surfaces (i.e. windows, window sills, mirrors or tiles) but it can form on any surface and it may not be noticed until mould growth or rotting of material occurs!

Conditions for Condensation

In the UK, condensation in houses is mainly a problem in the winter season, particularly where warm moist air is generated in areas like kitchens and bathrooms which then moves to colder parts of a building.

The moisture in the air comes from a number of sources within the house. Water vapour is produced in relatively large quantities from normal day to day activities - for example, a 5 person household puts about 10 kg of water into the air every day (without taking into account any heating)! Some example figures for the number of litres of water produced by some routine activities are found below:

  • Breathing (asleep) - 0.3 litres
  • Breathing (awake) - 0.85 litres
  • Cooking - 3 litres
  • Personal washing - 1 litre
  • Washing and drying clothes - 5.5 litres

Moisture can also be drawn from the structure of the building into the internal air, from below the floor or through the walls/ceilings.

Ventilation and Insulation

Keeping the moist air in the house through effective draught-proofing aggravates the effect of moisture generation. It is possible to avoid condensation altogether by adequately venting moist air from the room in which it is generated. In certain areas of a house (such as bathrooms and kitchens) the warm air contains a lot of moisture; if that air then spreads to cooler parts of the house it condenses on any colder surface.

Up until the middle/late part of the twentieth century most houses had high natural ventilation, as the level of home insulation was low, draught-proofing was virtually non-existent and open fireplaces and chimneys provided good air circulation. As energy conservation became necessary, natural ventilation was greatly reduced by the introduction of double glazing, draught excluders, fitted carpets (which prevent air movement up through suspended wooden floors) and, with the introduction of central heating, the removal of open fireplaces. Houses have become effectively sealed boxes, keeping in any moisture produced within the house and providing ideal conditions for condensation to occur.

Ventilation is only effective if it is consistent throughout the whole envelope of the house. Condensation is encouraged by poor air circulation where stagnant air pockets form (behind furniture and in cupboards) and the first evidence is often the appearance of mould growth and a musty smell on clothes in wardrobes. The warm moist air rises to the highest points in the building, forming condensation in those areas, which are often oldest, including bedrooms, wardrobes and upstairs bathrooms and toilets etc.

Lifestyle Causes

The modern lifestyle means that many houses remain unoccupied and unheated throughout the greater part of the day, allowing the fabric of the building to cool down. Cold walls and masonry hold more moisture which adds to the cooling effect, creating a vicious circle resulting in colder walls, more moisture, and thus damper walls.

Any moisture producing activities are then concentrated into a relatively short time period in the evenings, producing large amounts of steam when the building structure is still relatively cold. Although there are other causes, by far the most common cause of mould growth in a rental property is condensation. Very often the main cause of condensation resulting in mould growth is the lifestyle of the occupants - the tenants themselves:

  • Lack of heating in an attempt to save money.
  • Drying clothes inside without adequate ventilation.
  • Lack of venting of steam-generating activities result in condensation, and long-term, mould and fungus growth.

How to Reduce Condensation and Prevent Mould Growth

Here are some basic steps you should do straight away to avoid condensation and mould growth:

  • If you already have mould growth, the Landlord will only be able to treat the area and paint over it once it has dried.
  • Dry your windows and window sills every morning as well as surfaces in the kitchen or bathroom, which have become wet. Wring out the cloth - don't dry it on a radiator.
  • Help reduce condensation, which has built overnight by "cross ventilating" the house. Open a small window downstairs to the first notch and the same to a small window upstairs. They should be on opposite sides of the house, or diagonally opposite if you live in a flat. At the same time open the internal room doors - this will allow air to circulate throughout the house. This type of cross ventilation should be carried out for about 30 minutes every day if possible. (But make sure those accessible windows will not cause a security problem and remember to close them before you go out.)
  • Ventilate the kitchen when cooking or washing. A window slightly open is as good as one fully open in these situations. If you have one, use the cooker extractor hood or extractor fan.
  • Avoid drying clothes on radiators (this may also be a fire safety risk).
  • Always cook with pan lids on, and turn the heat down once the water has boiled.
  • When filling your bath, run the cold water first then add the hot. This will reduce the steam, which leads to condensation, very significantly (up to 90%).
  • Keep kitchen and bathroom doors closed when you are using these rooms to prevent moisture escaping into the rest of the house.
  • Ventilate your bathroom and kitchen for about 10 to 20 minutes after use by opening a small top window. Use an extractor fan if fitted - they are very cheap to run and very effective!
  • Ventilate your bedroom by leaving a window slightly open at night or use trickle ventilators if fitted. But again remember the security of your property be closing these before you leave!
  • Do not draught-proof rooms with a condensation problem or where there is a heater or cooker that burns gas or solid fuel.
  • Do not draught-proof bathroom or kitchen windows, as this will prevent some natural, helpful ventilation.
  • Do not block ventilators or airbricks for the same reason.
  • Always try and keep some background heating on in the house to maintain warmer surfaces and help control condensation.
  • If you don't have heating in every room, keep the doors of unheated rooms open to allow some heat into them.
  • Mould growth on clothes or other stored items is very difficult to prevent because it is necessary to provide good air movement in wardrobes and cupboards. The following hints should prove helpful:
    • Keep a small gap between large pieces of furniture and the walls.
    • Where possible place wardrobes and furniture against internal walls.
    • Try to avoid overfilling wardrobes and cupboards, as this will restrict air circulation.

Another great piece of equipment is a dehumidifier! If you plan on drying washed clothes inside your property, please do so in conjunction with a dehumidifier! Dehumidifiers are very efficient, and don't cost much to run periodically!


Parking

Where parking is provided, there is generally only one parking space per flat. This means that if you have two cars or you park in another flat's space you may be asked to move your car.

If you plan to use private parking at your property, please make sure we have your car's registration number and other details on record to avoid confusion if any problems occur. Please remember that all vehicles parked on the premises must be fully taxed and insured.


Security

Being safe and secure in your home is incredibly important, to both yourselves as tenants and us as your management agency. You have the right to feel safe and secure in your own home, and we have made sure that your home is fitted with modern and secure locks and fittings that conform with British Standards. In many of our larger properties, we have (where possible) added extra security features such as gated entrances, electronic fob-assisted access systems and CCTV.

To supplement our efforts, you should always keep your home as secure as possible. Below is a checklist of things you should do whenever you leave the property (especially if you're going away for an extended period of time):

  • Make sure that all windows are shut and locked, even small ones and ones on higher floors. An open window is an invitation for a burglar to find a way to reach it!
  • Keep all of your belongings (especially valuable ones such as electronics, instruments and money) out of sight of windows so they cannot be seen from outside, so would-be burglars are not tempted to take them.
  • Keep valuables such as laptops, electronics and car keys hidden away so they are harder for a possible intruder to find.
  • If your property is fitted with an intruder/burglar alarm, make sure you use it every time you leave the property. The code for the alarm system in your flat should have been provided to you, but if you are unsure what the code is, please contact us. Instruction manuals for your alarm system can be found on our instructions page.
  • If you have locks on your bedroom doors make sure you use them.
  • Make sure that your front door and any additional exterior doors and gates are shut and locked properly.
  • If you have a communal entrance to a block, make sure it is always kept shut and do not allow tailgating (strangers entering when you enter or exit the building). If another tenant has a visitor, they should be responsible for letting them into the building. Do not assume everyone waiting at a door has a right to be inside the building.
  • TIP: It's never a good idea to post your address on the internet anywhere, but especially if you're going away on holiday, make sure only people you can trust know about it! If a burglar knows your address and when you're not going to be at home, it opens you up to risk!

If you notice that other tenants in your building are not observing good security practices, or are actively making the property less secure, please contact us immediately and we will discuss the matter with them!


For further sources of information about keeping your home and belongings secure, please see:


Pests and Infestations

If you notice signs of pest infestation (e.g. mice/rats, slugs coming into the property, cockroaches, bedbugs etc.), please log a maintenance ticket with us immediately! The sooner we are informed, the easier and quicker it is for us to sort out the problem.

To help minimise problems with pests and insects, please keep the property clean and tidy. Things like uncovered food and food waste will attract pests, and if the property is messy it will provide a perfect environment for them to nest and move about the place as they do not like open clear spaces.


Rubbish and Recycling

As tenants of the property, it is your responsibility to place your rubbish, waste and recycling in the correct bins (provided by Manchester City Council) and place these bins out on the street on the evening before your bin collection date. Once collected, the bins need to be moved back, as you may be fined by the council for leaving them out on the street.

  • To find out what your bin collection date is, please see the Bin Collection Date page on the Manchester City Council's website.


In general, black/grey bins are used for general rubbish and waste, blue bins are for cardboard recycling, brown bins are for plastic and tins, and finally green bins are for food and organic waste.

  • The council will not collect your recycling bins if they contain the wrong materials, this includes plastic bags that contain recycling materials - please just empty the bag and bin the carrier bag (or recycle it at a local supermarket)!
  • For guidance on which recycling bins to use for what material, please see this page on the council's website.
  • If you do not look after your own bins and ensure that the bins are collected properly, then you might be fined by the council!


If you need to get rid of any large unwanted items, the city council can also help with that. Please see this page for more information.


The council also provides information and advice about:


If you have any further questions about rubbish and recycling, please feel free to email us, or contact the council for further guidance!


Walls and Fixtures

You must not use adhesives to stick anything to the walls (this includes Blue-Tack, White-Tack, tape, pins, nails, hooks etc). If you wish to hang anything on the walls, please contact us and we will advise you on how to proceed.

Blue-Tack and White-Tack leave greasy marks on the walls that are difficult to remove and tend to seep through even after repainting. This means each spot of tack needs to be specially treated before the whole wall is repainted. This results in a large cost to the Landlord that is usually passed back to the Tenants and deducted from the Deposit.

Should there be any holes in the walls or damage to paintwork at the end of your tenancy, there will be a standard charge of £50 per affected wall. We would prefer not to have to charge you and be able to return your full deposit amount to you, so please keep this in mind.