This page is designed to give Tenants a brief guide into Safety and Good property maintenance.
Tenancy deposit protection.
What is tenancy deposit protection?
By law, when you pay a deposit, Northwood must protect it using a government authorised tenancy deposit provider.
The government wants to make sure your tenancy deposit is protected so that:
1. You get all or part of your deposit back when you are entitled to it.
2. Any disputes between you and your landlord or agent will be easier to resolve.
At the beginning of a new tenancy, pay your deposit to Northwood as usual. Within 30 days, we are required to give you details about how your deposit is protected, including:
· The contact details of the tenancy deposit provider.
· The contact details of the landlord or agent.
· How to apply for the release of the deposit.
· Information explaining the purpose of the deposit.
Safeguarding your deposit.
You have a responsibility to return the property in the same condition that it was let to you, allowing for fair wear and tear (See our other page). When you move into the property, an inventory detailing the contents and the condition of the property will be given to you. Photographic evidence of the property will also be provided and you will be asked to sign them at the time you move in.
You will also receive a copy of the Northwood Glossary on Fair Wear and Tear detailing your obligations.
At the end of the tenancy, check whether you are leaving the property and its contents in the condition in which it was let to you – allowing for fair wear and tear – and check that you have paid your rent and any other expenses. Then agree with Northwood, within 10 days of the end of the tenancy, how much of the deposit should be returned to you. Once this is agreed, your deposit will be returned to you in accordance with the guidelines set out by the DPS (Deposit Protection Scheme).
When you move out, if you and Northwood can’t agree how much of your deposit should be returned, there will be a free service available through the DPS who protects your deposit that will help resolve your dispute. Check with the information that you received at the beginning of your tenancy for details.
Condensation in your property.
If you think that you have problems with damp or condensation, please contact Northwood Lincoln via the Fixlow App or Website as there may be serious, underlying reasons why this has appeared.
What is condensation?
Condensation forms because the moisture in the air can no longer be held as a vapour, so returns to liquid form.
This occurs when warm moist air comes into contact with either cooler air or a cooler surface. ‘Dew point’ describes the temperature when air containing a given quantity of moisture vapour will condense onto that surface.
While condensation is obvious when it occurs on impermeable surfaces – most commonly window glass, cold-water pipes and ceramic tiles– it will also form on any surface which is at, or lower than, dew point. The presence of condensation on more absorbent surfaces (such as paint, plaster or wallpaper) becomes obvious when disruption, damage or mould growth forms on that surface.
Mould growth is a typical sign of chronic condensation and occurs as spores which are always present in the air. These spores find water (condensate) and organic material (dirt and grease) that support their life cycle.
Mould is a significant health risk to asthmatics, anyone with other respiratory conditions, the very young and elderly people. The high humidity levels associated with condensation also enables house dust mites to flourish.
The droppings from these microscopic creatures as well as mould spores can cause allergic reactions which are also linked to the onset of asthma. For those concerned with condensation in buildings, the quantity of water vapour in the air and the temperature of surfaces within buildings are two key issues.
How to recognise condensation.
Practically, diagnosis of condensation cannot be just visual. Measurement of temperature, humidity,
ventilation and consideration of insulation qualities and heating patterns need to be undertaken.
However, typical signs of condensation to look out for are:
· Mould growth on wall surfaces, around external wall openings and in areas of low air circulation or poor ventilation;
· Misty wall surfaces;
· Water staining and streaking on walls, particularly in bathrooms and kitchens;
· Patches of damp with no obvious edges.
What action is required?
Double glazing and improved insulation means we have warmer homes, but unless a property is adequately ventilated, it can become damp.
We ask all tenants to ensure that our properties are sufficiently ventilated by taking a few simple precautions stated below in order to avoid condensation and the build-up of damp.
BEDROOMS. Open bedroom windows when you go to bed at night; a 10mm gap will do. If it really is too cold to do this, wipe the condensation off the windows first thing in the morning, but please do not put the cloth you used on the radiator to dry as this will create more condensation.
SHOWER/BATHROOM. Ensure full use of extractor or ventilation fans. Where these are not provided, open a window after bathing or showering to give the steam and damp air a chance to escape. Wipe windows, walls and mirrors to remove condensation (a microfibre cloth is the most efficient means of doing this), and dry the shower tray or bath. Keep the door closed while the bathroom is in use to prevent the steam escaping to other parts of the house.
KITCHEN. When cooking, cover pans. Use extractor or ventilation fans where provided. If you do not have an automatic kettle, take care to ensure it is not left boiling. These precautions will help to reduce steam and therefore moisture in the air. Keep the door closed while the kitchen is in use to prevent the steam escaping to other parts of the house.
LIVING AREAS. Where there are chimneys, do not block them up. If a wall appears to be damp, do not put furniture right up against it; allow some circulation of air.
GENERAL. Make sure that any ventilation bricks or openings in the building are not obstructed.
WINDOWS. Keep glass as clear of condensation as you can. Wipe away any moisture that has formed using a soft cloth. Leave open any ‘trickle’ vents in double glazed units. Get into the habit of opening windows to keep the moisture content in the air down and to air the property whenever you can.
LAUNDRY. Avoid drying clothes on radiators. Tumble dryers should be vented to the outside, unless fitted with a condenser.
HEATING. Provide a reasonable level of heating (no less than 10°C in an unused area, or 16°C if in use); cold rooms are susceptible to condensation. Remember, the best way to heat a room and avoid condensation is to maintain a low level of warmth throughout the day rather than to turn the heating off while you are out and put it on at a high level when you return home.
PORTABLE HEATERS. Portable gas and paraffin heaters can create a significant amount of damp and condensation within properties. Please do not use these types of heaters unless you have permission from your landlord or property manager.
Mildew may be removed from clothes by using a dry cleaning process.
Remove and kill mould by wiping the affected area(s) with a fungicide which carries a Health and Safety Executive approval number, precisely following the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, a mild bleach solution will have the desired effect, but do test on a small area first.
Do not disturb mould by vacuuming or brushing as this can give rise to respiratory complaints.
On a final note… Ventilation and extractor fans are not prohibitively expensive to use, and used correctly can in fact save dilapidation expenses at the end of your tenancy.
If you believe there to be a need for an extractor fan or any similar piece of equipment in the property you are renting, please inform Northwood Lincoln via the FixFlo App or Website as there may be serious, underlying reasons why this has appeared.
Legionnaires’ Disease guide.
What is Legionnaires’ Disease?
Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia with symptoms similar to those of flu, i.e. high temperature, fever and chills, cough, muscle pains and headache. In a severe case, there may also be pneumonia, and occasionally diarrhoea, as well as signs of mental confusion.
Who is most at risk?
There is no need for concern, Legionnaires’ Disease is rare, it is not contagious, however it is potentially fatal. People who are most at risk are the elderly or people with chest or lung problems and impaired immune system. Not everyone exposed to Legionella becomes ill and you cannot get it from drinking water.
Where can it be found?
The bacteria is common in natural water sources such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs, but usually in low numbers and may also be found in purpose-built water systems such as cooling towers, evaporative condensers, whirlpool spas and hot water systems.
Where can it be caught from?
You could potentially be at risk of catching Legionnaires’ disease through the water system in a property. Legionella bacteria can multiply in hot or cold water systems and storage tanks, and be spread when you run the water, but it is relatively easy for you to minimise the risk of the bacteria spreading.
How to minimise the risk
· Running taps and showers on full for a few minutes any time the property has been left empty for a couple of days or more and when you first move in.
· Make sure that all taps, showers and bathrooms are regularly cleaned and free from mould and limescale.
· If your property has a whirlpool bath, make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the type and frequency of cleaning it.
If you are experiencing any problems with the water not heating properly or you have any other problems with the system, you should inform us via the FixFlo app or website.