Safety at home

safety at home 02

Your safety is of the utmost importance to us and we will do whatever we can to prevent danger in your home.

This page covers some of the services we offer to ensure your safety. We also offer tips and advice on ways in which you can take action to reduce hazards in your home.

Gas safety, annual boiler checks and carbon monoxide

  • Annual gas service

    For our residents in rented properties, we organise an annual check of all gas appliances in your home. It's really important you allow our engineers access to carry out an annual boiler and gas appliance service.

    And for shared owners, it's important you have arrange an annual gas service for your home.

    Here are some of the main reasons why:

    • Safety to ensure that it's running safely and there are no potentially harmful leaks.
    • Identification of potential faults - an annual boiler service should identify any potential areas that may need repairing in your system.
    • Efficiency - the engineer will check your boiler is working efficiently and make any necessary updates.
    • Potentially lower fuel bills - an energy-efficient boiler should mean that fuel is used economically, giving the possibility of lower fuel bills.

    Residents in rented homes

    As your landlord we must, by law, make sure that an annual gas service and safety check are carried out on all gas appliances, flues and pipework in your home.

    It's really important you allow the engineer access to your home and it is a requirement of your tenancy agreement. It shouldn't take long, approximately a hour, depending on what appliances are in the home, such as boiler, cooker and fire.

    Our checks are carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Our gas contractor is Liberty and the engineers will always carry an ID card.

    Liberty will send you an appointment by letter, about eight weeks in advance. If you can't make this appointment, or would like to specify a morning or afternoon appointment, please contact Liberty as soon as possible to rearrange on: 0330 333 5773 or emh@liberty-group.co.uk

    Shared owners

    As a homeowner, you are responsible for the maintenance and safety of gas appliances and pipes in your home. We recommend that your boiler and gas fires are checked every year to make sure they are safe and that any warranties remain valid.

    For more information about gas safety in your home, visit the Gas Safe Register website.

  • Annual gas service appointment - rental residents

    Liberty will send you an appointment by letter, about eight weeks in advance.

    If you can't make this appointment, or would like to specify a morning or afternoon appointment, please contact Liberty as soon as possible to rearrange on: 0330 333 5773 or emh@liberty-group.co.uk

    They will also send a reminder text the day before.

  • If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak

    Our appointed Gas Safe registered engineers will inspect your gas appliances every year to ensure that they are in safe working order.

    This should avoid any problems, but if you smell gas or suspect a gas leak, the following should be done:

    • Call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999 (lines open 24 hours a day)
    • Open all doors and windows
    • Turn off the gas supply at the meter (unless located in a cellar or basement)
    • Do not use any naked flames or electrical switches
  • Heating devices which are not allowed

    We do not allow the use or storage of the following heating devices in our homes:

    • paraffin heaters
    • mobile gas heaters
    • gas cylinders
    • containers of petrol or paraffin
  • Carbon monoxide

    Around 50 people in the UK die each year due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

    Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent killer. It's a colourless, odourless, tasteless and non-irritating toxic gas.

    The most important thing you can do to minimise the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is to ensure that your gas appliances are safety checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

    Faulty boilers can emit carbon monoxide fumes into the air and, as it doesn’t smell, can go unnoticed. That's why it's vital for residents in rental homes, to allow us access to your home to carry out the annual gas safety inspection.

    Installing an accredited carbon monoxide leak detector, or audible CO alarm, in your home is a good second line of defence, as they emit a sound when CO is detected. However, you should never rely on them as your only form of protection.

    Typical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

    In the early stages of the poisoning, symptoms are similar to other common ailments so it can go undetected until it is too late. They include:

    • Headaches
    • Dizziness
    • Breathlessness
    • Nausea
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Collapse
    • Erratic behaviour
    • Visual problems

    If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning and experience any of the symptoms above, it is crucial to seek urgent medical attention from your GP, an A&E department or call NHS Direct on 111.

    Signs of a possible carbon monoxide leak, include:

    • Floppy yellow or orange flame on your gas hob, rather than crisp blue
    • Dark, sooty staining on or around gas appliances
    • Pilot lights that frequently blow out
    • Increased condensation inside windows

    Find out more on the Gas Safe Register website.

Electrical safety and electrical checks

  • Electrical inspection of your home

    We must ensure that your home is safe and free from electrical hazards, such as exposed wiring or overloaded sockets.

    By law, all rented homes must have an electrical installation condition report (EICR). So, at least every five years, or at the change of tenancy, we carry out an electrical inspection of your home and the engineer will provide an EICR.

    The inspection appointment

    Our electrical inspections are done by RS Electricals and the engineers will always carry an ID card.

    The electrical testing normally takes around two hours.

    The engineer will get in touch in advance, by phone, to arrange an appointment with you.

    If you can't make the appointment for any reason, please let us know as soon as possible so we can rearrange. It's really important you allow them access to your home. Regular inspections are the best way to be sure electrical installations are safe and to ensure we are compliant with the law.

    The inspections will:

    • reveal if any of your electrical circuits or equipment are overloaded
    • find any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards
    • identify any defective electrical work
    • highlight any lack of earthing or bonding

    The electrical inspection covers:

    • The electrical intake (where the electricity enters the property, near to the consumer unit / fuse box)
    • The consumer unit
    • The main protective bonding (which connects pipework with the electrics in a property)
    • Any fixtures and fittings (such as light fittings and sockets)
    • The state of wires and cables
    • Mains-powered smoke alarms
    • Mains-powered carbon monoxide detectors
  • Dos and don'ts of electrical safety

    Don't overload sockets

    Many of us use extension leads in our homes to increase the number of appliances we can plug into a wall socket.

    But did you know, although there is space to plug in four appliances, it does not mean it is always safe to do so?

    Plugging too many devices into one socket, or plugging in more current than the lead can manage, can cause appliances to overheat and set on  fire.

    Always check the current rating of the extension lead before plugging appliances into it. Most are rated at 13 A, but some are only 10 A or less.

    Use this socket overload calculator to check.

    Don't do it yourself

    Did you know that DIY errors cause half of all serious electric shocks in UK homes?

    DIY wiring can lead to electrical parts overheating, causing fires, electric shocks and even death.

    If you're in a rented property and you think something is wrong with your electrics, please get in touch with us.

    Or if you're a shared owner, find a registered electrician.

    If the price is too good to be true - it probably is

    Every year, over half of accidental domestic fires in the UK are caused by electricity. Most of these are caused by electrical products, either through misuse or faults.

    • Always buy from a retailer you trust and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing, using and maintaining electrical appliances.
    • Don’t leave washing machines, tumble dryers or dishwashers running overnight or when you are out.
    • If your appliance begins making a strange noise or isn’t working properly, don't ignore it.  Unplug it and contact the manufacturer.

    In the last year, over 4 million UK shoppers bought a fake electrical product and a quarter of these were purchased from an online marketplace. To help combat this, Electrical Safety First have launched a browser extension called Check It Out that will notify you if you're about to buy from a third party seller on Amazon or ebay.

    Electrical safety in your kitchen

    • Don’t leave electrical appliances like dishwashers or washing machines running unattended
    • Don’t wrap flexible cables around any equipment when it is still warm
    • Check that flexible leads and appliances such as kettles and toasters are in good condition
    • Don’t try to clean or repair an appliance when it is still plugged in
    • Never try to get toast that is stuck out of a toaster while it is plugged in, and especially not with a metal knife as there are often live parts inside
    • Make sure you thoroughly clean your oven and grill – a build up of fat and grease is a major cause of fires
    • Avoid storing objects on top of appliances like the microwave, which can block ventilation
    • Defrost your fridge and freezer at least once a year to ensure these appliances continue to work properly

    More advice on electrical safety

    You can find lots more useful tips on the Electrical Safety First website.

What to do if you find asbestos in your home

  • What is asbestos?

    Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral often used in a range of building materials from the 1930s to the 1980s. Left undisturbed it does not cause any problems. However, damaging materials that contain asbestos by sanding, drilling, sawing or scrubbing them can release asbestos fibres into the air. These fibres can then penetrate the lungs, where they can stay and cause disease.

    While it was banned as a building material in 1999 if your home was built or refurbished between the 1930s and 1980s, the chances are that it may contain asbestos in the following materials:

    • airbricks and flue pipes
    • bath panels, decorative coating (such as Artex) and fire surrounds
    • corrugated cement sheeting on sheds and garages
    • guttering and downpipes
    • insulating materials on boilers, pipes and water tanks
    • internal partitions and airing cupboard linings
    • soffit boards and roof tiles
    • fuse boards and storage heaters
  • How we manage asbestos in our properties

    We have a programme to identify and inspect places where asbestos has been used in our properties. If these materials are found to be in good condition, we will leave them and carry out regular checks.

    But if they are damaged, we will arrange for specialist licensed contractors to repair, seal or remove the asbestos-containing materials.

    If required, it is important that you allow the Association and our specialist asbestos contractor access to your property so that an asbestos survey can be carried out. Failure to do so would mean that the Association is unable to ensure the safety of yourself and that of our contractors, therefore repairs to your property may be put on hold until access is allowed to carry out an asbestos survey.

    If you want to carry out any home improvements and are concerned that you may disturb an asbestos-containing material, contact us so exposure to the people living in your home and the person carrying out the work can be reduced or avoided.

    If you carry out any work or permit others to carry out work without prior written approval, you will be liable for any costs of dealing with any asbestos incidents.

  • If you have any concerns about asbestos

    If you have any concerns about asbestos please call us on 0300 1234 009.

Protecting your home against legionella

  • What is legionella?

    Legionella is a bacteria which grows in water systems and can cause a form of pneumonia called Legionnaires' disease.

    Low amounts of legionella are not harmful and it only becomes dangerous if conditions are right for the bacteria to grow and if you inhale water droplets from a contaminated water system. 

    Health and Safety legislation requires us, as your landlord, to check water systems, including water tanks and water heaters, in your home for legionella bacteria. This assessment is always done before a new owner or resident moves in.

    Legionella rarely occurs in homes, however there are a few tips to make sure your water is safe:

    • Run the taps
      When you first move into your home, run the bath and hand basin taps continuously for at least five minutes. This will flush through any bacteria.
      If your taps haven't been used for more than a week, run all them with both hot and cold water for two minutes. Also run the water in the shower – to avoid droplets with run into a bucket, or cover the showerhead with a towel.
    • Disinfect the showerhead
      If your shower hasn't been used for two weeks or more, disinfect the showerhead. The showerhead should be removed and the shower run for two minutes. The showerhead should be disinfected before being re-fitted by immersing for at least an hour in a solution such as Milton. Showerheads should be disinfected about four times a year.
    • Descale taps and showers
      Legionella can grow and multiply on scale or rust, so de-scale taps and showers every three months, or when there is an obvious build-up of scale.
    • Raise the water temperature to 60°C or higher
      Temperatures above 60°C will kill legionella bacteria so make sure that the temperature of the hot water in your boiler is set at a minimum of 60°C. But beware of burns and scalding and take extra care if you have children.
    • Flush the system after a holiday
      If your home has been empty for a while (e.g. after a holiday), flush the whole water system for two minutes or more. First flush your toilet, then let the kitchen taps and the hand basin taps run for two minutes or more to let both hot and cold water pass through. Next, flush the shower through as described above. Finally, let any other taps run for two minutes.
    • Check the water tank, if you have one
      Contact us if the lid is missing or damaged if you're in a rented home.

    Further advice can be found on the Health and Safety Executive website.

  • If you have any concerns about legionella

    If you have any questions, please call us on 0300 1234 009.

Does something need fixing in your home?

Find out more about repairs and maintenance