Maintenance tips for tenants

If you are renting a property then big issues will be dealt with by your landlord. But there are a number of things you can be responsible for yourself.

Central heating – when it’s really cold and the temperature is likely to drop to freezing, it’s a good idea to leave your thermostat on about 15 degrees and leave the heating on all of the time.  Many radiators have individual thermostats so you can leave them set in each room.  Check your boiler works properly before the end of the summer months so you know it is in full working order for the winter.

Radiators – you can bleed the radiator if the top part of it is cold and the bottom is warm – air is trapped in the system and bleeding the radiator will release the air to let hot water fill it. If a number of the radiators are cold then you might need to get your property manager to arrange for a heating engineer to check the whole system.

Burst or leaking pipes – pull away any carpet and use a towel or newspaper to absorb the water and put a dish under the leak to catch any more water.  If it is a small leak then let your property manager know.  If it is a burst pipe then turn the water off at the main stopcock.  Turn on all the taps and this will empty the water from the system.  Call your property manager.

Common problems

  • If your oven has stopped working - check the clock and reset the timer.
  • If your washing machine has stopped or won’t drain - check the pump filter, drain the machine and check to see if something has got stuck.
  • If your electricity trips – check to see if one appliance is the problem.

How to prevent damp and mould

Keep an eye out for leaks

Leaky window frames, pipework, walls and doors are common sources of moisture. If you see a leak, you should report it to us as soon as possible so we can deal with the problem swiftly. This will also stop the issue from turning into more serious problems and cause further damage to the property. In the meantime, use a bucket or bowl to collect any drips and make sure to keep surfaces dry with a mop or towel.

Drying clothes in a ventilated room

Don’t dry clothes on radiators. The vapour turns into moisture in the air and is then circulated around the rooms. This then gathers on walls, windows and other fabrics in the home and can be a mould risk. Instead, dry clothes on a clothes airer in a well-ventilated room. Open a window or use a dehumidifier to minimise the spread of moisture indoors.

Keep doors closed

Keep bathroom or kitchen doors closed when having a shower or bath, or when cooking. This will prevent moisture from spreading to other parts of the property.

Use extractor fans

If you have an extractor fan in the bathroom, always make sure it is running when you’re having a shower or bath. If you have an extractor fan in the kitchen, you should also use it to disperse moisture and cooking smells. In the absence of extractor fans, open a window when you cook to allow the moisture to escape.

Air property regularly

Open windows regularly to make sure your property is well-ventilated. Even when it’s cold, moisture gathers in the home so opening the window allows some of this moisture to escape.

Use a dehumidifier or damp trap

Using a dehumidifier is a great way to take the moisture out of the air, especially if you dry your clothes indoors. You can buy an inexpensive one from a local hardware store or online. Disposable damp traps can be picked up relatively cheaply, but over time, you might find it more economical (and environmentally friendlier!) to use an electric dehumidifier.

Wipe away condensation

Cleaning the condensation from windows and frames every day will minimise the spread of black mould. You can simply use a rag or towel to wipe away condensation.

Grow moisture-absorbing plants

Some plants can absorb moisture and pollution from the air and are a great addition to your damp prevention arsenal. Peace lilies, tillandsia, palms and ferns are all moisture absorbers — some ferns actually thrive in damper rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms, just make sure you also give them some indirect sunlight.

Not overstuffing your property

Avoid pushing furniture against the wall, or overstuffing wardrobes as this can cause damp and mould to grow and spread. Check behind furniture regularly for signs of damp or mould developing.

Turn on your heating

Running your heating can avoid cold spots, dry out damp and lower the chances of getting mould.