Sales & Lettings in Dartford          01322 413 501

Tenant Maintenance Guide

  • To keep your home clean and in good condition
  • To prevent damage caused by neglect or misuse (you may be charged where this occurs)
  • To do minor repairs and replacements. These are repairs that require no technical ability and use common household tools
  • To redecorate the inside of your home as often as is needed
  • To keep gardens and shared areas tidy and free of rubbish
  • To do your own DIY work and repair your own appliances and fittings
  • To insure your own possessions. We recommend that you take out home contents insurance in case they become damaged – This is not covered by your landlord insurance.
  • To report repairs promptly and let us know if you are worried about anything in your home
  • To allow us access to your home to inspect or carry out repairs, servicing or other work
  • To report any criminal damage or vandalism to the police. You will need a police reference number when reporting related repairs.

If you want to make any changes or improvements to your home (including drilling into walls or ceilings) then you must ask our permission.

Contents:

2.1 Smoke Detectors & Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Smoke and carbon monoxide (a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas) are silent killers. We recommend that you protect yourself with at least one smoke detector located close to your sleeping accommodation. If your property has a gas fired central heating boiler, fire, oven or stove we advise installing a carbon monoxide alarm in each room containing an appliance.

Any appliance burning carbon fuel, including wood burning stoves, can produce carbon monoxide.

  • Never block air vents in rooms containing a gas or other carbon burning appliance.
  • Protect yourself with an adequate number of alarms. Combination alarms with long battery life are available in any high street shops.
  • Test alarms weekly using the button located on the alarm.
  • Replace batteries regularly.
  • Keep alarms free from dust and other obstructions.
  • If your landlord has provided an alarm(s), whilst replacing batteries is your responsibility, faults should be reported immediately.

2.2 Legionella

Legionella bacteria, which can live in water systems, can pose potential health problems, particularly for higher risk groups. Whilst such problems are rare when a system is operating normally, you should nonetheless take reasonable precautions.

When a hot water system is operating normally water should be delivered to outlets such as showers and taps at between 50 & 55 degrees.

  • Promptly report any problems with hot water not being delivered within these tolerances.
  • Care should be exercised when testing the water temperature to avoid scolding.
  • When first using the water system after a period of non-use (1week or longer), allow at least 1hour for the hot water to reach temperature.
  • Showers and taps should be flushed through following a period of non-use.
  • Showers and taps (especially those with aerators) should be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
  • Douches and taps with pre-set mixers operating below 50 to 55 degrees should be cleaned and disinfected more regularly. Use of these should be avoided by higher risk groups, including those suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease, and people whose immune system is impaired.
  • Hot tubs and whirlpool baths should be cleaned and operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

2.3 Gas Leaks

If you smell gas you should call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 and vacate the building until help arrives.

REMEMBER TO VENTILATE THE ROOM AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE DO NOT TURN ON LIGHTS OR ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES

2.4 Out of Office Hours Emergency Calls

An emergency is anything relating to the property under the lease that is threatening to life, health, or the property.

An emergency is deemed to be where a problem places either you or the property in imminent danger of suffering harm, injury or damage. All other matters should be reported as soon as the office reopens.

For example - Fire, tree blown on the roof, flood, sewage back up, gas odors, broken water pipes, furnace out (if the weather is below 45 degrees), a/c out (if temperature outside is above 95 degrees). If the emergency is life-threatening, call 999 immediately!

The Following are NOT Emergencies:
Refrigerator out, locking yourself out of the house, power or gas off, oven not working, a/c unit out if the temperature outside is below 95 degrees and/or the property has 2 a/c units and one is still functioning properly, water heater out. Land Estates or Landlord is not liable for loss of food caused by appliance break down.

When calling out of hours, we will assess the seriousness of the situation. You should be aware that if a call out is subsequently not deemed to have been an emergency then you will be liable for the call out charge.

Before placing a call regarding loss of power, remember to check for obvious problems such as tripped circuit board / blown fuses as well as checking if other properties in the building or area are similarly affected.

If you smell gas you should call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 and vacate the building until help arrives.

RECAP:

  • Help is at hand twenty four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days a year.
  • Always carry out a few simple checks before reporting a problem.
  • Only call out of hours in an emergency or you will be responsible for the cost.
  • Have details of the make and model to hand before calling.

Contents:

As the tenant you are responsible for promptly reporting maintenance issues as they arise. Where this involves an appliance apparently not working, firstly read the instruction manual as any unnecessary call out charges will be your responsibility. Most instruction manuals provide a useful troubleshooting section.

When a breakdown occurs, your Property Manager will arrange for an approved contractor to visit as soon as is reasonably possible. It is important to remember that your landlord is unable to insulate you from, or to compensate you for, the inconvenience that inevitably occurs when repairs are required. In the event of a breakdown your Property Manager will do everything reasonably possible to keep any inconvenience to you to a minimum.

As the colder weather approaches it is prudent to allow ample time to check that your heating system is operating correctly as any parts which may be required to correct a break down might not always be readily available. After reference to the instruction manual, please remember that with gas fired boilers you should check if the pressure needs increasing. With central heating systems, to avoid all or part of a radiator remaining cold you will usually need to bleed air from the radiator when the system is first switched on in the autumn*.

These simple steps will help avoid you paying for unnecessary call out charges.

RECAP:

  • Always check the instruction manual before reporting a problem.
  • Remember to check that your heating is working before the winter months.
  • Have details of the make and model to hand when reporting a breakdown.

Please ask your Property Manager if you require advice.

3.1 Access to contractors

Providing that keys are available at Land Estates office, there is no need for you to be at the property. All our contractors are approved and CRB checked and carry adequate public liability insurance.

If you would prefer to be present when a contractor visits this is perfectly acceptable but may lead to a delay.

Problems are rare, but if you are at all concerned with the work carried out please report this to your Property Manager as soon as possible.

RECAP:

  • You will not usually need to be at the property when a contractor visits.
  • We can usually arrange appointments outside of normal hours when you are home.

3.2 Operating an appliance/heating and hot water

Instruction manuals should be available within the property to assist you in familiarising yourself with the appliances and equipment provided. Please contact your Property Manager if an instruction manual is missing. Alternatively, and to save time and inconvenience, manuals are often available online.

RECAP:

  • Always read the instruction manual.
  • If an instruction manual is missing copies are often available online.

3.3 Air conditioning systems

An increasing number of properties now benefit from air conditioning and comfort cooling systems. These differ in so far as comfort cooling does not reduce the ambient temperature to the same extent as a more powerful air conditioning system. In simple terms, on a hot day, if a comfort cooling system has not reduced the temperature as much as you would like, this is not necessarily indicative of a problem. Please bear this in mind before reporting a perceived fault.

Many such systems are operated centrally by the Freeholder or Block Agent, and so are beyond the direct control of your landlord or Property Manager. Problems should first be reported to the porter or concierge at the building.

RECAP:

  • Please bear in mind that comfort cooling is not as powerful as air conditioning.
  • If living in an apartment building, please report problems to the porter or concierge first.

3.4 Leaks

Leaks from one property to another are not uncommon, especially in developments comprising a number of apartments. Leaks can result from something as simple as failed seals in baths and showers to more serious problems with pipe work installations. In situations such as this please contact your neighbour, porter or concierge as soon as possible before reporting the problem to your Property Manager or calling an emergency contractor. Try and find the source of the leak first before contacting Land Estates.

If you suspect a leak within your property please immediately contact your Property Manager.

  • If a leak is coming from another property, speak to your neighbour, porter or concierge first.

3.5 Light bulbs

Light bulbs are the tenant responsibility. Care should be exercised when fittings are above head height or located in areas accessible only by ladder. Subject to payment in advance your Property Manager will be able to make arrangements for a handyman to attend to this on your behalf.

RECAP:

  • Light bulbs are a tenant responsibility.
  • Always exercise care around electrical fixtures and fittings by turning off the power before replacing bulbs.

3.6 Blocked Drains

Unless the problem results from a failure in the sewerage or drainage system you as tenant are responsible for clearing blockages. Subject to any restrictions on the use of chemicals with septic tanks, regular use of drain cleaners in bathrooms and kitchens helps avoid blockages.

RECAP:

  • Regular use of drain cleaners helps reduce the risk of blocked drains.

3.7 Septic tank or sewerage system

Please check the Agreement for your obligations which should include details of how often the tank needs to be emptied together with any restrictions on what can and cannot be put through the drainage and sewerage system.

RECAP:

  • Always check the Agreement to establish your obligations.

3.8 Garden

Always refer to the agreement, but responsibility for maintaining the garden in seasonal order, and for clearing patios, balconies, drains and gutters of fallen leaves will be your responsibility. Most agreements will prohibit you from lopping or destroying trees, plants and shrubs; however, reasonable pruning is expected. Planters and pots should be watered as required.

Fencing: This may be an issue during the winter months especially on windy days. You must report to Land Estates as soon as you notice of fencing swaying or becoming loose. You can prevent from a falling fence by checking regularly that your fencing is secure at all times. Best time to check your fencing is towards the end of summer, if you notice that it is becoming loose, inform your Property Manager.

RECAP:

  • Always check the agreement for confirmation of your responsibilities.
  • Inform Agent if you notice loose fencing immediately.

3.9 Ventilation

It is a condition of your tenancy that the property is kept ventilated so as to avoid the buildup of condensation and mould. This is particularly important in well insulated modern properties. To help avoid claims against your deposit for unreasonable deterioration always use extraction fans and ventilation systems whilst regularly opening windows to allow fresh air to enter the property.

Do not hang out clothes on top of radiators. When you hang wet clothes on a radiator or clothes horse to dry, the water evaporates out of the fabric, where it turns into moisture in the air. Too much moisture in the air leads to condensation, which can form on walls, windows, mirrors or any other surfaces which the damp air comes into contact with. This mould can subsequently cause Aspergillosis, a fungal condition that can affect the respiratory system, and can spread to anywhere in the body.

RECAP:

  • Maintaining adequate ventilation is important in any property.
  • Do not hang out clothes on top of radiators.

3.10 Hanging pictures

Subject to the provisions of the agreement yes, providing the number is not excessive and that you use commercially produced picture hooks making good any damage at the end of the tenancy.

3.11 – Electrics

If your electrics all go out check the following before contacting our office:

  1. Do the neighbours have electric, if they don’t, it may be a power cut
  2. If it is only your property - see below

If it keeps going off, it may be the electrics have a tripped circuit. This can happen when you are using appliances that may cause a temporary overload on the system such as a hair dryer or portable heater. It shuts off to prevent the circuit from receiving any additional electrical flow that could cause damage or fire. It may seem like a hassle to have to check the card, but this switch off can prevent a lot of potential damage from happening. Follow these simple steps to restore power and get your electronics up and running again.

  1. Turn off anything you had plugged in and running. Especially the last thing you plugged in because that was likely the culprit of your outage.
  2. Locate your electrical card. Depending on your home it could be in a few different places, like the basement, utility closet or kitchen.
  3. Don’t be worried to open the card. A second layer of steel covers any of the dangerous stuff. But don’t start flipping switches willy-nilly. Some breakers could be mislabeled, and flipping switches haphazardly could damage delicate electronics.
  4. Look at your card for a switch that is now in the "off" position or opposite direction to the majority. Some switches even have a light that will show up if your switch has been tripped. If it’s placed in between, move the switch to the "off" position before returning it to the "on" position. If it’s already over to the "off" side, switch it on, off, then back on to fully reset it. This will restore power. If it doesn’t, you may want to flip your switch an additional time.
  5. Check all of your sockets and plugs to see if any of them have loose connections.
  6. If it trips again you need to unplug every item in the property including the white goods. Then reset the trip switch on the fuse board, and then plug back in your items one at a time to see if one of the items is causing the electrics to trip.
  7. If your outlet loses power again, you may be overloading the switch. Move a plug or two over to another outlet to redistribute power.
  8. If all fails, please contact your Property Manager.

Please find below ‘YouTube’ links for helpful guide:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlKeBJ41fH4

Traditional fuse box:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzpch3wfmjE

RECAP:

  • If your electrics all go out check if it is just your property or the whole neighborhood/building

3.12 The Bathroom – Including Bath, Shower and Sink

To prevent tub and shower drains from clogging, we suggest using a drain cleaner (such as One Shot) regularly. This will eliminate hair build-up in the drain.

The toilet:
Please DO NOT flush non-organic/non-degradable products down the toilet

  • NO baby or adult wipes (even ones labeled disposable)
  • NO feminine hygiene products
  • NO paper towels, napkins, etc.

Again, if a drain clog is found to be a result of tenant’s misuse, its repair will be charged to the tenant.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS… VENTILATE A STEAMY BATHROOM!!!

  • Note - bathrooms without a fan are especially prone to fungal growth without proper preventative measures in place
  • If after showering and bathing, or in some instances cooking, steam is created windows and doors must be opened for a sufficient period to allow the moisture to abate. Humid conditions promote mould growth!
  • Mould clean-up, in these instances where the tenant’s actions are found to have promoted said mould/mildew growth, will be the responsibility of the tenant to either clean-up and/or pay for if professional cleaning is required

3.13 Pest control

You are responsible for rodents, ants, cockroaches etc. We suggest any over the counter bug spray. Keep all counters and floors free of water and food items. Spray around door openings and any place you see a trail ants.

3.14 How to bleed a radiator

Radiators need bleeding when pockets of air get trapped inside. The air causes the radiator to circulate hot water less effectively and so less heat is emitted, meaning it will take longer to heat your home. Until you bleed your radiator to get rid of the air, you’re likely to be using more energy and therefore your energy bill could be higher than average.

Follow these steps to check and bleed your radiators:

  • Put your central heating onto full and wait for your radiators to reach their maximum heat.
  • Being careful not to burn your hands, feel along the top of each radiator for any cold areas. Cold spots are an indicator of trapped air, and so you’ll need to bleed any radiators on which you do find them.
  • Before you bleed your radiators, ensure your heating is turned off and your radiators have completely cooled.
  • Although a screwdriver can be used for some modern radiators, most radiators require a radiator key to bleed. If you don’t have a radiator key, you can pick one up from most DIY stores.
  • Ensure you have a cloth/bowl below the radiator valve to catch any water.
  • Holding the key with a cloth, slowly turn anti-clockwise to open your radiator’s valve. You should hear a hissing sound as the air escapes.
  • Wait until the sound stops and water starts to leak out before turning the key clockwise to close the valve.
  • Check your boiler after bleeding all the radiators in case your pressure has dropped as the pressure may need topping up. You can refer to the re-pressurising link below. If it’s a combi or pressurised system — you will need to re charge the system using the filling or link key ensuring the correct pressure is added.

If the pressure drops again, the radiators may need topping up and you may need to call your Property Manager.

You Tube videos to help you:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjyEkLwHtTc

Trouble shooting help with radiator bleed:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR97NZdVWbY

3.15 How to pressurize your Boiler:

If your central heating is not working, it could be down to a loss of water pressure. The water pressure indicator on the front of your boiler should read between one and two bars of atmospheric pressure. If it is below one, then your boiler pressure is too low.

To top up your system and increase the pressure, you will need to locate your filling loop. This is usually a silver/grey coloured, flexible hose with a small valve at each end, and you’ll find it either underneath your boiler or nearby:

  • Make sure the boiler is switched off and the system is cool.
  • The hose will have a valve at both ends – make sure both ends of the hose are securely attached to both valves.
  • The valves can be opened either by tap handles, or by using a flat headed screwdriver.
  • Open both valves to allow the cold mains water into the system.
  • You should hear water filling the system.
  • Keep an eye on the pressure gauge until it reaches 1.5bar, then close of both valves, one after the other.

Once the pressure is at the required level, switch the boiler back on and (if required) reset the boiler.

See below for further ‘YouTube’ videos to help you:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rr6k8eBqoOg

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjqia06EhhE

If none of these are helpful, take your make and model number of your appliance and search on you tube - you should be able to find you help.

If you are still experiencing difficulty, please call Land Estates maintenance team and speak to Ann on If you are still experiencing difficulty, please call Land Estates maintenance team and speak to Ann on 01322 413 501..

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