Safety in your home

We are committed to ensuring you are safe in your homes, please view our safety page below to find out more.

 

Domestic Abuse

Housing for Women offers support and advice to people who are experiencing domestic abuse. Domestic abuse can take many forms and is not always physical violence by a man against a woman, as many people believe. Domestic abuse can be physical, mental, emotional or financial. It can be perpetrated by a man or a woman and victims, too, can be either men or women. There can also be abuse between two people of the same gender.

If you are in immediate danger contact the police on 999.

Housing for Women operates several safe havens for survivors of domestic abuse in the form of refuges in Ealing and Greenwich for women and their children. If you are being abused, remember you are not alone. We can help you by providing advice and support through:

  • Our Domestic Abuse Referral & Advice Line. Call 020 8317 8273 (Monday to Friday 9.30 am - 8 pm). Our Referral Line provides practical advice, emotional support and signposting to support survivors across London. The Referral Line team are friendly, knowledgeable and professional and strive to empower survivors by providing non-directive and non-judgmental advice. Whatever you decide, your safety is always our priority. All calls are completely confidential.
  • Doing all we can to help you find alternative housing and explore your options with you if you cannot return to your home.
  • Our tenancy agreements contain a domestic violence clause. There are a number of legal tools that we can use against those who carry out domestic violence.

Out of hours, you can call:

  • 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline on 0808 2000 247 (run by Women’s Aid and Refuge)

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, we encourage residents to contact their Neighbourhood Officer so that we can support you. If you think you or someone you know may be experiencing abuse you can also visit this area of our website for more information.

 

Gas safety

We are committed to visiting all properties every 12 months, irrespective of whether you have a gas supply or not.

Help us to help you stay safe – let us in when we need to check for gas safety.

If you smell gas or think you have a gas leak, contact Transco immediately on 0800 111 999 and turn off the gas supply at the meter.

 

HSE information available on gas safety

Visit the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) website where you can view and download information on gas safety free of charge. This information is also available from the HSE in an audio version.

The HSE Gas Safety Advice Line is 0800 300 363.

Gas Safe Register website

View the Gas Safe Register website, where you are able to find details of Gas Safe Registered businesses and engineers in your area.

The Freephone telephone number for Gas Safe Register is 0800 408 5500.

 

Condensation and mould

What is condensation?

Condensation occurs mainly during cold weather. There’s always some moisture in the air, even if you cannot see it, and when moist air hits a cold surface tiny drops of water appear. You can see this when the mirror mists up when you have a bath.

It appears on cold surfaces and in places where there is little movement of air, such as in corners, on or near windows, in or behind wardrobes and cupboards and in rarely used rooms. It often forms on colder, north facing walls.

Condensation can lead to mould which can contribute to asthma and other respiratory problems.

 

How can I produce less condensation?

1 Produce less moisture:

  • Cover boiling pans when cooking and turn off kettles after use
  • Wipe surfaces which have become wet with condensation
  • Dry washing outdoors, whenever possible, or over the bath with the door closed and the window open
  • Vent any tumble dryers outside
  • Keep bathroom and kitchen doors closed. This will help reduce the amount of moisture-laden air affecting other rooms
  • Don't block up any airbricks or vents

 

2 Ventilate

  • Keep a small window ajar or trickle ventilator open in all rooms
  • If you have an extractor fan, make sure you use it to clear moisture from the air
  • Always ventilate kitchens and bathrooms when in use, by opening windows or use an extractor fan
  • Open curtains each day to let moisture through any window vents
  • Let air circulate in cupboards and wardrobes by not over-filling, where possible position wardrobes and furniture against internal walls

 

3 Insulate and protect from draughts

  • Use heavy curtains that drop to the floor
  • Add draft excluders to internal doors
  • Keep home at 21 degrees temperature minimum and 18 degrees summer minimum

 

4 Heat more efficiently

  • It is better to heat your whole home to a lower temperature rather than heat one room to a high temperature. Condensation often affects the rooms you are not heating
  • Use the heating system we have provided as efficiently as possible. Refer to the operating instructions for the boiler, the heating programmer and the room thermostats

 

 

Treating mould

If you deal with the basic problem of condensation, then mould should not appear. To kill and remove mould on washable surfaces, wipe down walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash readily available from shops. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely. Disturbing mould by brushing or vacuum cleaning can increase the risk of respiratory problems. Other items such as fabric materials can often be washed, although this may not always remove the mould staining. After treatment, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould recurring. The only lasting way of avoiding severe mould is to follow these steps to eliminate condensation.

 

Top Tips:

  • To prevent condensation on mirrors or windows rub a cloth with a small spot of washing up liquid over the surface
  • Protect yourself from mould spores by wearing rubber gloves when cleaning affected areas. Open windows, but keep doors closed to prevent the spores from circulating around the house
  • Have a plastic bag ready to take away any soft furnishings, clothes and soft toys that are mouldy
  • Soft furnishings should be shampooed and clothes machine washed on the highest setting the clothes label will allow
  • Fill a bucket with water and some mild detergent, such as washing up liquid or a soap used for hand-washing clothes. Use a cloth, dip it in the soapy water and carefully wipe the mould off the wall. When you have finished, use a dry cloth to remove the moisture from the wall. Afterwards, put the cloths in a plastic bag and throw them away

 

For further information you can download and read this Condensation and Mould leaflet here.

 

Legionella

At Housing for Women, we aim to meet the highest standard of water hygiene in our properties.

Although the risk is very low, there is a chance that legionella bacteria can develop in stagnant or stored water. Legionella causes the serious lunch infection Legionnaire’s disease. Symptoms of this are a high fever, muscle pain and chills, and possibly a persistent cough, chest pains and breathing difficulties.

 

Water hygiene in your property

Our responsibilities:

We are committed to looking after the health of our residents and will be visiting properties to complete a water hygiene risk assessment and any necessary works. We use qualified surveyors and consultants to assess the risks and identify any works required to reduce the likelihood of bacteria living in your water systems.

Your responsibilities:

Follow these simple steps to keep your home’s water supply clean and healthy. If you have been away from your property for a week or more:

  • Taps – run them for 3-5 minutes
  • Shower – flush this safely and without creating water droplets by placing the shower head in a plastic carrier bag, filling the bag with water then gently pouring the water away
  • Toilet – flush twice to circulate fresh water through the system and empty the cistern, ensuring the lid is down. If you have a Clos-o-mat bidet-toilet you should switch it off at the wall if you intend to be away from the property for a week or more so warm water is not left standing in the cistern.
  • Clean shower/spray taps of scale and debris every three to six months, or earlier if scaling is evident
  • If you have a spa bath, clean as per the manufacturer’s instructions
  • If you have an electric hot-water tank, it is advised that you fully heat the water to 60 degrees C at least two to three times per week  

 

Asbestos

 

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural material that was commonly used in building materials between the 1950’s and 1980’s. Almost all buildings constructed or altered between these years are likely to contain asbestos. Buildings constructed after 2000 will not contain asbestos as its use was banned in 1999 in the UK.

 

Am I at risk?

You are not likely to be at risk if any material that contains asbestos remains unbroken and undisturbed. If asbestos is broken, drilled into or cut through then you may be at risk.

Current best practice tells us that if materials are in good condition and unlikely to be disturbed, then the risk presented is minimal.

There may be a very low level of asbestos fibres in the air as it is a natural product and because asbestos has been used so widely. Exposure to a low level of asbestos is unlikely to harm your health.

Levels of fibres may be higher in buildings containing asbestos materials, especially where the materials are damaged. It is very unlikely that the levels of asbestos fibres found in these buildings will be harmful, but if damaged you should contact us or seek advice.

We have a register of properties containing asbestos. We can advise you of the risk involved if you are planning DIY or home improvements. If you are concerned about asbestos please email repairs@h4w.co.uk

 

Where asbestos could be found in your home

There are lots of products or places that asbestos has been used in over the years. Here is a list of the places it is more common to find asbestos in homes:

Exterior of building – roof sheets and tiles, fascia boards, exterior cladding, guttering and drain pipes.

Boilers – insulation to boilers, boiler flue pipes and storage radiators.

Interior surfaces – textured wall and ceiling coatings (e.g. artex), duct panels , infill panels (above, below or next to doorways/ windows), panels behind radiators/heaters, floor tiles, suspended ceiling panels and underside of stairs.

Other items –fireplace panels, panels to underside of sink, water tank, pipe lagging, bath panels, garage and shed roofs.

 

Our responsibilities around asbestos

We have a legal duty to record and manage any asbestos known to be present within any of our properties. We are not required to remove all asbestos products because doing so may disturb the asbestos and release fibres.

We will identify and record the location of any asbestos, its type and the level of risk. We review and update records regularly and take action to manage or remove asbestos when necessary.

 

Your responsibilities as a resident in one of our homes

Always ask permission if you are planning home improvements or check with us and we can tell you if any asbestos is present. We will advise you of the risk, or refuse permission for the work where risk is high.

Changes to the structure of your home are not permitted without our approval in writing. If you personally carry out the work, or enable and permit others to carry out work without approval you will be responsible for all costs of dealing with any asbestos incidents, as well as the cost for re-instatement and disposal of asbestos.

 

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