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.

Housing for Women operates several safe havens for survivors of domestic abuse in the form of refuges in Ealing, Greenwich and Merton for women and their children.

If you are being abused, remember you are not alone. If you are in immediate danger contact the police on 999. We can help you by providing advice and support through:

  • Our Domestic Abuse Advice Line. Call 020 8317 8273 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 8pm). Our Advice 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 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 in partnership between 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 us
  • Dry washing outdoors, whenever possible, or over the bath with the door closed and the window open
  • Vent any tumble dryers outside, or buy a self-condensing type
  • Keep bathroom and kitchen doors closed. This will help reduce the amount of moisture-laden air affecting other rooms

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. Some fans come on automatically when the air becomes humid and are cheap to run.
  • Open curtains for at least four or five hours each day to let moisture through any window vents.
  • When cooking or having a bath or shower, keep doors closed.
  • 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

  • Insulated roof spaces and the installation of cavity wall insulation will reduce cold spots.
  • Take care not to compress the insulation in your loft (which reduces its efficiency) and avoid boarding your loft or storing items on top of the insulation.
  • 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, for example, a colder spare bedroom, rather than where you are making the moisture.
  • 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.
  • Contact us if you need information about the best value energy tariffs.

 

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. Note that this paint is not effective if it is overlaid with wallpaper. 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. Try this at home or in the car – taxi drivers have been doing this for years!
  • 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. If there is extensive mould you may need professional help to remove it
  • Fill a bucket with water and some mild detergent, such as washing up liquid or a soap used for hand-washing clothes. Use a rag or a cloth, dip it in the soapy water and carefully wipe the mould off the wall. When you have finished, use a dry rag to remove the moisture from the wall. Afterwards, put the rags in a plastic bag and throw them away

 

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  

 

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