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Living in your home

We want you to love living in your home. Here are some tips for making the most of your home, as well as things we ask you to sign up to so everyone can enjoy our neighbourhoods.

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Condensation happens when there’s too much moisture in the air. If it can’t dry out, it causes mould and mildew in your home.

What causes condensation?

Condensation is caused by moisture produced inside the home, poor ventilation and cold surfaces. It’s more common in winter because moisture can’t escape a warm house.

Everyday activities – such as cooking, laundry and even breathing – can add more moisture to the air.

What problems does it cause?

If condensation can’t dry out it can cause mould on walls and furniture, and mildew on fabrics. Timber windows can rot as a result of excessive condensation.

How can you get rid of it?

1. Avoid creating more moisture

  • Dry clothes outside if possible or in a well-ventilated room
  • Keep saucepan lids on when cooking
  • Make sure your tumble dryer vents to the outside
  • Avoid using bottled gas heaters
  • Wipe down the bath/shower after each use.

2. Reduce moisture in the air when using hot water

  • Keep the kitchen and bathroom doors shut to stop steam escaping
  • Use an extractor fan when cooking or washing
  • Open windows and vents
  • Wipe down condensation from the kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

3. Increase ventilation

  • Open windows for half an hour every day to allow cold air to circulate
  • Move large items of furniture away from external walls and radiators
  • Don’t overfill wardrobes and cupboards.

4. Raise the temperature of your home

  • Fit draft excluders to windows and doors and use carpet underlay
  • Keep a warm level of heating throughout your home.

What can I do to remove mould and mildew?

  • Treat mould before it becomes black as it’s easier to remove
  • Wipe down affected areas with a mould-killing wash
  • Wash or dry clean mildewed clothes and shampoo mouldy carpets
  • If there’s lots of mould, remove the wall lining and wallpaper, treat the plaster and then redecorate
  • Redecorate treated areas using a fungicidal paint.

Other types of damp

Rising damp: is caused by ground water moving up through a wall. It usually appears if the damp-proof course in your home is missing, faulty or not high enough.

You may notice damaged skirting boards and floorboards, crumbling or salt-stained plaster and peeling paint or wallpaper. There may be a tide mark running along the wall.

Penetrating damp: is caused by water leaking through the walls. It’s usually a sign of structural problems, such as faulty guttering or roofing.

You may notice damp patches on walls, ceilings or floors and it’s more likely in older buildings with solid walls.

If Guinness is responsible for the external building and you suspect either of these types of damp please contact us immediately.


If you have a garden, please keep it tidy. If you share a garden with other residents, we’ll usually arrange for the gardening to be done. This is added to your service charge.


In most cases, we’ll arrange buildings insurance for our developments. This covers buildings against weather damage, vandalism and structural damage. Your lease will say if you’re already covered or need to pay anything extra.

If we provide your buildings insurance and you need a copy of the policy, please contact us.

It’s your responsibility to insure the contents of your home.

Claiming on the building insurance

If your home is damaged and it’s covered under the block’s building insurance policy, please call Zurich Municipal on 0800 028 0336.

Quote our policy number JHA-22S347-0033 and let them know you’re a Guinness homeowner.

They’ll ask you to describe the damage, how and when it happened and tell you if you have a valid claim.

They’ll inspect the damage and carry out repairs. You can submit two estimates from your own contractor if you want.

You’ll pay an excess if you claim on this policy. You must notify Zurich within 30 days of the incident.

If a communal area is damaged please contact us and we’ll get it fixed.

Emergency help

If your repair’s an emergency, Zurich can help with the repair, including security and weather-proofing measures.

For damage in communal areas, please contact us. If you’ve contacted the police too, please have the crime number and any other details to hand.

Contents insurance

The insurance policy above doesn’t cover your contents. This means that any damage done to furniture, belongings or decorations by fire, theft, vandalism or water damage isn’t covered.

You should arrange your own contents insurance cover for personal belongings.

We’ve developed a household contents insurance policy [pdf] for Guinness customers with Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Plc. Find out more about the policy and apply here [pdf].


Some of our homes have allocated parking spaces. If you’re not sure, please contact us  and we can let you know. You can also order a parking permit if you need one.

You can also use your MyGuinness account to order one online.


Pests – like rats, mice, fleas or bedbugs – can infest your home, garden or shared areas. Keeping your home clean and tidy should keep them at bay.

If you find pests in communal gardens or shared areas, please let us know and we’ll arrange to get rid of them.

If you have pests inside your home or in a private garden, you’ll need to get rid of these yourself. Check with your local authority to see if they can help. If the creepy crawlies have entered from a communal area, let us know and we’ll arrange their removal.

If you’re having difficulties, please get in touch with us immediately.


You may be able to keep a pet at home, but first you’ll need to check our pet permission criteria to make sure the pet you want to keep means you’ll be sticking to the terms of your tenancy agreement.

Smart meters

If the gas and electricity bills are in your name then you can have a smart meter installed by your energy company.

Before you go ahead with having a smart meter fitted make sure you’re aware of the following:

  • Smart meters measure how much gas and electricity you use. and shares this information securely with your energy supplier.
  • You can have a smart meter if you’re on prepay or a credit meter.
  • You’ll have a separate smart meter fitted for gas and electric. You’ll only need one in-home display to view both your gas and electricity usage.
  • If your gas and electricity accounts are with different suppliers, you’ll have two separate smart meter installed (one from each of your suppliers).
  • There are two models of smart meter – SMETS1 and SMETS2. Check with your energy supplier to find out which one they’ll fit. We recommend asking for a SMETS2 meter. It is the newest technology and you can switch suppliers or move home without needing to get a new meter.

If you’re getting a smart meter fitted please email our sustainability team to tell us of your address so we can update our records.

Water meters

You can have a water meter installed in your home. Before you go ahead with having a meter fitted make sure you’re aware of the following:

  • By changing to a water meter you’ll pay for the actual amount of water you use. Most people make savings but you might not. Check with your water company to estimate how much water you’ll use and if you’ll save money. There’s also a water meter calculator on the Consumer Council for Water’s website.
  • If you chose to have a meter installed you can switch back within the first 12 months. The water company won’t remove the meter.
  • If you have a water leak after your meter is fitted (eg a dripping tap) you’re responsible for the water wasted. But if you report the leak to us and we’ve had the opportunity to carry out the necessary repairs we’ll pay.
  • If your water company has a compulsory metering programme make sure they help you out. Ask for help early to stop bills mounting up and making the problem worse.
  • Every company offers the ‘WaterSure’ tariff. This puts a limit on bills for certain vulnerable customers. To qualify you must meet the following conditions:
    • You pay the bill or someone else in the household must receive benefits or tax credits; and
    • There are three or more dependent children living in your home. Or the bill payer or someone else living with them suffers from a medical condition that involves using large volumes of water
  • Some companies offer trust funds or payment matching schemes. Others have third party deduction schemes for people in arrears or are on specified benefits. This means you can pay your water company directly from your benefit payments.

If you’re getting a water meter fitted please email our sustainability team to tell us of your address so we can update our records.