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.


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.



Carpets are your responsibility. We’ll leave a gap at the bottom of the doors inside your home for fitted carpets. If it’s not deep enough, it’s your responsibility to arrange for the door to be adjusted.

Wooden or laminate flooring

If you live in a flat please ask us for written permission before fitting a wooden or laminate floor. These floors can be noisy for your neighbours and they might need to be taken up later so we can carry out repairs under the floor.

Gardens and hedges

If you have your own garden, please look after it. We want our estates to be nice to live in, so please keep them clean, safe and rubbish-free. You’re also responsible for keeping trees, shrubs and lawns tidy.

If you plant a hedge, make sure it doesn’t block out your neighbours’ light or grow higher than two metres.

If your neighbour’s hedge is growing into your property, you can cut back branches or roots – but only as far as the boundary between your property and theirs.

Communal gardens

If you share a garden with other tenants, we’ll arrange for someone to do the gardening. This cost is included in your service charge.


We insure the building of your home, but not your personal belongings. We’d advise you to take out insurance to cover your belongings against flood, fire, burglary or damage.

There are lots of insurance companies that offer contents insurance. It’s worth comparing them to find the best deal for you.

Royal & Sun Alliance

We’ve set up an easy and affordable home contents scheme with Royal & Sun Alliance. This is specially designed for our tenants.

Call them on 08456 718 172 to find out more or download a leaflet [pdf] for more details.


When you move in, you’ll get two sets of keys for your front door. You’ll also get a set of keys for any other locks, such as windows, sheds and bin stores.

We don’t keep spare keys, so if you lose them or need more copies, you’ll have to get these cut yourself. If you lock yourself out of your house, you must arrange and pay for any lock replacements.

Sheltered accommodation keys

Please don’t fit extra locks on your front door if you live in sheltered housing. Your sheltered scheme manager has a master key to get into all the flats in an emergency.


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 request a parking permit. We’ll check your application and process approved permits in two working days. Some of our schemes have a set limit of visitor passes each month.


You may be able to keep a pet at home, but you’ll need to check with us first, as some of our estates have rules about keeping animals.

Keeping your pets and neighbours safe

No pet should cause a nuisance or danger to anyone. If you have a dog, please make sure your garden has a fence so that your dog can’t escape. Remember that any dog can be dangerous. It’s your legal responsibility to keep your dog under control.

You’re not allowed to keep any of the prohibited breeds mentioned in the Dangerous Dog Act, such as:

  • pitbull terriers
  • Japanese tosas
  • dogo argentines
  • fila brasilieros.

Satellite dishes

Please ask our permission before putting up a satellite dish. You may also need planning permission from your council.

If you live in a block with a communal dish, it’s unlikely we’ll say yes to you putting up your own, but do ask us about getting access to the main one.


Please get our written permission before putting up a shed or summer house in your garden. It’ll be your responsibility to look after it.

It’s illegal to put up a shed:

  • more than 2.5 metres high
  • within two metres of the boundary to your home
  • or that covers over half of your garden.

No one is allowed to sleep in your shed or summer house.