Living in your home

We want you to feel comfortable in your home and make it your own. Below are a few things we ask you to do to keep your home in good condition (as per your tenancy agreement) and so everyone can enjoy their neighbourhood.

Condensation

Take a look at our dedicated page for advice on Controlling Condensation and Mould.

Flooring

Carpets

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 trimmed back and the 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.

Reminder: Tree Pruning – Pruning cannot be carried out if a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is in place.  You would need to seek permission from the Local Authority.

Once cut, the branches and any fruit that has fallen down on your side still belong to the tree owner so they are within their right to ask you to return them.

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.

Insurance

We insure the building of your home, but not your personal belongings. We’d advise you to take out insurance to cover your belongings (including your floor coverings) 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.

RSA Insurance Group

We’ve teamed up with RSA Insurance Group, who have a contents insurance plan designed for tenants with a lot of great benefits that are not available on the open market. These include nil excess, no set contract and flexibility around how and when you wish to pay.

There are two ways you can sign up:

Keys

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.

For lost communal keys or fobs, you will need to contact Guinness to ask for a replacement. Please note that you will be charged for replacing these.

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.

Mobility scooters

It is becoming increasingly common for older people and those with mobility problems to use mobility scooters for getting around and maintaining their independence. This is an important consideration for Guinness and we will seek to enable people to retain their independence.

However, many Guinness properties were designed and built before the use of mobility scooters became widespread.  As a result the safe use, storage and charging of mobility scooters in these buildings and on those estates can often be difficult.

In discharging our duty as a landlord we must consider and do what is reasonable to mitigate the risks to our assets and individuals that are caused by the use, storage or charging of mobility scooters and similar devices in communal areas under our management.

Our approach to mobility scooter use is primarily designed to protect all residents, visitors and staff.  Therefore, all customers wanting to purchase a mobility scooter with the intention of storing it within any communal scooter facilities or within their own home must first seek permission from us.

We’ve provided some further guidance on using and storing a mobility scooter as a Guinness customer. And you can make an application to use your mobility scooter using this form.

You can also find more information about how to choose and use mobility scooters from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Parking

Some of our homes have allocated parking spaces. If you’re not sure, please contact us and we can let you know.

On some of our estates you will need to request a parking permit. You can also request a parking permit via MyGuinness.

Some of our schemes have a set limit of visitor passes each month.

We may apply charges for parking permits on some estates. If you want to know if you’re affected by this, please contact us and we can let you know.

Pests

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

Pets

Some of our properties allow you to have pets, but first you’ll need to check our pet permission criteria to make sure it’s okay.

Please note, if you keep pets you will need to make sure that you are keeping to the terms of your tenancy agreement.

If you have any questions about the criteria, or about keeping pets in your home, you can speak with our customer service team on 0303 123 1890.

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 note that we are not set up for Sky Q. Customers moving into a communal block or an area with a communal system will not be able to have Sky Q.

Sheds

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.

If there is already a shed at your property when you move in, then it will be gifted to you. This shed will be your responsibility and not the responsibility of Guinness.

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 that the model which they are going to fit is SMETS2 compatible. With SMETS 2 you can switch suppliers without needing a new smart meter.

If you’re getting a smart meter fitted please email our sustainability team 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 schemes for people in arrears or are on specified benefits that lowers costs. 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 your address so we can update our records.