We take the health and safety of our residents very seriously. Hear more from our CEO Elaine Bailey about the steps we are taking to ensure our residents are safe from fire.
Click on the relevant areas below to find out more about our landlord responsibilities for fire safety, electrical safety, gas safety and more. Plus steps you can take to stay safe in your home, including how to prevent burst pipes and how to improve the security of your home to keep your possessions and home secure.
We’ve put together some simple tips to help keep your home and possessions secure.
In 70% of burglaries, the offender gained entry through a door. This may sound like a basic measure, but making sure you lock doors when you leave the house out or go to bed makes a burglar’s chance of entering your home much more difficult. Don’t forget to lock your shed, garage and any side and/or back gate.
Where window locks are fitted, do keep the keys safe as it’s residents’ responsibility to replace these, and lock windows when not in use, even if you are in for the evening and especially when you are leaving the house or going to bed.
60% of burglaries take place between 6pm and 6am. Leaving the lights on when you go out in the evening will create the illusion that there’s someone at home and reduce the chance of a potential break in. Consider leaving lights on a timer, leaving the radio playing and ensuring valuables are out of sight.
A home without a security system is 300% more likely to be burgled. Installing an alarm in a place where it can be easily seen is an effective visual deterrent. An alarm will alert neighbours of a potential intrusion, giving you peace of mind while you are away from home.
Leaving a spare key outside your home under the doormat or flowerpot is extremely risky. If you need to leave a spare key for a forgetful family member, consider a secure key lock box mounted to a wall.
Only 9% of property taken during burglaries is recovered - make sure your home and its contents are insured.
Fire safety in your home
As your landlord we are responsible for carrying out regular fire safety checks in the communal areas of buildings.
You should familiarise yourself with the 'Fire Evacuation' or 'Stay Put' action plan for your respective property.
Following these simple steps will help reduce the risk of a fire in your home.
- Fit a smoke alarm on each floor of your home. Test alarms once a week and change batteries every year.
- Keep exits from your home clear and keys to windows and doors in each reach.
- Keep communal areas, corridors and staircases clear of large items such as prams, bikes or large plant pots as these could get in the way of people evacuating the building, and could also fuel a fire.
- Accidents while cooking account for over half of fires at home. Don't leave children alone in the kitchen.
- Don't leave candles unattended when lit.
- Don't smoke in bed.
- Close all doors at night to help prevent the spread of fire.
- Don't overload electrical sockets
- Switch off and unplug your TV and other electrical goods - leaving them on standby could cause a fire.
Read our Fire safety - our policies and procedures to keep you safe, for further information.
For more tips visit the Fire safety at home pages of the London Fire Brigade's website.
Fire safety for flats and maisonettes
Electrical safety in your home
About 70 deaths and 350,000 injuries in UK homes are caused by faulty electrics and electrical equipment every year. Almost half of all domestic fires are caused by electricity.
As your landlord, we are required by law to ensure your home’s electrical installation and wiring are safe when you move in and that they are maintained in a safe condition throughout your tenancy.
We test and inspect all the homes we manage (and any communal areas) at least once every five years and test and inspect properties before re-letting them to new tenants. We also ensure any appliances we supply are safe to use and are CE marked.
Reporting a problem
You must inform us of any electrical problems as soon as they occur and we will arrange for an electrician to come to your home.
Never carry out electrical repairs yourself.
How to keep you and your home safe
- Make sure you know where your fuse box is, so you can turn the mains switch off in an emergency
- Never overload sockets or plug adaptors into other adaptors
- Maintain any electrical items you bring into your home
- Ensure plugs and sockets are not visibly damaged and replace if necessary
- Check visible leads and cables are in good condition and replace if necessary
- Check light fittings are not visibly damaged and in good condition; contact us if you think they need repairing or replacing
- Always use an RCD (residual current device) on outdoor electrical equipment (this instantly turns off the power if there is a fault and can be found in any DIY store)
- Never store combustible materials near the fuse box or the electricity meter
- Never store anything on top of a microwave
- Never run cables under carpets or rugs
- Never take mains-powered electrical items into the bathroom
- Always switch off electrical items when you are not using them.
Visit Electrical Safety First for more help and advice, which includes an online socket calculator to check your sockets are safe and a Visual Checks App to help you ensure your home is electrically safe.
Gas safety in your home
How to keep you and your home safe
Unless gas appliances are serviced regularly they can become dangerous and can kill. If your gas appliance has not been checked for 12 months it may be unsafe and you may also be in breach of your lease.
- Make sure you have an annual gas safety check!
- Check for warning signs your appliances aren’t working correctly eg lazy yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.
- Know the six signs of carbon monoxide poisoning – headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness.
- Have an audible carbon monoxide alarm. This will alert you if there is carbon monoxide in your home. Our gas engineers are able to supply these when they arrive to complete your gas safety check.
- Never carry out any gas works yourself. Always use a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Asbestos safety in your home
When asbestos is in good condition and not damaged it is not a danger. Once disturbed and its dust gets into the air is there a possible risk to health. Do not tamper with or touch any asbestos material.
Our specialist asbestos contractor carries out asbestos surveys across our properties. We will let you know if we are aware of asbestos in your home. We endeavour to comply with statutory requirements by working closely with tenants and by providing asbestos survey findings.
All residents moving into a Hyde property will be given a leaflet containing facts and contact information.
You can find out more about asbestos safety in your home on the HSE website.
How you can stay safe
You should ask Hyde for approval if you are planning major work in your home. If you think asbestos is present we can offer advice. However if alterations are of your own undertaking, then any costs of removing asbestos if it is found will be yours.
You should be cautious when carrying out any DIY work. The use of power tools could increase the amount of fibres released into your home. You should inform us before starting any work, so that we can provide asbestos information.
Some textured ceiling coatings, Artex for example, are known to contain a small quantity of asbestos. Do not attempt to remove them especially with power tools. We can provide advice, so contact us.
I think I've found asbestos what do I do?
- Do not attempt to clean it up or repair it yourself
- Do not brush or vacuum as this will spread the fibres into the air.
- Contact us for advice.
Legionella bacteria are found in streams, rivers and lakes. They are also found in soil, compost and mains water and can sometimes enter a home’s water system.
Is Legionella harmful?
Low amounts of Legionella are not harmful. Legionella is only dangerous if conditions are right for the bacteria to grow and if you inhale water droplets from a contaminated water system. The bacteria can cause a number of infections, most of which are not serious. However, Legionnaires’ Disease is fatal in 10% to 12% of cases.
We are legally obliged to check for Legionella in some of our buildings, as part of regular checks to ensure water systems are clean and safe to use.
What you can do
Legionella is rarely occurs in homes, as most households do not store large volumes of water, however there are a few tips to make sure your water is safe:
Set the correct water temperature
Legionella grows between 20°C and 50°C, so where possible set hot water cylinders at 60°C or above. Regular use of cold water should ensure temperatures stay below 20°C.
De-scale taps and showers
Legionella can grow and multiply on scale or rust. So de-scale taps and showers every three months or when there is an obvious build-up of scale (in hard water areas, you may need to do this more often). Brush scale off with a nylon brush or wipe with diluted bleach (follow the instructions on the bottle) or a de-scaling solution.
Check the water tank, if you have one
Contact customer services if the lid is missing or damaged.
Use water taps once a week
This will ensure water doesn’t stand in pipes; if you’ve been away for more than a week run all your taps for a few minutes before using the water. Also run the water in the shower – remove the shower head beforehand so water droplets are not created. If you cannot remove it, cover it with a towel while you run the water.
Additional guidance can be found in the Approved Code of Practice and guidance for Legionnaires’ disease on the Health and Safety Executive website.
Prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting
Protect your home from burst pipes
Pipes can freeze when it gets very cold and in some cases burst, causing flooding and damage to homes. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to stop pipes freezing.
Find the stopcock and check the pipes
Find out where your stopcock is located. It’s fitted to the pipe bringing water into your home and is often under the kitchen sink, but not always. Also check the pipes – if there are any you think need insulating, please contact customer services.
If you have an outside tap, turn off the supply (it should have its own stopcock) and open the tap so that any water in the pipe can drain away.
Going on holiday?
If you are planning to go way for more than a day or two, leave the heating on low to prevent the property becoming cold and to prevent to water pipes freezing.
What to do if a pipe bursts
- Turn off the water at the stopcock
- Switch off the electricity at the mains
- Switch off any water heaters
- Switch off the central heating
- Open all taps to sinks and the bath to let the water drain away
- If possible, collect water in the bath for flushing the toilet and for washing
- Warn your neighbours if there is a chance they may be affected
- If it is an internal pipe, call Hyde on 0800 3 282 282.
In the highly unlikely event that a mains pipe freezes, or for any other issues, please contact your local water company.