Looking after your home

 

 

Healthy Homes (Liverpool City Council)

 

Living in a student house doesn't mean you have to be living in disrepair. You should be aware that there are certain standards that your accommodation provider has to maintain. Below are some hazards that can occur in your house. If you notice any of these or something similar, Healthy Homes (Liverpool City Council) can assist you in getting your provider to improve the quality of your housing conditions.

 

  • Excess cold - Is your house warm enough? If your rooms fall below 16 degrees celsius then it's not warm enough and your home may need to be insulated.

  • Damp and mould - Are there black markings on the walls? This could be a sign of damp and mould which can lead to various illnesses.

  • Falling on the stairs - Carpet loose on the stairs and in need of repair? Falling on the stairs is one of the most common accidents.

  • Falling on level surfaces - Uneven floors or loose wires can cause trips which can lead to serious injuries.

  • Flames and hot surfaces - 12,000 people visit Accident & Emergency every year with burns and scalds.

Also, in order for accommodation providers to accredit properties with LSH, they must also must adhere to the LSH Standards. If you feel they are falling short, get in touch with LSH and we will investigate.

 

 

Bed bugs

 

Whilst not a public health pest, bedbugs can be an unpleasant and persistent nuisance. Infestations are on the rise, mainly due to the increase of world-wide travel. Bedbugs draw blood from their hosts and some people can have an allergic reaction.

 

If you suspect you have bedbugs in your home, inform the accommodation provider immediately. Since they are difficult to eradicate we recommend that the service of an experienced bedbug control expert is sought. They should be a member of the British Pest Control Association.

 

Signs of bed bugs

  • Sightings - Adult bedbugs are roughly an apple pip size and may appear red or purple after feeding or opaque. They can be found in mattress seams, corners, buttons, sockets, crevices, curtains or along skirting boards and carpet edges.

  • Bites - Bedbugs feed at night. Bites are red, slightly swollen, itchy and may appear in clusters.

  • Staining - Bedbug faeces will appear as dark brown stains on the bedding.

  • Blood - Spots of blood may be found in the bedding caused from the bedbugs feeding or from crushing of the insect.

Tips on preventing bed bugs

  • When staying in public accommodation when you are on holiday, store your luggage off the ground and away from the bed.

  • Inspect all second-hand furniture that you purchase.

  • If there is an infestation, vacuuming the mattress and fabrics in infested areas may help. The vacuum must be emptied outside into a sealed bag and disposed of in an outside bin. This will not prevent them but may help to control numbers.

 

Condensation and mould

 

Click the thumbnail below to view the Liverpool Healthy Homes guide to controlling condensation and mould, that you can also download and save.

 

 

Condensation is the tiny droplets of water on cold surfaces such as windows, walls, baths and mirrors. It's formed when moisture in the air becomes cold and generally when the weather is cold and where there is little or no air circulation. Excessive condensation can lead to mould on walls and furniture, mildew on clothes and fabrics, wooden window frames rotting and an increase in the number of dust mites.

 

Tips to control condensation

 

  • Don't dry washing on the radiators or heaters. Instead hang it outside, in a bathroom with the window open or dry them in a tumble dryer.

  • Cook with pan lids on (this will also reduce cooking time, thus saving on your bills usage).

  • When having a bath run the cold tap first then add hot.

  • Ventilate your home by opening the windows when you are in (please be security conscious) for around 30 minutes per day.

  • Some tumble dryers need venting outside, if in doubt, ask your accommodation provider.

  • Don't use your gas cooker to heat your kitchen.

  • Keep the bathroom and kitchen doors closed to prevent moisture escaping to other areas of the house.

 

Disrepair and damage

 

Both tenants and accommodation providers have responsibilities when it comes to the maintenance of the property. These are usually detailed in the tenancy agreement.

 

All disrepair should be reported immediately to your provider and we recommend that you do this via email so that there is a record of you reporting the problem. Any conversations should also be followed up with an email, so that if a dispute arises, a clear record of conversations can be seen and used as evidence.

 

It's also useful, where possible, for dated photographs to be taken of the disrepair or problem in the property.

 

If you or the other tenants have caused damage to the property always report it to your accommodation proivder. You may be given the option to organise and pay for the repairs yourself or your provider may arrange the repair and charge the cost back to you.

 

 

Hazards of hoarding

 

If a fire were to start in a property, high levels of clutter can increase the chances of a fire spreading throughout the home. Hoarding combustible materials such as newspapers, magazines, wood, books and flammable liquids would make it easy for a fire to spread quickly.

 

Clutter can also make it very difficult to escape a fire, especially if items are piled high and blocking exit routes. If the property were a large development, this would also impact the whole building.

 

If anyone is concerned they may be at higher risk of fire due to hoarding, or know of someone who is, they should contact Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service on 0800 731 5958 for free home fire safety advice. You can also find more fire safety advice on our dedicated fire safety page.