FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Using this guide, you will be able to sort some really simple issues that sometimes stop boilers from working.

If you discover problems with the heating or hot water at your property, the list of easy checks should help you sort the problem quickly. It’s worth going through the recommendations in this guide before contacting us. If you can’t solve your problem with the guides and videos below then please report it via maintenance tab, link to maintenance tab

Programming your heating: Your heating often has a timer whether it be on the boiler itself or a separate programmer. We can’t come out to show you how to work this but if you email us with your boiler/time make and model number, we will send over an instruction manual if there isn’t already one at your property.

Your boiler

Firstly, if you do not have a manual for the boiler or timer then please let us know so we can provide you with a copy, we’ll need the make and model number so make sure you jot these down before phoning (you’ll need to have a good look around on the boiler to find the information as it’s not always displayed on the front).

Usually, companies will also put the manuals online too. So googling your boiler’s make and model will help answer basic questions.

Initial diagnosis (to be done before contacting our maintenance team):

1. Check there is power to the boiler, there may be a digital display or light to indicate this or you may be able to hear the boiler working. If it appears to be ‘off’ look nearby for a switch (usually built into the wall) and check that it is on. If it is on and is still not working check your electrical fuse board to make sure nothing has tripped. If you have done all the above and there is still no power to the boiler please let us know.

2. Somewhere on the boiler you should be able to find the pressure valve which will indicate if the boiler is fully pressurised. This should have a reading between 1 and 2 for it to operate correctly. If it has dropped below 1, it will need ‘topping up’ manually (see our guide on repressurising below)

3. Once you have topped up the pressure, you may need to reset your boiler if it has locked out; there is usually a button you can press to do this on the panel otherwise just turn the power switch on and off.

4. Some boilers will have a switch/knob to choose between hot water or hot water & heating, check to see that you have selected both functions if one of the two isn’t working. The will be indicated by symbols (one of a tap, one of a radiator and then both together for both functions to be operating).

5. If none of the above has got the hot water/heating back on please contact us, don’t forget to let him know you have followed the steps above.

If the pressure on the boiler drops on a regular basis there may be a leak on the system, please let us know if you have seen water dripping underneath the boiler or water leaking from the ends of the radiators in any of the rooms and we can instruct an engineer to attend.

In the winter months please leave the heating on low (particularly if you are away from the property) to stop the pipes freezing. Please be reminded that should pipes freeze and damage occur as a result and it is found that your heating has not been set to come on there may be a charge for the repair work, this is a contractual obligation.

We also recommend during the colder months to set a timer on the boiler for the heating to come on a couple of times during the day to keep the house at a good temperature. A lack of heating is usually a big factor in condensation/mould problems in properties.

Heating and boiler pressure

The majority of heating systems are pressurised in order to ‘push’ hot water around the radiators in your property. Most boilers will therefore have a pressure indicator bar and a top up ‘filler loop/hose’ or ‘internal filling key’ to help maintain a constant pressure.

The pressure gauges are usually situated on the front of the boiler or underneath the bottom of the boiler casing. The idea pressure for your boiler is 1.5 bar (or halfway between the green area on the dial).

If the pressure on your boiler is too low it is likely that it will ‘lock-out’ meaning you will have no heating or hot water.

Below are some example photos of different types of indicators. Once details the pressure measure in ‘bar’ the other has a red and green colour coded to indicate correct and incorrect pressure level.

How to pressurise a heating system with an external filling hose

Most boilers are topped up using a ‘filler loop’ which is normally a flexible hose covered in stainless steel mesh below the boiler.

This has a tap (normally black) that can be turned to let water into the boiler to repressurise it, sometimes instead of a black tap there may be a screw valve that requires a flat head screw driver to open it to allow water to flow through (picture to the right).

If the filling hose is not as obvious as pictured above you may need to follow the pipe work for something similar. You’ll know it’s the right one as you’ll hear water flowing and the pressure dial moving up. If you can’t see anything similar the above or are unsure then report it via maintenance tab.

It is vital that when the desired pressure (between 1 – 1.5 bar) is reached the valve is FULLY CLOSED. The boiler can be permanently damaged if over-pressured.

Please note: If you report a fault and we have to send a contractor out and the issue is a user error you may be charged for the call out.

During cold or wet weather, condensation and mould growth can become a problem so we’ve put together a guide to help you avoid it.

If you create a lot of moisture in the air in your property it will condense on any cold surface and may cause mould or mildew to appear. Modern double glazed windows are too warm to act as condensers, so the water vapour condenses on the next coldest surface. Mould isn’t nice to look at, may not be good for your health and may damage your belongings or the property.

How to remove it

Most supermarkets sell sprays that you can use to remove the mould/mildew which tend not to be that expensive and can be used on most surfaces. You can normally just spray it on and leave it to work. Always read the instructions!

How to prevent condensation

In order to prevent condensation you need to reduce the amount of moisture in the air, this can be done in a number of ways:

Drying clothes: Dry your clothes outside—it is far more eco-friendly! If that is not possible, then make sure they are being dried in a well ventilated room, so the moisture has somewhere to go, and are spread out on a drying rack and not directly placed on radiators.

Ventilation: Make sure extractors are turned on when showering, bathing or cooking and left on for at least 15 minutes after you have finished. It will also help to open a window but remember to close it afterwards. Modern windows can be locked slightly open. Even asleep, you exhale 20 ml of water vapour with every breath! Let us know straight away if an extractor stops working, or you have a problem with a window.

Heating: Try and keep the temperature of your house constant rather then going from really warm to really cold; this will help stop the water vapour condensing as the air cools. It is also more economic to keep a steady temperature. Use the radiator thermostats to control a room’s temperature.

Cooking: When cooking, try not to let pans and kettles boil anymore then necessary. Use the extractors and windows.

Storage: Make sure that cupboards and wardrobes aren’t over filled and that items are kept a bit away from walls so that air can circulate and prevent cold spots.

If you have followed the advice above and still have a problem with condensation or mould, please report it on the maintenance report and we will see what we can do

Gas

If you suspect a gas leak call Transco on 0800 111 999.

Water

For external leaks only call Severn Trent on 0800 783 4444. For internal leaks please contact our office on 0121 472 5897 and also report on the  Report maintenance tab

Police/Fire

Call 999, or 101 if you’re not in immediate danger and ask for the relevant emergency service. The operator will also ask you for as much information as possible.

Burglary

If you are unfortunate enough to be burgled please call 101 and ask for your local police station. If there are burglars in your property or you feel at risk in any way please dial 999.

If you freezer is building up ice and becoming difficult to open and shut, it is time to de-frost the freezer, please see the guide below.

GUIDE

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY:

As a tenant, you are all jointly responsible for replacement of light bulbs during the course of tenancy. Please refer to your tenancy agreement Clause 4(t)

If your light starts flickering or gone out, it often means that the light bulbs have gone and they need replacement.

EXCEPTIONS:

If the light is any of those types below, we will replace them at our costs.

  • Completely Sealed Unit (Often seen in the bathroom)
  • Fluorescent Light Tube

HOW TO?

You can take the old light bulbs to the electrical shops or super market, and buy like-for-like ones.

If you are not sure how to replace light bulbs, you can find guide on YouTube or Google.

TIME FRAME

Normally when the lights gone off in the communal area such as corridor or stairs, it would require immediate replacement or it may become safety hazard.

Please note in the event that no actions have been taken, we would instruct our maintenance team to replace the light bulbs at your cost 14 days after the initial notice served by email if deemed as necessary.

IMPORTANT NOTES

Please DO NOT, in any case, remove or damage the light fittings. In case of the light fittings been damaged or removed, they will be repaired or replaced at your cost.

If you still have problems with your lighting after replacement of light bulbs, please report it as maintenance issue, we would require copies of the light bulbs receipts if you are eligible for reimbursement.

Please note: If you report a fault and we have to send a contractor out and the issue is a user error you may be charged for the call out.

TIME FRAME

Normally when the lights gone off in the communal area such as corridor or stairs, it would require immediate replacement or it may become safety hazard.

Please note in the event that no actions have been taken, we would instruct our maintenance team to replace the light bulbs at your cost 14 days after the initial notice served by email if deemed as necessary.

IMPORTANT NOTES

Please DO NOT, in any case, remove or damage the light fittings. In case of the light fittings been damaged or removed, they will be repaired or replaced at your cost.

If you still have problems with your lighting after replacement of light bulbs, please report it as maintenance issue, we would require copies of the light bulbs receipts if you are eligible for reimbursement.

Please note: If you report a fault and we have to send a contractor out and the issue is a user error you may be charged for the call out.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY:

As a tenant, you are all jointly responsible for replacement of batteries of smoke alarms during the course of tenancy. Please refer to your tenancy agreement Clause 4(t)

If the smoke alarms started a sporadic chirp or beep, not a constant blast, then it is a signal that the batteries will need to be replaced.

Sometimes it can be tricky to figure out which smoke detector in your house is chirping. As a rule, the lower the battery gets, the more the detector chirps. So, once it starts to chirp, you may have to station yourself (and, possibly, other house mates) near each detector and wait for the next chirp to decide which smoke detector is low on battery.

HOW TO?

You can check the maker of the smoke detectors and search the manuals on Youtube or on Google.

TIME FRAME

Normally when the smoke detector started beeping, it would require the batteries to be replaced within 7 days.

Please note smoke detectors are of health and safety importance, in the event that no actions have been taken, we would instruct our maintenance team to replace the batteries at your cost 14 days after the initial notice.

IMPORTANT NOTES

Please DO NOT, in any case, remove or damage the smoke detector, this would put the property, your personal belongings, and more importantly, your own life at risk in the event of fire. In case of the smoke detectors been damaged or removed, they will be repaired or replaced like for like at your cost.

If you want to pay for our maintenance team to replace the batteries, please note that the our electrician’s hourly rate is £35.00 per hour plus the cost of batteries.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY:

As a tenant, you are all jointly responsible for keep all baths, sinks, taps, lavatories, cistern drains, waste and other pipes (sanitary ware and pipes) in working order and free from obstructions. Please refer to your tenancy agreement Clause 4(p)

If your toilet, sink, bath or shower tray becomes blocked, it normally means there are built up of soup, hair and grease waste from your daily usage, therefore, it needs to be unblocked

HOW TO?

There are various of products on the market that can unblock the waste easily, please see few examples, please make sure you read the instructions at back of the products in order to use it correctly. You can also search for tips on the Google or YouTube.

TIME FRAME

Normally when the shower waste or bath waste are blocked, it could cause water overflowing and the property would be subject to water damage as result, therefore, it would require immediate attention

When the Kitchen waste is blocked, it would cause the drain at the back garden to be overflooded, therefore, it would also require immediate attention.

Please note in the event that no actions have been taken, we would instruct our maintenance team to attend to the blocked wastes or drains at your cost 48 hours after the initial notice served by email if deemed as necessary.

IMPORTANT NOTES

Please do not wash food or grease down the sink as it will cause blockage. Please note it is important to keep the pipes and drainage maintained on regular basis, you can apply the products above regularly.

If the property has suffered damages as result of the blocked waste or drains, the tenants will be responsible for the repair cost of the subsequent damages.

If you still have problems with your drains after you have tried to unblock them, please report it on the App.

If you believe the drains or the sewage outside the boundaries of the property has been blocked or backing up, please report it on the APP.

Locked out

During office hours please call our office, if contractors had to be called out, there will be minimum of 1 hour call out charge (£35.00 / hour).

Out of office hours please call your local office and select the option for ‘emergency maintenance’. Please note that there will be a call out charge (between £40-£125 depending on the time of night) for this service if out of office hours.

Lost your keys

Some of our properties have security keys, these are used to prevent copies being made by unauthorised people; copies cost between £20-£50 so try not to lose them!

If you lose your keys and there is a possibility that they can be linked to the property the locks may need to be changed, there will be a charge applicable to cover this cost.

Important

Whilst we do our best to provide our out of hours service at all times and to respond as quickly as possible, it is not a guaranteed service; you are responsible for looking after your own keys.

There is no guarantee that we will have spare keys for your property and that they will be available in the office whenever you need them.

If you have lost your keys at a time when we are not available or don’t have keys you will need to pay the cost for a locksmith to attend. If the locksmith changes any locks you must notify us straight away and provide copy keys to our office; we will normally require 3 keys in additional to your own keys.

No Electricity

When the electrical power goes out in your house, the first thing to do is determine the source of the problem. Is it in your home’s electrical system or with the utility company’s electrical supply to your home? If the electrical power is unavailable in your entire house and your neighbours appear to have lost power too, call the utility company.

Tripping Fuse board

If any of your home’s electrical power works—receptacles or lights in another room, for example—the problem is with your fuse box tripping.

The tripping fuse box is generally caused by an overloaded circuit, but can also be caused by a short circuit. Generally figure that the problem is an overload if it occurred when someone was using a hair dryer, electric heater, air conditioner, or some other electrical appliance that draws a lot of current or is faulty.

Working out what is wrong is largely a process of elimination, and you can usually narrow down the problem yourself.

Are you overloading your circuits? I remember back from my university days that I had to turn off all the other household electrics whenever I boiled the kettle. If you’re brewing up a cup of coffee, making some cheese toasties, checking your email, charging your phone, running the washing machine and dryer, and watching satellite television simultaneously, you could well be overloading your electricity, particularly if you have a lot of appliances plugged into the same sockets. Don’t overload your sockets, this can cause damages to the circuit in the house. Working out what is wrong is a process of elimination, and you can usually narrow down the problem yourself.

Do you have faulty items plugged into the circuits?

Working out what is wrong is a process of elimination, and you can usually narrow down the problem yourself.

Please see this YouTube video below for help.

If it is one of your appliances that is faulty, you will need to get it repaired or replaced, if it is the appliances provided by us, you will then need to report it on our maintenance tab on the Website.

Still having trouble?

If you have tried the steps above and still having trouble, then please report it as maintenance issues on our website. If you report a fault and we have to send a contractor out and the issue is a user error you may be charged for the call out.

Click the link to find out when your collections are:

Birmingham

Other areas please get onto the local authorities website and find out

Please be aware that if you put your rubbish out too early you may be fined by the council. It is advisable to store any rubbish in outside bins with lids to deter rats, mice, cats and foxes.

The council will only  take your rubbish or recycling if you present it on the road for collection. If you are provided with bins then you MUST use these and not leave any waste outside of them.

If your bins are full, there are often communal overflow bins located within your local area, please use these. At no point should you illegally dump any rubbish however.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY:

As a tenant, you are all jointly responsible for keeping all the appliances in good working order, this includes emptying washing machine filters and vacuum bags regularly. Doing this will help keep your appliances working at their optimum level. – CPS homes, Tenant-like-manner

Vacuum Cleaner Stopped Working?

The most common problems would be one of the following:

Hose has been blocked by big objects: you will need to check the hose. If the attachment hose has no suction, either it or the hose suction port is clogged. Try sucking out the clog with a strong vacuum. If that doesn’t work, use the bent hanger technique to remove the clog.

The Vacuum cleaners bags are full: You will need to open the vacuum cleaner and check the bag inside, if it is too full, then you will need to replace it. You can purchase the vacuum cleaners bag at any big supermarket, please note down the make of the vacuum cleaner. You can search the manual on YouTube or Google.

IMPORTANT NOTES

Please do not use the Vacuum cleaners without bags (Unless they are bagless Vacuum Cleaners), if the vacuum cleaners have been damaged i.e motor has been burned out, as result of incorrect usage, you will be responsible for replacement cost.

Most of our vacuum cleaners are Henry as shown in the photo above, the bags are available to purchase in all supermarkets.

If you still have problems after you checked the hose and replaced the bags, please report it as a maintenance issue. Please keep receipts of the bags if case if you are eligible for reimbursement.

Please note: If you report a fault and we have to send a contractor out and the issue is a user error you may be charged for the call out.

If you’re having difficulty with your washing machine or dryer then it’s important to follow the troubleshooting tips below before reporting a fault. If you report a fault and we have to send a contractor out and the issue is a user error you may be charged for the call out.

The machine doesn’t start

  • Is the door closed properly?
  • Is the machine plugged into the power socket?
  • Is the power socket switched on?
  • Is the selector dial for the programme correctly set?
  • Has the ON/OFF button been pressed properly?

There is water on the floor

  • Has too much detergent or unsuitable detergent been used?
  • Has the door been closed fully? Items of clothing stuck in the door may cause the seal to leak
  • Is the soap drawer blocked? Has this been cleaned out recently?
  • Check whether there are any leaks from one of the inlet hose(s) fittings – if there are give us a call and one of our engineers will pop in and sort for you

Unsatisfactory washing results

  • Have you treated stubborn stains prior to washing?
  • Have you used the correct wash programme, please check your instructions for your machine
  • Is there too much laundry in the machine?
  • Are you using enough detergent and the correct type?

The door won’t open

  • Has the wash cycle finished? If a cycle hasn’t finish the door lock will not open
  • The machine does not dry clothes properly
  • Has the correct drying time been set?
  • Is the machine overloaded? About ½ a load should be put into the machine for
  • Is the filter blocked? There will be water left in the drum – please see handy hint below for emptying this!

Has the machine been blocked by the contents from your pockets?

90% of the washing machine issue was caused by blockage of hair grip or coins from the pocket. Here is a guide of how to check and clear your filter in a washing machine.

MasonKnight is a member of Midlands Landlords Association, member of The Property Ombudsman, member of CMP, Client Money Protection Scheme and also a member of MyDeposit.

  • No admin fee / application fees
  • No inventory charges
  • No check – in or check out fee

Default Fees – A default fee is a payment that a tenant is required to make under a term of the tenancy agreement if they fail to perform an obligation or discharge a liability under or in connection with their tenancy, the default fee provisions below sets out a tenant’s liability to pay a charge in a specified circumstance. The landlord or agent must demonstrate that the fee is reaonsable by providing suitable written evidence to the person who is liable for the payments(i. e. invoices, receipts), the default fee is payable by the tenants within 14 days after the initial cost occurred.

Call – out charges (User error) – The reasonable cost of attendance of a contractor

Call – out charges (User error) – Out of office hours – The reasonable cost of attendance of a contractor. (Prices vary depending on the hours)

Novation Agreement: Should the tenant need to withdraw from Tenancy Agreement earlier than the tenancy agreement end date, then the following charge will apply:

Change of sharer: £50, per tenant

Advertising a Room to Rent (does not include Novation charge): 50% of one month’s rent, minimum £250

Holding deposit = 1 week’s rent

Deposit = 5 weeks’ rent

Professional Cleaning charges (applies to properties left unclean by tenants) From £15.00 per hour plus cleaning material

General Maintenance charges (applies to properties damaged by tenants at end of tenancy) £30.00 per hour. For large jobs, two quotes obtained and lowest price charged

Rubbish Removal charge (applies to rubbish left by the tenants in the property or on the ground of the property, not compliant with Local Council Waste & Recycling Rules during or at end of tenancy) £20.00 per bag

Electrician and Gas Engineer charges (applies to properties damaged by tenants at end of tenancy) From £35.00 per hour. For large jobs, two quotes obtained and lowest price charged

Key replacement – if the tenants have lost key or broken the key, a default charge will apply, subject to reasonable charges from the contractors

Default fees for other breaches of tenancy – The landlord/agent is entitle to recover any demonstrable costs associated with the breach, the landlord or agent must justify any fee charged by providing suitable written evidence.

Card charges – No card charges will be made for debit or credit cards for payments received from tenants within the European Economic Area (EEA).Additional transaction fees may apply for students outside the EEA.

Missed appointments – (pre-arranged appointments only) if tenants have been given sufficient written notice prior of the appointments, a default fee will be payable for a missed appointment or refused entry without prior notice. The charge will be subject to reasonable charges or penalties from the contractors