December 2014

Findlay Property Management Contact Details Over Christmas & New Year

Our office will be closed from 5.30PM on Friday 19th December until Monday 5th January at 10.15AM.


PLEASE NOTE: The contractors below are only for use by Findlay Property managed tenancies. For Let Only tenants you will need to contact your landlord directly. Please ensure you have followed all advice on the page below relating to your problem before calling the emergency contractor or you may be liable for the cost. Emergency numbers are also available by ringing Findlay Property on 020 7254 9444

Findlay Property Management Out of Hours Protocol

We always have an emergency gas engineer, plumber, electrician and handyman on call 24/7/365.

Our definition of an emergency is as follows:
• Broken entry or security issue.
• Gas Leak (Following call to Gas provider).
• Either of No Heat or Hot water in colder months (October to April).
• Leak causing damage to the property from pipe, roof or window.
• Complete Electrical failure.
• Smell from electrical socket indicating heat or burning.

If you have a genuine emergency please call our emergency contractor Lillywhite Maintenance on 020 0333 1969 ( If they are unable to assist you we would also recommend trying The Property Crew on 020 3176 2461, or Aspect Maintenance on 0844 273 4952.

IMPORTANT: You may be liable for the emergency call out charge if you have not followed the advice on this page or given to you over the phone

In the case of a grey area, please email [email protected]/oldfind and we will arrange a call out to look at the issue next working day.

Useful Phone Numbers

National Grid – 0800 111 999
Thames Water – 0845 9200 800
British Gas – 0845 600 6113
N Power – 0800 632 632
E.on – 0845 3033020

Tenant Responsibilities

In addition to a landlord having responsibilities throughout the course of a tenancy, there are also responsibilities on you, the tenant(s). As a tenant in a rented property, you are expected to act in a ‘tenant-like manner’ and in doing so carry out duties in and around the property that are reasonably expected of you. Here is a list of some of the items that would typically be deemed a tenant’s responsibility.

IMPORTANT: You may be liable for the call out/emergency call out charge if you have not followed the advice on this page or given to you over the phone

Appliances not working

If you’ve got an appliance in the house that isn’t working and was supplied with the property, you will need to check the following;

• Does another appliance work in this plug socket? If so, you know it is the appliance which is faulty, as opposed to the power source.
• If another appliance doesn’t work in this socket, check that the electrics haven’t tripped
• If the appliance appears faulty, you will need to check the fuse in the plug if it has one. If it needs changing, it is your responsibility to change it with a fuse of correct ampage.
• If you have changed the fuse and checked you are using the appliance correctly, it is likely you will need a specialist contractor. Please contact Findlay Property during normal office hours.


• Empty washing machine and tumble dryer filters regularly.
• If a vacuum cleaner/Hoover is supplied then empty the cylinder or bags regularly. This will help keep the appliances working at their optimum level. Please note that a vacuum cleaner will not necessarily be supplied at every property.

Smoke Detectors

Most houses or flats have a mains wired fire alarm system installed. These systems range from consisting of a control panel (Grade A or B), to those without a control panel (Grade D).

Properties without a control panel system (including flats with a control panel in the communal area)

It is the tenant’s responsibility to carry out basic maintenance which includes: –

• Cleaning the smoke detectors by wiping and hovering them.
• Checking the smoke detectors by use of the test button to check they sound – this should be done at least weekly.
• Replacing the batteries as necessary – the smoke detectors are designed to ‘beep’ when the batteries are getting low. Most of these detectors use a 9 volt ‘square’ battery. The smoke detectors remove from their base in a variety of methods but usually twist or slide off.

Properties with a control panel system

It is the tenant’s responsibility to carry out basic maintenance which includes: –

• Checking the control panel and reporting any faults to Findlay Property.
• Not interfering with the detectors- these typically don’t have batteries that need changing.
• Cleaning the smoke detectors by wiping and hovering them.
• Not to disconnect the battery in the control panel even if it ‘beeps’ – you will be charged a callout fee to re-set the panel if this happens.
• Both types of systems comprise of heat and smoke detectors. This means that, sometimes, even where there is smoke, the detectors are designed not to trigger in order to minimize false alarms in areas such as the kitchen. For example, if somebody burns their bread in the toaster, the heat detector in the kitchen shouldn’t trigger. The positioning and types of systems vary in different types of properties.

Tripped Electrics

If the power has gone off to your plugs or lights in part of your house or flat- or the whole property – then you will need to check the following steps before calling Findlay Property or an emergency electrician;

• Turn off the appliances and lights in the affected part of the house, otherwise the electrics could just keep tripping.
• Locate your fuse box – this could be in the basement, close to the front door or in a cupboard in the front bedroom or lounge. This isn’t an exhaustive list – you may need to have a look around.
• Check all of the circuit breakers are in the ON position. If they aren’t, turn them all the way off and then ON.
• Wait 20 seconds to check the circuit breaker doesn’t trip again. If it does, you probably haven’t unplugged the faulty item, so check again.
• If the circuit breaker doesn’t trip, you can turn on one item at a time. If the circuit breaker trips as you turn an item on, then it is likely that this one is causing the fault. Leave this item off.
• If the circuit breaker keeps tripping and you are sure you have unplugged all appliances, you will need an electrician. If it is your appliance causing the fault, you will be responsible for fixing or disposing of it.

When to call an ‘out of hours’ electrician

• Have you followed the above steps?
• Are you sure an appliance isn’t causing the fault? If it is, it’s advisable to unplug it and don’t use it until an appliance specialist can check it during normal working hours.
• Is the loss of power isolated only to a single area? If so, please contact Findlay Property during normal working hours.
• If you’re worried that the electrics aren’t safe, contact the emergency electrician who will attend as soon as possible. However, please note that if you haven’t followed the above steps then you may be liable for the charge.


• Attempt to unblock sinks, toilets and external drains using bleach or specifically manufactured products in the event of a blockage. Note: Sanitary products, food or hairs should be disposed of correctly and not via sinks, toilets or external drains.
• If your radiators are functioning poorly or not heating as well as they did before, bleed them in order to get rid of any air that has formed in the radiator’s cells and see if this makes a difference.
• In cold weather (or where it has been forecasted) and you are not going to be living at the property for an extended period, leave the heating system on a timer or a low setting in order to prevent pipes from freezing and potentially bursting. If damage is caused as a result of pipes bursting in cold weather, you may liable for the cost to make it good.
• If you experience a leak, try to isolate where it is coming from and stop using that item. If this stops the leak, wait until office hours to report the issue.
• If the leak is severe and you cannot isolate it, you will need to locate the stopcock to turn the water off. This can be located in the kitchen (check in the kitchen units), bathroom (check in bathroom cabinets), under the stairs or in the street. Remember, if you do not help to protect the property, you may be liable for part of the cost. You will then need to contact Findlay Property or the ‘out of hours’ emergency plumber.

No hot water – If your property has gas

Before calling out a plumber, it is often easier and quicker to check if there is anything you can do to get your hot water working again.

• Is there no hot water throughout the whole house or is it isolated to a single item such as an electric or thermostatic shower? If it is isolated to a single item then please wait until normal office hours before calling Findlay Property.
• If you have no water throughout your whole property, you will first need to locate your boiler – this could be in the kitchen, bathroom or in another area such as under the stairs. Occasionally these are also located in a first floor rear bedroom.
• When you have located the boiler, check that there is power to it by looking for indicator lights (usually green) to show there is power. If there is no power going to it, check next to the boiler for a switch (fused spur) and ensure this is on.
• If there is power to the boiler, you will need to check the boiler pressure. There should be a dial with a needle indicating a pressure of between 1 – 2. If it is below this, your boiler way not be producing hot water.
• If the pressure needs increasing in the boiler then you will need to locate the filling loop which comprises of a flexible metal hose and a valve, usually with a black handle which is connected to the boiler pipe work
• Slowly open the valve and you should hear water flowing through the pipe. Watch the pressure on the boiler and fill it to 1.5 on the pressure gauge. Be very careful not to overfill and to turn valve off fully when the pressure is correct. If you over fill the boiler then turn it off and ring Findlay Property.
• If you have checked all of the above and you still don’t have hot water, it is likely you will need a plumber to visit and check your boiler for you. Please contact Findlay Property during normal working hours.

No water

If you’ve got no water at all, in the first instance contact Thames Water on 0845 9200 800 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) as it is probable there is a temporary problem with the supply in your area. Alternatively, Thames Water post any major emergencies on their website

Cold/Inefficient Radiators

This will only apply if you’ve got a gas central heating system, and should help your radiators increase their heat output if the top of the radiator feels cold, and the bottom feels warm.

• Before you follow these stages, check the thermostatic valves on the radiators to control the heat are adjusted correctly!
• Turn the central heating system off or you could make the problem worse!
• You will need a radiator bleed key or a screwdriver (depending on the type of the radiator) – these can be purchased cheaply from a hardware store such as B&Q
• Have an old rag ready as water will come out of the radiator
• Turn the key/screwdriver counter clockwise slowly, only 1/4 or 1/2 a turn is necessary
• You should hear air leaving the radiator and continue to let the air out until water is released from the radiator
• Close the valve fully
• Check the pressure on your boiler as the pressure may have reduced in the boiler by following these steps
• If your radiator still isn’t working properly then please contact Findlay Property.

Living conditions

Ensure the property is kept well ventilated throughout in order to prevent the build-up of mould forming as a result of condensation. In cold weather it is recommended that the heating is left on as often as possible because the warmer the house, the less condensation will occur. Further preventative measures such as keeping windows open when cooking and showering/bathing should also be undertaken. Drying wet clothes over radiators or heaters also contributes to the build-up of condensation. Not all radiators are safe to dry clothes over, such as some types of electric heaters.

If you are leaving the property during a cold spell or for a reasonable period of time such as holidays then you will need to leave the heating on a low setting to avoid pipes freezing and bursting.

Damp & Condensation

There are several causes of damp. They can be split into two categories – damp caused by condensation and damp caused by a structural defect at the property. Damp can cause mould on walls and furniture and make timber window frames rot. Your Local Council produce some information on damp and condensation, please check their website.

What is condensation?

There is always moisture in the air. Condensation occurs when the air gets colder and it can no longer hold all of the moisture, so tiny droplets of water appear. An example of this is when the bathroom mirror mists over if you have a shower or bath.

Condensation mainly occurs in cold weather, whether it is dry or raining. It does NOT leave a ‘tidemark’. It appears on cold surfaces and in places where there is little air movement e.g. room corners, near windows, behind wardrobes or cupboards.

How to avoid condensation

Produce less moisture

Cover pans/saucepans whilst cooking, put washing outside to dry where possible or put it in the bathroom with the door closed and either the window open or the extractor fan on.

Ventilate the room

Some ventilation is needed to get rid of moisture being produced all of the time, including that from people breathing. Keep a small window ajar.

You need much more ventilation in the kitchen or bathroom when cooking, washing up, bathing/showering or drying clothes. This is especially the case in houses occupied by more than 1 or 2 people where these rooms are in greater use.

Avoid putting too many items in wardrobes and cupboards as this stops air circulating. Leave a space between the wardrobe and the wall. Where possible put freestanding furniture against internal walls (i.e. walls with a room on both sides) rather than outside walls.

Heat your house a little more

In cold weather the best way to keep rooms warm enough to avoid condensation is to keep low background heating on all day, even when no-one is home. This is particularly the case in flats or apartments where bedrooms aren’t above a warm living room.

Is it Condensation?

Condensation is not the only cause of damp. It can also come from:

• Leaking pipes, wastes or overflows.
• Rain seeping through the roof where a tile or slate is missing, spilling from a blocked gutter, penetrating window frames or leaking through a cracked pipe.
• Rising damp due to defective damp-course.
• These causes of damp cause a ‘tidemark’, making this type of cause easily identifiable.

The mould issue is almost universal in London property – we live in a miserable, damp climate and struggle to remain dry, but can do so with good house-keeping: open windows and doors for a sufficient time daily, usually 30 mins.

It’s a particular issue older properties with new double glazing, because after the installation of double-glazing there has been less of a through-flow of air.
The advantage is added warmth in winter, the disadvantage that you need to be perspicuous in damp management.

The fan isn’t the issue – humidity relates to the entire property, and is caused by breathing and cooking as well as washing. If it’s collecting in one place, that doesn’t mean you can just sort out that one place.

For this reason, I recommend opening windows both sides of the house for a sufficient time in the morning, making sure doors in between are held open. You need to factor this into your routine – personally, if it’s cold, I open windows, put a coat on, do 30 mins chores, close up and go. It really is down to how long you let the air come through – sometimes mould collects behind furniture, and it can also help to move the item away from the wall, but I cannot emphasise enough this message of Whole House Ventilation.

However, if for some reason you object to the sufficient degree of ventilation – eg., if it’s particularly cold – you can do a daily wipe where the condensation is collecting, before the mould gets established. There are superficial remedies – chlorine bleach, bathroom fans etc – , but time and again experience shows that increasing ventilation is the answer. Also, it’s a good idea to look out for dry days to dry deeper into the property. key points in bold, key concepts – “whole-house” and “through-flow of air”-

Reporting Maintenance Issues

You should ensure that all maintenance issues are reported as soon as reasonably possible. Any delay may result in deterioration in condition or, in the worst case scenario, irreparable damage. Reports can be made in a variety of ways – in person at one of our offices, over the telephone or by e-mail.

Please note that if a contractor attends following a report of damage or disrepair and the callout was unnecessary or as a result of tenant (include guest) damage, the tenants will be liable for their callout charge and also be responsible for making good any damage.

Waste Management

Tenants have a responsibility to co-operate with the provisions in place for the storage and collection of refuse and recyclable materials. They must also ensure rubbish and recycling is placed in appropriate containers and placed at the correct location on the right day.

Many areas now operate wheelie bin recycling schemes. For more information or to try and request this change in your street, call your local council.

If refuse is allowed to accumulate at front forecourts or rear yards/gardens, or is found to be dumped in the street, action may be taken against tenants by the Council. Such action could include prosecution in the Magistrates Court.

If you require more information on refuse and/or recycling collection, including hefty household waste, please contact your local council.

• Green recycling bag collections will be weekly (paper, plastic cans glass etc)
• Food waste collections will be weekly (in a separate kerbside food waste caddy)
• Garden waste collections will be fortnightly
• Black bin collections or if in a bag area, black bag collections will be fortnightly

Gardens & Pest Control

Under the terms of your tenancy agreement, all communal areas including external courtyards, gardens and porches should be kept in a clean and tidy condition. This includes keeping them clear of rubbish, cutting grass and trimming back foliage. If you have any suggestions we can put forward to your landlord in order to assist you in carrying out your obligations, please contact us.

An important part of keeping your garden clean is to prevent the attraction of rats, mice or other vermin due to un-cleanliness. You are likely to be held responsible for any Pest Control services required. You will also need to ensure that your property is internally kept as clean as possible in order to deter pests such as mice, rats and bugs. Only put your bin bags out on the day they are due to be collected. You are also required to clean windows both internally and externally.

Note: Findlay Property operate a ’21 day pest policy’ whereby we will deal with any reports of pests within the first 21 days of you living at the property, but after then it will be your responsibility.

Anti- Social Behaviour

This can be defined as “an action likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress or behaviour which prevents others from enjoying an acceptable quality of life”

Tenants should ensure that nothing that they or their visitors do will interfere with other occupants within the house or the neighbourhood.

The result of anti-social behaviour on the part of a tenant and/or any of their visitors could include eviction and if there is excessive noise you could be referred to the Local Authority’s Noise Pollution Team, who could serve notice, prosecute or even fine you up to £5,000. They could even seize your equipment permanently.

All out of hours noise complaints for car and property alarms can be made direct to your local council.

Utility Bills

Please note that, unless otherwise agreed, you are responsible for the payment of utility bills for the duration of your tenancy, including any period when you may not be occupying the property. Most utilities are on meters and are billed based on their total usage, though there are typically standing charges even when there has been no usage.

Moving in & out

To find your electricity supplier details
Meter Admin Point – South East England (Kent & EDF Energy parts of Sussex and Surrey) – 0845 601 5467

Read more:

To find your gas supplier details
Meter Admin Point – 0870 6081524

Council Tax Band

Enter your postcode into the VOA Website
Once you have your council tax band – consult your local councils website to calculate the amount of council tax your property will have to pay.

New Stamp Duty Rates

The new stamp duty thresholds and applicable tax rates which came into effect on 4th December 2014 are as follows:

• Up to £125,000 = 0%
• Up to £250,000 = 2%
• Up to £925,000 = 5%
• Up to £1.5m =10%
• Over £1.5m = 12%