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 and so everyone can enjoy their neighbourhood.


Condensation happens when there’s too much moisture in the air. If it can’t dry out, it causes mould and mildew in your home.

What causes condensation?

Condensation is caused by moisture produced inside the home, poor ventilation and cold surfaces. It’s more common in winter because moisture can’t escape a warm house.

Everyday activities – such as cooking, laundry and even breathing – can add more moisture to the air.

What problems does it cause?

If condensation can’t dry out it can cause mould on walls and furniture, and mildew on fabrics. Timber windows can rot as a result of excessive condensation.

How can you get rid of it?

1. Avoid creating more moisture

  • Dry clothes outside if possible or in a well-ventilated room
  • Keep saucepan lids on when cooking
  • Make sure your tumble dryer vents to the outside
  • Avoid using bottled gas heaters
  • Wipe down the bath/shower after each use.

2. Reduce moisture in the air when using hot water

  • Keep the kitchen and bathroom doors shut to stop steam escaping
  • Use an extractor fan when cooking or washing
  • Open windows and vents
  • Wipe down condensation from the kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

3. Increase ventilation

  • Open windows for half an hour every day to allow cold air to circulate
  • Move large items of furniture away from external walls and radiators
  • Don’t overfill wardrobes and cupboards.

4. Raise the temperature of your home

  • Fit draft excluders to windows and doors and use carpet underlay
  • Keep a warm level of heating throughout your home.

What can I do to remove mould and mildew?

  • Treat mould before it becomes black as it’s easier to remove
  • Wipe down affected areas with a mould-killing wash
  • Wash or dry clean mildewed clothes and shampoo mouldy carpets
  • If there’s lots of mould, remove the wall lining and wallpaper, treat the plaster and then redecorate
  • Redecorate treated areas using a fungicidal paint.

Other types of damp

Rising damp: is caused by ground water moving up through a wall. It usually appears if the damp-proof course in your home is missing, faulty or not high enough.

You may notice damaged skirting boards and floorboards, crumbling or salt-stained plaster and peeling paint or wallpaper. There may be a tide mark running along the wall.

Penetrating damp: is caused by water leaking through the walls. It’s usually a sign of structural problems, such as faulty guttering or roofing.

You may notice damp patches on walls, ceilings or floors and it’s more likely in older buildings with solid walls.

If Guinness is responsible for the outside of the building and you suspect either of these types of damp please contact us immediately.



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: you cannot do this if it’s a tree and has a Tree Preservation Order.

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.


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

Royal & Sun Alliance

We’ve set up an easy and affordable home contents scheme with Royal & Sun Alliance. This is specially designed for our tenants.

Call them on 08456 718 172 to find out more or download a leaflet [pdf] for more details.


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.


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 – 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.


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 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.

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.