Here are ways to protect you and your family in and around your home.
Remember that asbestos is nearly always contained or covered by other materials and is safe unless damaged or broken. When doing DIY it is important to remember:
- Do not drill, cut into, sand or scrape anything you think may contain asbestos when you are carrying out any home improvement, repairs or DIY
- Always soak wallpaper before removing. If possible, use a steam stripper and then gently peel away the paper before redecorating
- Do not try to remove textured coatings (Artex) from ceilings. Wash any area of flaking paint with sugar soap before repainting
- Do not try to remove old floor tiles or linoleum. Leave them in place and lay new floor coverings over them
If you suspect that materials containing asbestos have been damaged please contact your local area housing office.
Leaseholders are responsible for repairing and maintaining their own properties, including any materials that may contain asbestos.
From April 2013, Waltham Estate RMO returned the management of asbestos function in both residential and communal properties back to the council. If you would like to discuss any aspect of the council's management of asbestos on this estate please contact the call centre on 020 7926 1000.
Did you know that around ten per cent of domestic fires are caused by electrical faults? There are over 2,000 electrical shock accidents every year. Looking after electrical equipment is vital. Just because something works does not mean it is safe.
You are required to obtain permission before carrying out any works to the electrical installations in your home. Your estate office will require confirmation that any electrical works are carried out by a competent person.
Any company or person carrying out works on the electrical installation should be registered with the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC). Form more information on electrical safety in domestic households go to the NICEIC website.
Lambeth Council is responcible for undertaking Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) on this estate. The latest FRAs were completed in April 2017 and included all communal arears. Copies of the estate FRAs are available on request. Formally, Waltham Estate Resident Management Organisation completed a programme to have all communal areas assessed for fire safety.
The safety of our residents is one of our key priorities which is why we have worked in partnership with London Fire Brigade (LFB) and Lambeth Council to create a robust programme of fire safety measures.
- Make sure you have at least one working smoke detector in your home, ideally situated on the ceiling outside the kitchen. If not phone the London Fire Brigade on 0800 028 4428 for a free smoke alarm
- Keep matches, lighters and similar items out of children's reach at all times
- Be aware of a fire escape plan and what to do in the event of a fire
- Electric fires need to be kept in a working order and kept clear of clothing, furniture, newspapers etc.
- Always keep flammable liquids in suitable containers, in a safe place and away from any heat source
- Avoid overloading electrical sockets and circuits
- Candles need to be used safely at all times and kept away from furnishings, curtains and combustible matter
- Extinguish smoking materials fully
- Gas portable heaters, barbecues or any gas cylinder devices should not be used in any council property (including balconies) as this is both a fire and explosion hazard.
Please refer to your tenant or leaseholder handbook for more information.
Keeping fire escape routes clear
Waltham Estate RMO is committed to raising standards across all its estates, in order to make them safer and better places for you to live. We want to work with you in creating estates and communities where people feel safe and can feel proud of.
Ensuring fire escape routes are clear is an essential part of keeping you safe. We want to make sure that, if there is a fire, the fire brigade will be able to reach your property without obstacles in the way. This is why it is important that communal areas like corridors, walkways and exit doors are kept clear. Also, exit routes need to be kept clear so that residents can exit the building quickly and safely if needed.
With the tragic and preventable fire experienced at Grenfell Tower, North Kensington, in June 2017, we remind all residents of the Council's Fire Policy for this estate. For residents living in the blocks a full evacuation policy is applied.
The estate operates a "stay put" policy for the flats in the following blocks:
- Addington House
- Colwall House
- Goffton House
- Thornicroft House
- Burford House
- Waltham House
- Stockwell Lane
- Begbie House
A "stay put" policy involves the following approach to be taken:
- When a fire occurs within a flat or house, the occupants alert others and make their way out of the building or walkway and summon the fire service by dialing 999.
- If a fire starts in the common parts, anyone in these areas makes their way out of the building and summons the fire service by dialing 999.
- All other residents not directly affected by the fire would be expected to ‘stay put’ and remain in their home unless directed to leave by the fire service.
Please also help to keep you and your neighbours’ safe by:
- Making sure you have a working smoke alarm in your home – check it!
- Keeping balconies, walkways and stairwells free from clutter.
- Not leaving flammable items (mattresses, wood, etc.) under stairwells or entrances to blocks since these are fire exists for residents who live in the estate blocks. Such items are flammable and may encourage the fire to spread.
- Disposing of any bulky items, please use the dedicated bulk areas of the estate; or wait for a tipper collection day. Collections take place each Friday.
- Not leaving rubbish, plant pots or bikes on your balcony, in communal areas or obstructing escape routes.
- Not smoking in common areas of the block and always fully extinguishing cigarettes smoked in your home and dispose of them carefully and safely.
- Not storing any flammable liquids or materials in garages. If this is noted by the RMO, it will be repossessed.
The RMO is working to have all grilles installed on windows and doors removed. To install a grille, you will require our permission. Permission will not be granted.
If you have any questions or concerns about fire safety within your block or home please do not hesitate to contact the RMO office on 020 7926 9083, alternatively you may wish to contact the London Fire Brigade on 0800 028 44 28 for a Home Fire Safety Visit.
If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak call the National Grid Gas Emergency free phone number on 0800 111 999.
Gas appliances must be serviced annually. If they are in poor condition they can be dangerous.
Where we have fitted a gas fire or gas hot water system your service contractor will arrange to inspect and service each item every year and provide you with a copy of the annual gas check certificate (also known as a CP12).
It is very important that this is carried out. The gas servicing contractor will inform you when your inspection is due and will make an appointment with you. Failing to have your boiler serviced by the RMO may place you at risk.
We may take legal action against those people who don't let us in to do the annual gas servicing work because this is a breach of your tenancy agreement.
If you think that a gas appliance in your home is unsafe, tell your housing officer immediately on 0207 926 9083. If the office is closed, contact the out-of-hours emergency service on 020 7926 6000 or the RMO's gas contractor Smith and Byford on 0208 722 3436.
Unless gas appliances are serviced annually 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. You must have it inspected and serviced annually by a Gas Safe Register approved installer.
Leaseholders are required to arrange their own gas safety checks. If you rent your home and you do not have a valid annual gas certificate and a gas incident occurs you will be prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive.
Every year people die from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas appliances that have not been properly installed or maintained. Carbon monoxide is invisible and has no smell or taste and can kill without warning in just a matter of hours.
Under the terms and conditions of your lease, you are responsible for having your independent gas heating and gas hot water systems inspected and serviced annually by an approved contractor. This responsibility also includes any flues that exclusively serve your appliances.
Are you subletting your home? If the answer is yes then you are a Landlord.
Landlords have special legal responsibilities to their tenants when it comes to gas safety. Please arrange your annual gas safety check now
If you sublet your home
If you sublet your home for less than seven years you are responsible for meeting the landlord's statutory obligations under the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. This means you must:
- Ensure that all gas appliances, installation pipe work and flues for which you are responsible, are in a safe condition
- Arrange for your gas appliances and flues to be checked for safety every 12 months
- Ensure the work is carried out using a Gas Safe registered fitter by asking to see a current Gas Safe registration certificate, ringing the Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500, or by checking online
- Keep a record of all safety checks carried out for at least two years after the safety check
- Ensure your sub-tenant receives a copy of the gas safety check record (CP12) within 28 days of the inspection
- Ensure any new sub-tenant receives a copy of the current gas safety check record (CP12) before they move in for the first time
If you need further advice about gas safety issues ring the Health and Safety Executive Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300 363.
Estate homeowners are able to benefit from the RMO's gas service and maintenance contract with Smith and Byford. For details of this service, please contact the RMO office on 020 7926 9083.
Home security checklist
Help prevent accidents in the home by using the following checklist for each area of the house:
Remember that no two homes are the same and this information is only intended as a general guide to potential dangers.
- Always keep open fires, electric and gas fires and portable heaters guarded
- Always keep windows locked or guarded
- Do not remove window restrictors unless the window is being cleaned; once cleaning has been carried out re-engaged it immediately
- While a window restrictor is removed, the window must not be left unattended
- Protect electrical sockets by fitting child proof covers
Gardens, pathways and communal passageways
- Do not leave sharp tools lying around; keep them safely locked away and out of reach
- Make sure your garden is secure by keeping fences, walls and gates in good repair to ensure children don't get out onto busy roads
- Swings and climbing frames should be securely fixed and well maintained
- Barbecues can be a major fire hazard; never leave them unattended when children are around.
- Lit barbecues give off carbon monoxide (CO) so should never be used indoors
- Keep paths and steps clean and well maintained
- Use a shed to lock away dangerous chemicals like weed killers, sharp tools and electrical equipment when not in use; store all chemicals in the original containers and never in cups or soft drink bottles
- Cover ponds and empty paddling pools immediately after use
- Unplug electrical equipment when not in use; never use in the wet and keep in good repair; fitting an RCD (residual current device) could save a life
- Always keep an eye on children when playing with animals and make sure animals are kept under control
- Make sure you know if any of the plants in your garden are poisonous and keep them out of reach of young children
- Ensure you keep the area immediately outside your front door clean and clear of any obstructions
- Ensure all sharp kitchen implements are kept out of reach and sight of children at all times
- Ensure all potentially dangerous liquids, such as bleach and detergents are kept out of reach of children; preferably in a locked container or cupboard
- When cooking, keep pans out of reach of young children
- Fit short or curly leads to kettles, coffee makers, deep fat fryers and similar items
- Keep hot drinks out of reach of children at all times
- Use place mats, rather than table cloths, to help prevent hot drinks and food being pulled onto young children and toddlers
- Look at having a fire blanket available and know what to do in the event of a chip pan fire
Hallways and staircases
- If toddlers are in the house, have stair gates fitted in the right place and of the correct type
- Keep hallways and staircases free from clutter such as toys and clothes
- Ensure your child's night wear is fully flame retardant
- Ensure accessible windows are fitted with safety locks and safety restrictors should never be removed unless for cleaning
- Bunk beds should only be used by children over six
- Ensure medicines are kept out of reach of children, preferably in a locked bathroom cabinet
- Keep pills in containers with child resistant tops; do not transfer pills into unmarked bottles
- Cosmetics should be kept out of reach of children
- The thermostat on your hot water system or immersion heater should not bet set higher than 54 degrees centigrade (54C)
- Young children should not be left alone in the bathroom
- Use a bath mat if the bath is not slip resistant
- Shut and lock your doors and windows evertime you are leaving the house, even when you're just out to the local shop or drop a rubbish, remembering to double-lock UPVC doors (lift handle up and turn-key)
- Ensure your doors and windows are secured when you go to bed
- Hide all keys, including car keys, out of sight and away from the letterbox (remember a device could be used to hook keys through the letterbox)
- Install a burglar alarm
- Leave radios or lights in your house on a timer to make property appear occupied.
- Remove valuables from view of windows
- Store any high value items (i.e. jewellery, pasports) in a properly secured safe or bank vault
- Fit window locks with keys to all windows
- If you not sure who is at your door, do not open it. Check the identity of the caller by calling the company they are claiming to be from i.e. electricity, water and police.
- Do not open security entry door without checking that caller are known to you and do not open door to the random calls in order to not let strangers into the block.
If you are going on holiday, make your home look like someone is living in it:
- Use automatic timer-switches to turn your lights and radios on when it goes dark
- Cancel any newspapers or milk deliveries
- Use the Royal Mail's 'keepsafe' service - they keep your mail for up to 2 months while you're away. Mail sitting on your doorstep is a sign that you are away
- Trusted neighbours may be able to help you by collecting your post, openning and closing your curtains
- Avoid discussing holiday plans on public social networking sites i.e. Facebook - burglars can use any information you post on there to their advantage.