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Looking after your home

Our teams

People are at the heart of everything we do. We want our customers and partners to take pride in being involved with us as an organisation, so they can trust us to deliver an excellent customer experience and to work together as one team in shaping the places where people are proud to live and call home.

As well as your leasehold services team, each area has a neighbourhood team, who are regularly out and about making sure our properties and neighbourhoods are being well maintained and looked after.

If the area in which you live in is not managed by an estate management company, you may see some other regular faces from Worthing Homes in your neighbourhood, such as our neighbourhood warden or our grounds maintenance team.

Repairs and maintenance

Your lease sets out who is responsible for carrying out repairs to the building and to any shared facilities. Repairs to the building structure, including the roof and guttering, and communal areas (such as hallways and stairwells), and repairs and servicing to facilities such as lifts and door entry systems, will normally be the responsibility of Worthing Homes.

Your lease will say what you are responsible for, which is generally the part of the building that is your home (the Premises) in which you lease. As an example, your responsibilities may include:

  • the internal plaster or other surfaces of load bearing walls and columns within the Premises, and of walls which form boundaries of the Premises;
  • non-load bearing walls completely within the Premises;
  • the flooring, raised floors and floor screeds down to the joists;
  • the plaster or other surfaces of the ceilings and false ceilings within the Premises, and the voids between the ceilings and false ceilings;
  • service media within and exclusively serving the Premises; and
  • appurtenances, wiring, plumbing, fixtures, fittings within the Premises.

The exact responsibilities will be detailed in your lease – the above information is just an example of what a lease may include, so please always refer to your lease.

Reporting a repair

If you notice or become aware of an urgent repair to the communal areas of your building, please contact us or request a repair.

If you are unsure of who is responsible for a repair, please refer to your lease – this will show what you are responsible for and what we are responsible for.

We understand that some of the older leases can be difficult to read and understand, so if you are unsure, please contact your leasehold service team for advice.

Improvements and alterations to your home

If you want to make improvements to your home (if your lease allows), you are likely to require our written permission before making any alterations, so please have a look at your lease before commencing any work. You may also require planning permission and need to comply with relevant building regulations.

We would only withhold consent with good reason where the request:

  • may compromise the safety of the premises;
  • break any planning or building regulations;
  • break any clause, covenant or restriction within your lease.

With more complicated improvements/alterations, our neighbourhood surveyor may need to visit you. We may need to review your building plans and make sure they adhere to current building regulations before we can make a decision and, if appropriate, grant consent. You may also require planning permission from your local authority.

Please read our menu of leaseholder services and charges for more information on the cost associated services.

Safe and Sound

Worthing Homes is a responsible, forward-thinking organisation, and we are committed to keeping our residents safe.

We carry out a number of safety checks and inspections on our buildings, not just to be compliant, but to make you feel safe and sound where you live.

We have launched a Safe and Sound campaign here at Worthing Homes, and have the following useful information and tips for our residents:

  • Make your home safe from fire: this government booklet provides useful tips on fire safety.
  • Make sure there are smoke alarms fitted in your home, and test them frequently.
  • Have your gas boiler and/or other gas appliances serviced annually, to make sure they are working safely.
  • Make sure you, your family and your visitors are aware of the exits within the building and the safety notices, should you need to exit the building in the event of an emergency.
  • Make sure fire doors in communal areas are not propped open at any time.

Communal areas

Communal areas need to kept clean, tidy and free from refuse and obstructions at all times.

We do not permit storage of items in communal areas. Items left in communal areas can cause a risk to safety in the event of an emergency or fire – they can be a trip hazard, and combustible items can cause a fire.

Items in communal areas can slow down, obstruct and/or prevent people from being able to leave a building safely, and could also obstruct the fire service from gaining entry.

Worthing Homes has a duty to make sure communal areas are kept clear, so we have to take safety very seriously. If you spot any hazards or issues in any of our communal areas please report them to us straight away.

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, there is a requirement for a fire risk assessment to be conducted in the common areas of buildings containing flats. We therefore have to undertake fire assessments for our relevant properties and review the assessments on a periodic basis. Fire risk assessments are a method of identifying fire hazards so that appropriate measures can be taken to reduce the risks.

We also ensure that the servicing and maintenance of our fire safety assets are undertaken by qualified and approved contractors, and that the communal fire alarms are tested regularly. At Worthing Homes we have our own in-house health and safety adviser available to offer support and advice in relation to these matters.

Asbestos

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral commonly present in the air we breathe (in tiny amounts). It has been commercially mined from rock and milled into fibres from which a wide range of materials were produced since the 1950s.

Asbestos fibres are strong and resistant to heat and chemicals, and these properties led to their widespread use in a whole range of building materials and products, particularly during the 1960’s up to the 1980’s.

Asbestos was often used as fireproofing or insulation but also as a general building material. The use of asbestos has been banned in the UK, and properties built after 2000 do not contain asbestos.

Asbestos-containing materials (ACM) pose little risk unless they are disturbed in some way that allows the fibres to be released into the atmosphere. This will occur if the ACM is drilled, sanded, cut or broken up, but could also occur if it is in a poor and/or damaged condition and liable to further disturbance.

Asbestos-containing materials are not a risk if they are in good condition. If the ACM becomes damaged, or its condition deteriorates, it could pose a risk to health. Damaged asbestos-containing materials can release fibres which, when inhaled, can cause serious diseases.

We are required to act on and manage ACMs in our tenanted properties, and within the communal managed areas of our blocks, under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. We record all asbestos information and provide information about the presence of ACMs. As part of the leasehold management packs on resales, where there are known ACMs in the communal managed areas, a copy of the asbestos survey is included. A copy of the report can also be requested from Worthing Homes at any time.

Where might asbestos may be found in the home

Under the terms of your lease, leaseholders (homeowners) or freeholders are responsible for fixtures and fittings within the property, so it is important to be aware that ACMs could be present in your home.

Asbestos can be found in many places around the home and it is not always easy to tell if a material contains asbestos as many modern asbestos-free materials often look similar.

The lists below gives some of the common areas where asbestos might be found:

Exterior:

  • profiled [corrugated] roofing sheets;
  • some roof tiles and roofing felt;
  • gutters and downpipes;
  • soffit boards;
  • window panels.

Interior:

  • partition walls;
  • window panels;
  • cupboards around boilers;
  • panels around electrical equipment;
  • panels behind fires or heaters;
  • panels on or inside fire doors;
  • bath panels;
  • floor tiles;
  • textured coatings (such as Artex);
  • old boiler flues;
  • gaskets and rope seals inside gas appliances;
  • cold water storage tanks;
  • WC cisterns.

Short-term exposure to significant levels of asbestos fibres can occur during DIY work. Please remember to check your lease first to see if you are required to obtain written permission from Worthing Homes before you make any changes or improvements to the property.

We advise you to note the following if you do carry out any DIY:

  • do not carry out any DIY works on asbestos-containing materials;
  • do not disturb any asbestos-containing materials by banging nails into it;
  • do not drill into asbestos-containing materials by hand or power tools;
  • do not scrape asbestos-containing materials or use a steam stripper;
  • do not attempt to remove asbestos-containing materials.

If you are unsure whether your home may have ACMs, you may want to arrange a survey to find out if there are any ACMs, and to record what they are, where they are, how much there is, and the asbestos type and condition.

If any ACMs require removal we recommend that you contact an asbestos-removal contractor, licensed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to carry out the work.

If you do arrange for any asbestos to be removed, please tell us so we can keep a record on file in case we need to pass on any relevant information to new residents, contractors and/or third parties.

Mobility scooters

Worthing Homes recognises that the use of mobility scooters can enhance the quality of life for many older or less mobile residents and leaseholders who otherwise may be limited in their ability to access common facilities provided in their premises and external facilities in the wider community.

Safe and secure storage of your mobility scooter is important to both yourselves and Worthing Homes. However, not all of our properties have been built with the use and storage of mobility scooters in mind.

Fire safety regulations impose obligations on Worthing Homes as the responsible party for the common parts of buildings to ensure that emergency routes and exits are kept clear at all times.

Residents and leaseholders must apply for permission to store a mobility scooter either within their own property or within a dedicated storage facility prior to the purchase or lease of the scooter.

Mobility scooters must never be left where they obstruct a fire exit route. Worthing Homes’ staff visiting communal areas will note any scooters left in communal areas, particularly in escape corridors. Anyone found persistently leaving their scooter in an escape route will have their right to keep a scooter in the property withdrawn.

Please contact us if you require more information on mobility scooters and about applying for permission.

Communal bins

If you have a communal bin facility where you live, these facilities are for the disposal of general household waste only.

The refuse collectors will not take unwanted household items such as furniture, white goods, electrical items, or unwanted bicycles and car parts, so please do not store or put these types of items in the bin facilities. Instead, you will need to take these items to your local Household Waste Recycling Site, or make arrangements for them to be disposed of by a waste collection firm. Your local Council may also operate a bulk collection service for a fee.