Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Housing Matters – November 2022

Monday, 12 December 2022

Our November 2022 newsletter for our housing tenants.

Problems with your central heating and hot water?

Engineer working on a boiler

We know that when your boiler breaks you need it repaired quickly. To make it easier for you to report a problem with your heating system, when trouble strikes, you can now report to the contractor directly by using the following numbers:

  • for heating and hot water systems installed in the last 12 months, contact Aaron Services on 01473 356130, Monday to Friday, between 8am to 5pm
  • for heating and hot water systems installed more than 12 months ago, contact Sun Realm on 0800 999 0929, Monday to Friday, between 9am to 5pm

If you have an emergency heating and hot water problem outside of these times, contact the out-of-hours team at 0800 074 0263.

Remember: any repair emergency should be reported immediately to 0800 074 0263.

Help keep our repairs hotline open for emergencies by reporting all other repairs online.

Damp and Mould – a reminder – if you see it, report it!

Mould on a ceiling

Damp and mould can be in any house, at any time. As a Local Authority and Social Landlord, we have a responsibility to resolve damp and mould issues in our properties, as well as make sure private landlords are fixing theirs too. We also support Housing Associations with any damp or mould issues as they arise.

We want to put right mould and damp issues early, but we can only do that if you let us know it’s in your home. It’s important that we know about anything that needs repairing as soon as possible, before it starts to affect your health, wellbeing and safety.

How does it start?

Mould spreads because of dampness, usually caused by condensation from showering, airing clothes or even from cooking. However, a small proportion of problems start because of rising damp, penetrating damp, burst pipes and leaks. Lack of ventilation is the main cause. Sometimes, in an effort to make homes warmer and more airtight, we lose natural ventilation.

How does it spread?

Mould needs very little nutrients and will grow on almost anything. It also spreads in the air and has a musty smell. Clothes, furnishings and carpets can also be damaged by mould and damp.

How does it affect people in the property?

Mould in houses can be a serious health risk which can result in asthma and other respiratory diseases, as well as cause headaches and depression. Active spores, even in small concentrations, are harmful to the well-being of adults and children. The high humidity that leads to mould is also a condition that is ideal for dust mites and bed bugs.

What can be done to prevent it?

Having the heating on and opening windows just a crack can help with ventilation to reduce condensation. A dehumidifier can also help. If you can, drying clothes outside helps, as does using a properly vented tumble dryer.

What do I do if I see mould?

If it’s a small amount of mould, wipe down or spray the walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash that carries a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) approval number. Make sure you follow the instructions for its safe use. These fungicidal washes are often available at local supermarkets and are often called mould removers. Do not remove mould by using a brush or vacuum cleaner, as this can spread the spores.

If the damp and mould in your home is more than a small amount, report it urgently online on our website.

If you know someone who is concerned about the condition of their home in the private sector rental market (not a council property), please let us know by emailing psh@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

Tenant Support and Wellbeing Service

Woman on the phone to wellbeing service

Available to Central Bedfordshire Council Housing tenants, the Tenant Support and Wellbeing Service is free, confidential and could help you.

By logging onto the service, you can find information, advice and practical tips to help you with topics such as debt, addiction, bereavement, illness, separation/divorce, child and eldercare, mental health resilience, wellbeing and everyday living. If you need to speak with someone, the telephone lines are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, where you can chat and get advice when you need it. If the team can’t help, you will be signposted to a different service to better meet your needs.

Don’t struggle alone when there is support available. Contact the service by calling freephone 0330 094 8845, or log in online.

Username: cbcouncil  Password: tenant

Improved access to Housing Ombudsman for social housing tenants

A black and white outline image of a house.

When you have followed the complaints process and you’re still not happy, what do you do?

The Housing Ombudsman is a professional body that will get involved if you, as a tenant, remain unhappy with the final response to a complaint.

From 1 October 2022, the Housing Ombudsman introduced the following changes to their scheme:

  • you no longer have to contact a designated person
  • you don’t have to wait eight weeks before referring your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman

These changes will help speed up the complaints process and allow social housing tenants direct access to the Ombudsman.

We, as your landlord, have a rigorous complaints process, and this change to the scheme will help make the process simpler for all involved.

Read more about the Housing Ombudsman.

Winter is coming... and so are the gas safety operatives!

If you have your gas safety check booked, please make sure you’re in or change the date if you can't make it. If you have missed an appointment or want to check when yours is due, contact the repairs team.

Carbon monoxide can prove deadly if you’re exposed to enough of it, so help us to help keep you safe.

Free courses for adults

BESA courses imageBedfordshire Employment and Skills Academy (BESA) have an exciting new offer for Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough residents.

Multiply is a government funded programme aimed at improving adults’ numeracy skills, which can lead to positive improvements such as career progression opportunities, confidence with budgeting skills and ability to help children with homework.

To find out more and register your interest, complete our short survey online.

More details can be found in the course information booklet (PDF) or on our Multiply flyer (PDF).

Give us your feedback

Do you like the news bulletin? What would you like to see included? If you have anything you would like to see on these bulletins, email housinginfo@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk and let us know.

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