Looking After Your Home

The aim of this section is to provide you with information about how to look after your home, what improvements you can make and how CCHA can help you make appropriate adaptions to your home.

Lithium battery safety – important information for residents

The safety of residents is a key priority for Castles & Coasts Housing Association (CCHA) and you might have seen in the media that there’s been a notable increase in fires relating to lithium batteries this year, and some have sadly been fatal.

Why do we use lithium-ion batteries?

Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in anything from small items like mobile phones and laptops to larger items such as electric bikes, e-scooters, electric vehicles (EVs) and mobility scooters. This is because these batteries can store a very large amount of energy in a very small space. 

Why are they a fire risk?

These types of battery become a fire risk when they’re over-charged, short-circuited or damaged, so it’s really important to charge them safely.

We’ve put these tips together to help.

Tips to safely charge your lithium-ion batteries 

  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Regularly check the condition of the battery. Look for any dents or signs of overheating. If you spot any dents, stop using/charging the battery straight away and have it replaced.
  • Only use the charger supplied with the battery, because it’s designed to steadily charge the battery to avoid overcharging.
  • If you don’t have the original charger, only use a replacement from the original manufacturer. Counterfeit chargers can be deadly, as overcharging, over discharging and charging the battery too quickly are some of the main causes of fires from lithium batteries.
  • Don’t leave items plugged in and on charge continuously - disconnect the battery and unplug your charger when the charge cycle is complete.
  • Charge batteries when you’re awake and alert so if there’s a fire, you can respond quickly. Don’t leave batteries to charge while you are asleep or away from the home.
  • Charge your batteries in a safe place, away from places where they may stop you from escaping if there’s a fire.
  • Don’t charge batteries close to combustible materials or hazardous substances.
  • Don’t charge lithium batteries where there are high temperatures or directly in the sun.
  • Don’t overload socket outlets or use inappropriate extension leads.
  • Keep your lithium batteries uncovered when charging.
  • Monitor the charging of your batteries if you can, especially if they’re powerful ones like e-bike or e-scooter batteries.
  • Make sure you have early warning systems in place such as a working smoke alarm.

In the event of a lithium battery fire, do NOT try to extinguish the fire.

Get out.  Stay out. Call 999.

If you have any queries at all about this letter, please contact our Health and Safety Team on 0800 085 1171 or by emailing cs@castlesandcoasts.co.uk

Making alterations to your home

CCHA welcome residents to make the property they rent, their home. Therefore, we understand that residents may want to make some alterations to their property. However, you must not carry out any improvements or alterations to your home without obtaining our prior written consent. Examples of improvements and alterations that you may wish to make to your home include:

- Decorating the outside of your home

- Altering, adding or removing fixtures and fittings including kitchen and bathroom units, fires and showers

- Installing a television aerial or satellite dish

- Installing laminate flooring

- Removing or altering fencing or external walls (including to create a parking space)

- Flagging a garden or yard (or any part of either)

- Installing a shed

- Anything that affects the structure of your home

- Installing external structures, including housing for animals

Making improvements
Making improvements to your home is subject to you having first obtained our written consent, and all of the other necessary approvals, such as planning permission or building regulation approval, copies of which you will be required to provide to us at your own cost. We will not unreasonably withhold our consent, however we will make it conditional upon the work being carried out to an acceptable standard.

Simple repairs
We understand that some residents prefer to complete their own basic repairs, for example tightening a door handle. This is acceptable to CCHA as long as the following guidelines are followed.

Rules for alterations and simple repairs
The simple rules that must be followed to complete alterations or repairs are;
1. The works are carried out by competent/qualified tradesmen.

2. All certification, electrics, gas etc. must be available and all relevant regulations adhered to.

3. Any and all future maintenance/repair costs in respect of this alteration are the responsibility of the tenant.

4. Final approval can only be given once the finished works have been inspected and passed. If the works are not to CCHA’s standard you may be asked to make good or in default of this the Association will make the works good and will then recharge you.

5. In the event of your vacation of the property, unless the incoming tenant is prepared to accept the alteration, the alteration is either:-
(a) Removed by you, and the property made good to the Association’s satisfaction;
(b) Any fixtures and fittings being the subject of this alteration are removed and replaced with standard fixtures and fittings to the Association’s satisfaction or in default of this the Association will make the works good and will then recharge you.

6. Works may be subject to inspection by a CCHA Property Surveyor.

Laminate Flooring
If we give you permission to install laminate flooring (whether in a flat or a house), you are agreeing to take it up (at our request), or allow us to take it up, if we need to do so to inspect or carry out work to your home.  If we take it up, we will not be responsible for refitting it, making good or replacing it.

Aids & Adaptations

CCHA is committed to meeting the needs of its residents to support where practicable, independent living in their homes with privacy and dignity for as long as possible.

CCHA will in providing this service consider the adequacy of the accommodation in relation to the individual, along with the nature of the particular property in order to maintain the value of the property/asset to the association.

Applications can be received from Occupational Therapists, GPs or directly from a customer or their appointed representative, in writing.

The CCHA Adaptations Team will assess the application on an individual basis in relation to the tenancy, and property in question, to allow us to deliver a high-quality service to our residents.  Each application is then categorised into either a minor or major adaptation request.

Aids & Adaptations Form

If you would like to make an Aids & Adaptations enquiry, please use our designated form.

Minor adaptations

Minor adaptations are generally discreet and not a fundamental change to the building fabric or structure. Examples include the fitting of:

- grab rails

- lever taps

- handrails

These adaptation applications, if agreed, are funded by CCHA and will usually be raised as a 21-day timescale job and carried out by a local CCHA partner contractor, by appointment.

Major adaptations

Major adaptations are more significant.  They affect the nature of the property and require design and specification by a qualified assessor or Occupational Therapist. Examples include:

- level access showers

- ramps

- stairlifts

- wet rooms

These works are usually funded by a Disability Funding Grant (DFG) administered by the Local Authority.

All applications for major adaptations must be supported by an Occupational Therapist Referral which determines whether, or not, the adaptation is necessary and appropriate.

All referrals, once received by CCHA, are fully assessed (type of property, suitability for adaptation, tenancy history and alternative accommodation options), and if agreed, will be forwarded to the Local Authority who will generally arrange and supervise the works.

All enquiries and referrals should be made to either adaps@castlesandcoasts.co.uk or by completing this form.

CCHA will not normally consider any major adaptation applications where:

-  the occupancy is temporary in nature

-  the resident has moved into the property in the knowledge that it is unsuitable for their needs

- loft extensions

- through floor lifts

- scooter stores

- additional or specific parking facilities

This list is not exhaustive and each application will be considered on an individual basis.

Preparing for flooding

Flooding affects many parts of the UK. There are lots of things you can do to prepare for a flood if you live in an affected area.

We have created this new video on what to do in the event of a flood.  It gives general information about how residents can protect themselves in the case of a flood.  We have also created a simple lleaflet, which you can find below.

If you live in a CCHA property, which has previously flooded, we will already have met you to discuss your individual Evacuation Plans.

We also recommend, if you live in an area prone to flooding, that you sign up to the Environment Agency Flood Warnings System, which is a free service. Call: 0345 988 1188 or visit their website using the link below.

Home Contents Insurance

You have a home full of things that you need and love. This could be your clothes, TV, kitchen appliances, keepsakes, furniture, or gadgets. If it's worth owning, then it’s worth protecting. As your landlord, we insure the building and anything we provide, but we don’t cover your home’s contents and belongings. Ask yourself, would you need help with the cost of putting things right after a kitchen fire, a washing machine flood, or a break in?

Tenants contents insurance financially protects your home’s contents. We work in cooperation with the Northern Housing Consortium to promote an affordable home contents policy. To apply, please use the application form below. You can also contact the insurance provider directly on 0345 671 8172.