My Safety

What are you doing to keep my home safe?

As your landlord, we undertake a range of measures to make sure your home is safe:

  • We carry out an electrical condition report to your home every 5 years to be sure everything is working as it should and is safe, if we find anything, we’ll quickly put things right
  • All blocks of flats have an independent fire safety assessment, supplemented by monthly inspections, including a visual check of fire safety arrangements
  • Additional fire risk inspections are undertaken by our dedicated Fire Risk Assessment Estate Wardens
  • We fit smoke alarms for free and are steadily replacing battery-powered smoke alarms with mains-powered alarms
  • We service your gas boiler annually to make sure it is safe. We also test your smoke alarm when we do this
  • If you do not have a gas boiler in your home, we will test your smoke alarm when routine repairs are undertaken
  • We will undertake a Fire Risk Assessment where front doors open on to a communal corridor. This helps to identify who leaves rubbish or other obstacles in communal areas that could act as fuel or obstruct escape routes
  • We will service and maintain fire alarms and equipment installed in communal areas


Why do we need to keep communal areas clear?

If you live in a flat, you’ll probably share the hall and staircase, and maybe other areas.

For your safety, all communal areas must be free of anything that might burn, block exits or cause you or others to trip. This includes household rubbish, mobility scooters, door mats, furniture, bicycles, prams, plants, toys and shoes.

For the safety of everyone who lives in the block, if we see an unauthorised item in a communal area, we will ask you to remove it within 48 hours by sticking a removal label on it. We photograph it with the label attached.

This gives you notice to remove the item and to contact us. If the item isn’t removed within the stated time, we take it into storage. We charge you a £10 fee for collection and storage, and you must arrange to collect and pay for the item. If the goods are not claimed within one calendar month, we will exercise the right to sell or dispose of the goods as we deem fit. This period is sufficient to provide you with reasonable opportunity to take delivery of the items.

Please do not leave unwanted items in communal areas or outside any properties. Your council may have a collection service. If we have to remove these items, we will recharge the costs to you. Always bag up your domestic refuse and put it in the correct communal bin.


Electrical safety in my home

We’ve all been spending more time at home recently and as a result there’s a bigger demand on the electrical supply. Our collection of gadgets, appliances and ways to keep us entertained start to accumulate and it can be tempting to plug them all into one extension. But doing this can be dangerous as too many appliances drawing power from one plug can cause it to overheat and start a fire. 

Small can be mighty 

It’s important to consider how much electricity each device will use before plugging too many into a socket. A small appliance doesn’t necessarily mean it uses less electricity and in fact kettles have some of the highest power consumption. 

How many is too many? 

It’s best to work out the total wattage of the devices being plugged into one socket and if they are over 3,000W then you’re at risk of causing a fire. Electrical Safety First has a socket calculator which can be used to check how many appliances can safely used.

Please remember 

Contents insurance covers your possessions in the event of theft, loss or damage. It also covers most of your household goods including furniture, TV, carpets and electrical items, and the replacement of external locks if your keys are lost or stolen. 

It’s important to find insurance cover which is right for you, and we’d like all customers to consider taking out contents insurance for their home or garage to protect your possessions and to provide you with peace of mind. Comparison websites can be a good place to start. 


How can I keep safe generally at home?

Test your smoke alarm monthly. If you think it’s not working please let Abri know.


We love decorations, but we need to keep halls, front doors and communal areas clear which means saving decorations for only inside your homes please. On advice supported by our primary authority, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, decorations in communal areas are a major fire hazard and could block fire escape routes. We can’t take any chances to keep you, your families, and your neighbours safe.


If you’re bringing candles into your home here are some tips to make it safe and cosy:

  • Never leave burning candles unattended
  • Keep candles, lighters and matches out of the reach of children
  • Don’t place candles near plants or materials that can easily catch alight
  • Consider LED candles which make a great alternative

In the kitchen

  • Keep your cooker, grill and hob clean as a build-up of grease or fat can ignite flames.
  • Make sure your appliances are off when you have finished cooking, leave the kitchen or go to bed.
  • Make sure frying and saucepan handles do not stick out from the hob as these can accidentally be knocked off the stove.
  • Keep your cooker clear of objects that can catch fire easily such as oven gloves, tea towels, kitchen roll or loose clothing.


Don’t overload electric sockets. Keep to one plug per socket and avoid using extension leads. Unplug appliances when you’re not using them.

Celebrating safely outdoors

  • If you’re having a party in the garden or outside space please don’t put up any decorations that could catch alight, such as paper decorations, bunting etc. We’re not trying to be party poopers, we just much prefer to not take chances and to keep you, your families, and your neighbours safe.
  • It's best to have barbecues set up on level ground, away from bushes, fences, tents or other structures.
  • Never leave a barbecue unattended.
  • Make sure the coals are cool before you move the barbecue. Once cool, dispose of the ashes safely – never place them in dustbins.
  • Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby in case of emergencies.

Make sure everyone in your household knows how to escape in an emergency. If you have any concerns about your ability to escape or feel you need assistance, please contact us.


How can I be gas safe in my home? 

We provide annual gas safety tests and services to make sure your hot water and heating systems work properly. We have a legal obligation to check your boiler every year, to make sure it is working safely. We also do a full service of boilers to increase their efficiency and give you peace of mind (at no additional cost ― this is paid for in your rent). 

It’s important that you give us access to your property from time to time, so we can carry out maintenance or safety checks on appliances we provide. We’ll make an appointment first but get in touch if you need to change it. 

If your property has a gas supply and a gas cooker connection, you must make sure they’re installed and checked regularly by a Gas Safe Registered installer, and let us know how to keep your record up to date. You must make sure any other gas connected appliances you personally own are regularly checked by a Gas Safe Registered installer. 
If you are unsure about the safety of any appliance, please don’t use it until it’s been checked. When we service your boiler, we’ll make a note of any other gas appliances you’re responsible for. If they’re found to be unsafe we’ll tell you what action you need to take, or disconnect them if that’s the safest thing to do. 

Unsafe gas appliances can put you at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions. If you think you have an unsafe gas appliance in your home, contact the National Grid Gas helpline immediately, on 0800 111 999.  

Make sure you are gas safe in your home by following these simple tips: 

  • Know the six signs of carbon monoxide poisoning: headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse, and loss of consciousness 
  • Check gas appliances for warning signs that they’re not working properly, e.g. lazy yellow flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks or stains on or around the appliance, or too much condensation in the room 
  • Regularly check that your carbon monoxide alarm is working. We will fit these at your property free of charge. 
  • Only use a Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix and service your personal appliances. All Abri Gas Engineers are Gas Safe Registered. 
  • Check both sides of your engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card. Make sure they are qualified for the work that needs doing. You should find this information on the back of their card


How do I remain safe around gas? 

To protect you and to abide by the law, we MUST check every gas appliance in every one of our homes each year.  

If you have gas, even if you don’t use it, we need to visit you every year to service all gas appliances we have provided and at the same time visually check your own gas appliances (e.g. cooker). Regular servicing keeps appliances working and makes boilers and heating more efficient, greener and cheaper to run. 

Key points for gas checks:  

  • you must provide access to carry out these checks  
  • the service is free and usually takes an hour or less per appliance  
  • you will receive a copy of the landlord’s gas safety record (LGSR) within 28 days of your gas check - this will also be available in the customer portal  
  • as a new resident, you will receive an LGSR when you move in  
  • we will write and let you know when we need to carry out the service and safety check.  

Allowing us access 

Most residents allow us access without question and welcome the safety check. However, for the few who do not, please bear in mind that:  

  • missing a gas servicing appointment or refusing to allow us access to your home is a breach of your tenancy conditions and puts you and your neighbours at serious risk  
  • if you miss three appointments and do not help us to carry out your safety check, we will take court action against you  
  • court action could cost you money and even result in you losing your home 


How do I carry out an electrical safety check?

The Electrical Safety Council advise you to carry out some simple visual checks to help prevent electrical accidents at home: 

  • Make sure your plug sockets are not overloaded
  • Check that visible cables and leads are in good condition
  • Check that your light fittings are not visibly damaged and that downlighters are in good working condition
  • Check that you are not storing combustible materials around your fuse box, electricity meter or electrical intake
  • Don’t use the top of the microwave for extra storage
  • Never trail cables under carpets or rugs
  • Never take mains-powered electrical items into the bathroom
  • Always switch off electrical items that aren’t in use

Get in touch if you have concerns about electrics or any other safety matter in your home.


What do I do if my carbon monoxide alarm sounds? 

If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, then you should always call Abri to get it checked out. We will make sure our Gas Engineers are with you as soon as possible. In case of an emergency, please call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 immediately.  You should keep your home well ventilated by opening as many windows as possible, and by turning off your central heating, immersion heater if you have one, and any other gas appliances. 

Abri’s Gas Engineers are qualified to carry out a full property inspection to ensure your home is safe. 


What do I do if I suspect a carbon monoxide leak? 

You cannot see, smell or taste carbon monoxide – but it can kill you in minutes.  

About 50 people die each year in the UK because of gas appliances that have not been fitted, maintained or ventilated properly. 

 Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to flu and include headache, nausea, dizziness and sleepiness.  

Warning signs include:  

  • yellow or orange flames rather than blue  
  • a pilot light that often goes out  
  • soot or yellow/brown staining around a gas appliance.  

If you think carbon monoxide is leaking into your home, switch off the gas at the meter and call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 immediately.  

If someone in your home is showing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:  

  • switch off your gas at the meter  
  • open all the windows  
  • get the person outside 
  • seek medical advice  
  • let us know.  


How do I prevent carbon monoxide poisoning? 

The following measures can help reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home:  

  • we will fit a carbon monoxide sound alarm (this is not the same as a smoke detector) 
  • ensure you allow access and keep appointments for gas safety checks and servicing  
  • never block the air vents of your appliance  
  • never block the outside flue, grille or any air bricks  
  • never tamper with a gas appliance or attempt to repair it yourself  
  • never use a gas appliance you think is faulty, ask us to check it straight away  
  • look out for yellow/orange flames, soot or staining  
  • always use a Gas Safe Registered Engineer to install or remove a gas cooker  
  • tell us about a change in circumstances to your living arrangements if you're now sleeping in a room with gas appliances; if you sleep in a room with a gas fire, you must let us know so that we can check it is safe and replace it if necessary. 


How can I prevent kitchen fires in my home? 

Kitchen fires are one of the most common causes of house fires and our primary authority, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, tell us that 89% of these happen when the person is in another room. To see how serious this can be watch the warning from Amber who had a very lucky escape, sharing her story to make you think twice about leaving cooking unattended. 

How to make your kitchen safe 

  • Never leave cooking unattended   
  • When you’re finished remember to take pans off the heat and switch off the oven or hob 
  • Tea towels and clothing should be kept away from the oven and hob 
  • Watch out for any build-up of grease and fat to prevent this catching fire whilst cooking. Keep the oven, hob and grill clean  
  • Do not put anything metallic inside the microwave 

Safely using electrical appliances 

  • Don’t overload sockets; one plug per socket is the rule, especially if the appliance use a lot of power (like a kettle). 
  • Do not leave appliances such as washing machines or dishwashers on at night.  
  • Work top appliances such as your toaster and kettle should never be positioned near anything which could catch light e.g. curtain, kitchen roll or too close to an overhanging cupboard.  

Deep Fat Frying 

Deep fat fryers fires cause one fifth of all accidental household fires. If you have a chip pan make sure to follow these safety tips: 

  • Never leave a chip pan unattended  
  • Use a thermostat-controlled deep fat fryer – this will make sure the fat doesn’t get too hot 
  • Only fill it one third full of oil or fat 
  • Always dry the chips before placing them in oil 
  • Test the temperature of the oil with a small piece of bread or potato. If it crisps quickly, the oil is hot enough  
  • If the oil starts to smoke, don’t put the food in. Turn off the heat and leave the pan to cool  

What if my chip pan catches fire? 

  • Turn the power off to the chip pan, but only if it’s safe to do so 
  • Leave the room and close the door behind you 
  • Get out, stay out, call 999 
  • Disturbing the pan of oil even after the fire is out, can cause it to reignite – allow the Fire Service to remove the pan 
  • Never use water to distinguish as this will cause a fireball 

Watch this video to learn more about the dangers and how to deal with them. 

Safe and Well, home fire safety visits 

Please remember if you feel you need further assistance you may be eligible for a Safe and Well visit with the fire service. This is a free service where the fire service can visit your home to assess risk factors and provide fire safety advice. They will: 

  • Identify and be aware of the potential fire risks within your home 
  • Know what to do in order to reduce or prevent these risks 
  • Put together an escape plan in case a fire does break out and ensure you have working smoke alarms. 

For more information please contact your nearest fire service: 

Please remember 

Contents insurance covers your possessions in the event of theft, loss or damage. It also covers most of your household goods including furniture, TV, carpets and electrical items, and the replacement of external locks if your keys are lost or stolen. 

It’s important to find insurance cover which is right for you, and we’d like all customers to consider taking out contents insurance for their home or garage to protect your possessions and to provide you with peace of mind. Comparison websites can be a good place to start. 


What is Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionnaires’ disease is a rare but serious disease caused by Legionella bacteria within the water system and is a form of pneumonia which can be fatal. People can catch legionella disease by inhaling small water droplets suspended in the air which contain the bacteria.

Anyone can get the infection although the risk increases with age and some other factors such as:

  • Being over 45 years old
  • Smoking
  • People with a vulnerable immune system
  • People with conditions such as chronic respiratory or kidney disease, diabetes, lung and heart disease

The bacteria are commonly found in natural sources such as rivers and ponds, although people don’t usually catch it from these sources as the conditions aren’t right for the disease to develop.

However, water systems for our homes can provide the right conditions for the bacteria to develop which is why it is important that you understand what Legionella is and how we can control it.


Preventing Legionella

If you have a water storage tank in the loft, make sure it has a lid with no holes and is secured tightly to the tank 
If you have a cylinder which provides your hot water, make sure the thermostat is set to 60°C. But be careful as this means water from your taps or shower will be very hot, so take care when running water. 
If you have a boiler which provides your hot water, make sure your digital display on the boiler is set to 60°C. This will be checked annually during your gas service but is good practice for you to check regularly to make sure the system is working correctly. 
Make sure your taps and any shower heads are clear of limescale. This is really important as the scale is a source of nutrients  for the bacteria which can help it grow and multiply. Supermarkets sell descaling products to help with this, especially for hard water areas. We would advise that descaling should take place as regularly as required but carried out at a minimum of every three months. 
All taps and showers (not forgetting any outside taps) are likely to be used for several minutes each week. But any taps that aren't used that often will need to be flushed through once a week to make sure fresh water is available. 
If you are away from home for a week or longer then you will need to flush through all hot and cold taps and showers (not forgetting any outside taps) before use when you return. For any hot taps, turn the hot water back on and leave for two hours to get up to temperature before running it. 
You’ve said to flush through taps or showers not used, do I just turn on my taps then? Well simply put yes but for safety you should: 

  • Turn on the tap slowly and increase the flow of water gradually allowing the water, both hot and cold to run for a minimum of two minutes. 
  • With showers, where possible remove the shower head and let the water flow from the hose, running for a minimum of one minute on the coldest setting and two on the hottest setting. 
  • If your shower head is fixed, cover them with a plastic bag, cutting a small hole in the bottom corner to allow the water to drain out. 


How can I prevent mould and damp in my home? 

Damp, condensation and mould 

No one wants to live in a damp home. Damp can cause mould on walls and furniture and cause wooden window frames to rot. 

Some damp is caused by condensation. This can lead to a growth in mould that appears as a cloud of little black dots. For other kinds of damp, see below. 

Condensation occurs when moist air comes into contact with a colder surface like a wall, window, mirror etc. The air can’t hold the moisture and tiny drops of water appear. It also occurs in places the air is still, like the corners of rooms, behind furniture or inside wardrobes. 

How to reduce condensation at home 

1) Produce less moisture  

Simple things make a huge difference, like keeping the lids on pans when cooking, drying clothes outdoors (and especially not on radiators), venting your tumble dryer to the outside and avoiding using paraffin heaters or flue-less bottled gas heaters which produce a lot of moisture. 

2) Let the moist air out and the fresh air in 

Extractor fans are an effective way to get rid of moist air and steam so that less condensation forms. Some very modern homes have extractor fans which run continuously, fitted in the ceilings of bath and shower rooms. They use very little electricity. If your home doesn’t already have extractor fans then it's well worth getting them fitted in the bathroom and kitchen. Fans that run on a timer, humidistat or pull-cord typically have a rating of 8-30W. A 30W appliance would need to run continuously for nearly a day and a half to use one unit (about 15p) of electricity. 

Stop moist air getting into the rest of your home. When cooking or bathing, keep the kitchen or bathroom door shut and open the window so that the steam goes outside instead.  

Meanwhile, let fresh air circulate to avoid mould forming where the air is still. Make sure there is a gap between your furniture and the walls, and give wardrobes and cupboards a good airing sometimes. 

3) Insulate and draught-proof your home

Warm homes suffer less from condensation, so you should make sure your house is well insulated. This means insulating your loft to the recommended depth of 270mm (about 11 inches), and your cavity walls (if your house has them). Your windows and external doors should be draught-proofed, and you should consider secondary glazing if your windows are draughty. 

4) Heat your home a little more 

While you don’t want to waste money heating rooms you don’t use, very cold rooms are more likely to get damp and mould. Set the thermostatic radiator valve to 1 in unused rooms so the radiator gives out a little bit of heat whenever you have the heating on. If you don’t have central heating, consider using a room heater with a timer and temperature control. Remember, unused rooms will need a good airing from time to time. 

Other helpful equipment 

You can catch condensation dripping from windows with condensation channels and sponge strips (available from DIY shops). If you wipe down windows and sills in the morning this will also help, but be sure to wring out the cloth rather than dry it on a radiator. In extreme circumstances you may need to invest in a dehumidifier. These can help a lot but cost anything from £40 to over £200 and larger ones can be quite costly to run. 

How to get rid of mould 

If you already have mould on your walls and ceilings then you need to clean it off properly. An effective two-stage method is to start by cleaning off the mould with warm water. Leave to dry overnight and then spray the affected area with an anti-fungal wash and allow that to dry. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consider wearing a face mask when spraying. 

You could also treat the affected area with a mould-resistant paint, available from most major hardware stores. 

Condensation is not the only cause of damp 

‘Penetrating damp’ is caused by moisture coming into the house through leaking or cracked pipework, a damaged roof, blocked guttering, gaps around window frames and cracked or defective rendering and brickwork. All these problems can be remedied. 

‘Rising damp’ is due to a defective (or non-existent) damp course. This will leave a ‘tide mark’ about a meter above the floor. Fixing rising damp is a job for a qualified builder. 

NB: Newly built homes can sometimes feel damp because the water used during its construction is still drying out. 


How can I smoke safely at home? 

Our primary authority, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, have told us that the careless disposal of cigarettes is the main cause of house fire fatalities with just over half of fatalities caused by discarded smoking materials. So if you’re a smoker please be careful and here are some tips for reducing the risk of fire at home. 

  • Never smoke in bed or on armchairs and sofas – especially if you think you might fall asleep. 
  • It’s safer to smoke outdoors 
  • Make sure to stub out cigarettes or cigars properly, use ashtrays and dispose of the contents carefully, making sure it’s fully cooled before emptying into an outside bin 
  • If you use e-cigarettes never leave to charge unattended or overnight as they can overheat and start a fire. Only use the charger supplied with your e-cigarette kit. 


How do I prevent fire in my home? 

There are lots of inexpensive precautions you can take to prevent a fire in your home, which could save the lives of you and your loved ones: 

  • take extra care in the kitchen (especially when cooking with hot oil) ― accidents while cooking account for over half of all fires in the home  
  • never leave young children alone in the kitchen 
  • keep your cooker clear of flammable objects like cloths, oven gloves and curtains 
  • make sure cigarettes are stubbed out properly and carefully thrown away 
  • never smoke in bed 
  • never leave lit candles in rooms that nobody is in, or where children are unaccompanied  
  • if your upholstered furniture was made before 1988, it won’t be fire-resistant ― it could easily catch light and produce clouds of poisonous smoke 
  • don’t overload electrical sockets – try and stick to one plug per socket 
  • don’t use sockets under beds where possible 
  • close inside doors overnight 
  • never dry clothes near to heaters or cookers  
  • make sure all fires are guarded, especially if you have children 
  • never prop fire doors open or interfere with self-closing mechanisms of any internal doors 
  • keep matches and lighters out of reach of children 
  • never use water on a fire involving electrical equipment, fat, oil or spirits 
  • never use a lift in the event of fire  
  • consider keeping a fire blanket in the kitchen 
  • test your smoke alarm once a month. If you think it's not working please let Abri know
  • plan your escape if there is a fire and make sure everyone in your household is familiar with it 
  • keep exits from clear from obstructions or trip hazards so that people can escape if there is a fire 


What do I do if there is a fire? 

If there is a fire in your home: 

  • never tackle it yourself – get out, stay out and call 999 
  • leave the room where the fire is immediately, then close the door  
  • tell everyone in your home and get them to leave 
  • close the front door of your flat behind you 
  • do not stay behind to put the fire out 
  • wait outside, away from the building 

If there is a fire in a part of your block of flats, please note: 

  • The building is designed to contain the fire in the section of the flat where it starts. This means, if the fire is elsewhere, it should be safe for you to stay in your own flat 
  • You must leave your home immediately if smoke or heat affects you, or if you are told to do so by the fire service 
  • If you are in any doubt, get out


How to report Hate Crime 

We’re committed to keeping you safe in your community. 9-16 October is Hate Crime Awareness Week so we want to make sure you know how to report incidents if you or your neighbours are affected by hate crime. 

What is hate crime? 

Crimes committed against someone because of their disability, transgender-identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation are called hate crimes and should be reported to the police. 

Hate crimes can include: 

  • threatening behaviour 
  • assault 
  • robbery 
  • damage to property  
  • inciting others to commit hate crimes 
  • harassment 
  • online abuse 

If you’re in immediate danger 

  • Call 999 if you’re reporting a crime that’s in progress or if someone is in immediate danger. 

If you’re not in danger 

  • If the crime isn’t an emergency, call 101 or report hate crime online. 
  • Report hate crime online 
  • True Vision has been developed so that you can report hate crimes online - you do not have to visit a police station to report. 
  • Click here to report hate crime to your local police force. 
  • We’re here to help 
  • You can reach out to our community safety and tenancy compliance teams if you have safety concerns in your community my messaging us through MyAbri. 


What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fibre that was widely used in various construction materials until the late 1990s. Asbestos materials were often used in buildings for insulation, fire protection, reinforcement, and decorative finishes for the internal and external areas as well as the fabric of the building itself. This means that many buildings built before the year 2000 may still have asbestos in them.

If asbestos containing materials (ACMs) remain intact, they pose very little risk. It’s only when ACMs are damaged or disturbed that they may potentially release asbestos fibres into the air which could enter your lungs when breathing. Breathing in asbestos fibres can damage your lungs and their lining.


Why do I need an asbestos survey?

It’s important for us to have up to date asbestos records for all our properties. These surveys will allow us to update our records with the most up to date data about your home. We need to carry out a survey at your home before we can start our programme of work to upgrade the heaters, so we know if there is asbestos containing material where we plan to carry out work.


What should I do if I suspect there’s asbestos at my home?

If you suspect your home may have asbestos containing materials (ACMs), and it was built before the year 2000, please get in touch with us.