Honourable and personal residential letting experts

Repairs self help

What you can do before you contact us

We are keen to make sure everything in the property is working well, but when things go wrong there are some things you can and should do before calling us.
If you do not do these you risk making things worse or arranging an unnecessary call out, in which case you may have to meet any cost.
So, please check whether your issue is covered below before you contact us.

No electricity?

If you have no power the first thing to check is whether your neighbours’ houses are dark and the streetlights are out. If so there is probably a general power cut. This may sound obvious, but we do get calls about this!
If there is not a general power cut the chances are something has tripped a breaker switch in your consumer unit (the fuse-board) – these are designed to click off if there is a problem. It could be the item you were switching on or off when the power went off is the cause of the problem.

Breakers can trip if something as small as a light bulb dies. However they can also be a sign of something failing. The problem is usually something plugged in, often which has a timer or starts on its own (like a fridge), or gets hot (like a hairdryer).
It is likely that in addition to the circuit breaker tripping, the main breaker switch in the fuse board may have tripped. If you switch it back on it will stay on if it is safe. If it clicks off there is still a problem. You need to follow these steps to try and identify the cause.

  • Switch off all the breakers
  • Switch on the main breaker switch. It should stay on.
  • Switch on the first breaker switch, leaving it on for a minute or so. If that breaker and the main switch stay on, the problem is not on that circuit
  • Repeat this step for each of the other breakers, until you find the breaker covering the circuit with the problem
  • If it is a plug socket circuit turn off and unplug everything on that circuit (checking for plugs hidden in cupboards) to check whether the breaker still trips.
  • If it does not trip then plug in and switch on each item, one at a time. If it trips when an item is plugged in then that is the item causing the problem. If it is something which belongs to your landlord then we will arrange to get it fixed.
  • If the breaker trips when there is nothing plugged in then let us know, we will get it looked at. Please be aware we may need to charge you for the call out if the problem is caused by one of your items connected into the circuit.

No Heat?

If you have a boiler, please check:

  • Does the boiler make a noise like it is running? If so check the radiators are all switched on.
  • Turn the thermostat up to full to see if that causes the boiler to kick in.
  • Has the boiler controller or switches been changed – make sure they are all on.
  • Is there fuel?
    a. If you have gas, is it on?
    b. If you have oil, is the tank empty (make sure you use the valve at the bottom of the sight gauge on the side of the tank to show the correct level)
  • If your boiler has a reset button, push it.
  • Follow the any boiler instructions, to restart the boiler
  • Turn the boiler off and on again – it often works!

If these do not work, please call! We have temporary heaters you can use until the issue is repaired.

No Hot Water?

If the boiler heats your water, please check if the boiler is working (see no heat above).

Check if you also have an immersion heater (where you have a tank). This can provide hot water until the boiler is fixed.
If your water is heated by the immersion please check the switches are on and there is power.
If these do not work, please call!

No Water?

If you have problems with water supply you need to contact your water company, which will be either

Anglian Water 03457 145145 OR Cambridge Water 01223 706050

Security issue?

If there is a break in then:

Call the police and get a crime reference number

Contact your insurance company

Let us know. We can arrange for any works to be completed by an approved contractor. Usually this will be covered by your insurance.

Can’t get in?

This is usually due to tenants leaving their keys somewhere, or losing them. Sometimes it is because there is a problem with the locks.

Left your keys somewhere?
We have all done this, it happens. Unfortunately if it does, the cost is down to you. If you know where your keys are and we are at the office, you can borrow our keys to get in. If you have a problem out of hours it is usually cheaper to find somewhere to stay until you can get your keys than paying for a locksmith out of hours. If you need a locksmith call our emergency line, we usually have someone you may be able to call.

Lost your keys?
If your keys have been lost or stolen then you must let us know so the locks can be replaced by an approved contractor. Sorry, but you will need to meet the cost of replacing the locks and any related keys, ensuring we have a full set.

Broken lock?
If the locks fail please call our repair line so we can get someone out to fix the problem. Unless you have damaged the lock or failed to report the issue quickly your landlord usually meets this cost.

Drains blocked?

If your drains are blocked we can arrange to get them cleared. However in almost every case they are blocked by things that tenants have put down the drains, in which case we have to charge the tenant for the call out. The problem is often solidified fat or nappies (yuk!).
Please note we have many loos blocked by ‘flushable’ wipes. These wipes do not break down quickly and often accumulate causing a blockage. We recommend these are NOT flushed.
Where you have a blockage we advise your first step is to try to clear the drains yourself using drain un-blocker chemicals from the supermarket, this usually does the trick. If not, give us a call.

Pests, bugs etc.?

Unless the fabric of the building is at fault, allowing the pests to get in, usually pests are a part of nature and therefore the responsibility of the person living in the house, not the landlord.

We can provide you with details of pest control contractors, or your local authority environmental health department may provide the service.

It is important to note that some creepy crawlies are very seasonal, e.g. flying ants emerge from their nests over just a couple of days each summer, and then stop. Most people put ant killer around the hole where they emerge, then vacuum them up. They are a harmless nuisance which will have stopped before you get a pest control contractor to visit.

If in doubt, please call!

Electric Oven not working?

Check it is switched on at the wall – there should be lights on the oven somewhere.

Check the clock is set and the timer is not set – this is usually the problem. The manual can explain how, although we find it easier to follow the many explanations people have posted on line, which seem available for most oven models.

Or if this does not work, report a repair