Tenant information

We have used this section of the website to provide useful information for customers who live in Advance properties.

If you can't find the information you are looking for or have any additional questions about anything you have read, please contact your Housing Officer or our Customer Services Team. They will be happy to help.

If you live in one of our properties and are interested in getting Support services from Advance, please email our Customer Services Team or call 0333 012 4307. They will be happy to help with any questions.

You can now view and manage parts of your tenancy online through MyAdvance, our housing customer portal. MyAdvance gives you an additional way to:

  • Get in touch with us?
  • Check your tenancy details, including rent statements
  • Make payments to Advance
  • Tell us about repairs or maintenance your home needs
  • Keep your contact details up to date

Our easy to use guide gives step by step instructions for how to use each of the features that the portal has to offer.

Our Housing Customer Pack gives information for all customers living in Advance properties. Click below to read more:

The Furnished Homes and Household Goods catalogues are available to provide information for Advance Housing customers. Replacements can be ordered when items are old enough to be due for renewal.

 

Report a repair

How to report a repair

It’s important that you look after your home and let us know as soon as possible if anything goes wrong.

You can report a repair 24/7 on MyAdvance or you can contact the Customer Services Team on: 0333 012 4307 Monday to Friday (from 8.30am to 4.30pm).

You can request a call-back during office opening hours and we will call you back at no cost to yourself. The team will take the details of your repair and arrange an appointment at a mutually convenient time; making it easier for you to plan your time.

 

Repair Priorities

Our staff will take details of the nature of the problem and check that we have an up-to-date number on which to contact you. Please make our Customer Service Advisors aware of any times you are not available so we can inform the operative carrying out your repair.

Our contractor’s may call without an appointment if they are in the area but will only carry out the repair if it is convenient for you.

Depending on the repair, it will be completed within the following timescales:

  • Emergency Repairs within 24hrs
  • Out-of-hours repairs contact made within 2 hours
  • Urgent Repairs within 5 working days
  • Routine Repairs within 28 calendar days

Advance will complete repairs in the times set out above and where possible, we will try to complete the repair even sooner.

Emergency Repairs

If the repair is an emergency we will try to get an operative to you as soon as possible. Emergency repairs are those that threaten your health, safety and welfare and may include:

  • Gas leaks - Report immediately to the National Gas emergency helpline on 0800 111 999.
  • Bare electrical wiring
  • Overflowing sewage
  • Broken external doors leaving a property unsecured
  • Burst pipes, severe leaks
  • No heating in severe weather
  • No hot water

You can email customer services to check the progress of a repair. Your repair request will be dealt with by one of our Customer Service Advisors.

Looking after your home

To keep your home in peak condition you, your household and any visitors should:

  • Take care of the property and use anything in your home which belongs to us only for the purpose intended
  • Take care of any fixtures, fittings or furnishings that were provided as part of your tenancy
  • Try to solve minor problems and report faults promptly and allow us to access your home so that repairs can be made within agreed timescales
  • Keep the inside of your home clean and decorated
  • Do not fly tip or dump rubbish
  • Remember you are responsible for the actions of your household, pets and visitors, whether you are aware of their actions or not.

Security

Home Insurance

All customers are responsible for insuring the contents of their home. We will not accept responsibility for any damage to uninsured possessions.

Caller Identification

  • As with any person you do not know requesting entry into your property, always ask to see identification before you open the door
  • Never be afraid to ask the caller to wait whilst you look up the company phone number. You can confirm their credentials with the company before you let them into your home
  • Advance works with contractors to ensure they work safely and respectfully, including training them on Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults. All contractors will wear a uniform and carry identification when visiting your property.

Adaptations to your property

Minor Adaptations to your Property

If you need to make changes to your home because your needs have changed or you are a new resident, you may be able to get a grant through us from the Government. Minor Adaptations Grants, also known as Physical Adaptation Grants (PAG’s) can only be carried out on our properties. In order for us to apply for a grant an Occupational Therapist’s report must be submitted to us. The report should say why and what changes are needed.

Minor Adaptations Grant Process

  • Advance resident visits Doctor and is referred to Occupational Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist visits resident and produces ‘Referral’, the ‘Referral’ is then sent to us
  • Specialist Mechanical equipment requires a service charge agreement
  • Drawings and Schedule prepared and sent out to Occupational Therapist and Client for approval
  • The job is sent out to Contractors for tender
  • Government to approve funding or Fast Track Schemes
  • We visit the site with the contractor when works commence and interim inspections
  • We visit the site with the Contractor when works are complete
  • Satisfaction questionnaire is sent to resident to gauge the quality of service and work

The above process could take a maximum of 6 to 12 months, although Fast Track Schemes can be completed in a shorter time scale (depending on individual needs and circumstances).

What will the grant pay for?

There are various adaptations which the Government will fund; here are just a few examples:

  • Clos O Mat
  • Ramps
  • Scooter Stores
  • Level Access Showers
  • Dropped Kerbs
  • Adapted Kitchens
  • Hoists
  • Rise & Fall Baths

Improvements to your Home

Before you make any alterations to your home you must write to us to obtain written permission from us. This is required to ensure that your home is not damaged or made unsafe. In some cases you will also have to obtain Planning Permission or Building Regulations Approval from the local authority. An alteration is anything which is an addition or change to the property or its gas, electrical or water supply.

Staying safe in your home

The information on this page is designed to give you advice on staying safe. This information is included in the Customer Pack for new tenants and is available in easy-read formats.

Asbestos

Building materials containing asbestos were used very widely from around 1930 to 1980, and particularly from 1960 onward. It was used because asbestos fibres are strong and resistant to heat and chemicals. When asbestos becomes damaged it releases fibres into the air which can cause problems if inhaled.

Textured Coatings: Familiarly known as “Artex”, this product was used extensively during the 1970’s and 1980’s as a decorative ceiling or wall covering and can contain a trace element (1% or less) of asbestos. Because the content is considered very low this product is unlikely to release any fibres, but care should still be taken not to disturb or damage this product.

AIB: Was used as a fire retardant layer of insulation, it was most commonly used behind electrical consumer units, boilers and gas fires.

Advance Responsibilities

Asbestos is dangerous only when disturbed, it can remain functional and safe while it is maintained and in good condition.

Advance is committed to protecting employees, contractors and tenants alike by ensuring that asbestos is not disturbed. Advance manages a database containing records of asbestos surveys and locations identified.

Advance are committed to managing asbestos in our properties:

  • We will conduct asbestos surveys on all properties built prior to 2000.
  • We will monitor asbestos which is in good condition and is therefore safe to remain in the home.
  • We will remove asbestos which poses a threat to the residents living in the property

What you can do?

Do it yourself (DIY) activities such as sanding or drilling may disturb products containing asbestos and release fibres into your home. It is vital that you ask our permission before carrying out any home improvements or maintenance so we can check our records for existing asbestos information.

If you are at all concerned that you may have damaged or ageing asbestos in your home please do not hesitate to contact us by calling 0333 012 4307.

  • If you suspect that a surface contains Asbestos and if the surface looks damaged, report this to the customer service team so this can be investigated.
  • Don’t carry out any DIY activities that may damage asbestos-containing materials
  • Don’t sand, scrap, drill or break anything you think may contain asbestos
  • Don’t walk through debris that may contain asbestos, it will contaminate other areas of you home

Fire safety

Here are some key tips to ensure you remain safe from fire:

Never smoke in bed!

If you’re feeling drowsy, are drinking alcohol or are taking prescription drugs, take extra care when smoking. It’s really easy to fall asleep and not notice that a cigarette is still burning. Don’t light up if you need to lie down and never smoke in bed.

Chip pan fire safety

Around 16,000 domestic fires every year are started by chip pan fires. Use a deep-fat-fryer instead or better still, use oven chips. If you have a chip pan fire never put water on it, don’t tackle the fire yourself. Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so. Get out, stay out and call 999.

Regularly check your smoke alarm

A smoke alarm could save the lives of you and your family in a fire. Always test your smoke alarm regularly and replace a flat battery straight away. 

Don’t leave cooking unattended

More than half of accidental fires in the home are started in the kitchen. It is easy to be distracted while cooking and leave things unattended. Avoid cooking if you’re tired, have been drinking alcohol or taking medication that can make you drowsy.

Get a free home-fire-safety check

Did you know you can get a free home-fire-safety check? Call your local fire service on their general enquiries number and they will visit to fit smoke alarms and give safety advice on keeping your home and family as safe as possible.

Fire Safety Reminders for flats

The following is an extract on advice from the Fire Brigade if you live in a purpose built flat.

Escape route:

  • Have an escape plan, which you practice and ensure all members of your household are aware of this plan.
  • The best route is normally the way in and out.
  • Keep communal areas and balconies clear so that they don’t block your escape and cause a fire risk.
  • Always keep door and window keys where everyone can find them.

If your flat is affected by fire or smoke and your escape route is clear:

  • Get everyone out, close the door and leave calmly
  • Don’t use the lift
  • Call 999, give them your address details and let them know which floor the fire is on.

If your escape route is not clear:

  • It may be safer to stay in your home until the Fire Brigade arrives.
  • Find a safe room, close the door and block any gaps with soft materials to stop the smoke.
  • Go to a window and shout “HELP FIRE” and call 999.
  • Be ready to explain where you are and the quickest way to reach you.

If there is a fire in another part of the building:

  • Your home should give you some protection from fire – walls, floors and doors can hold back flames and smoke for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • You are usually safer staying in your home, call 999, tell the Fire Brigade where you are and the best way to reach you.
  • If you are in the communal parts of the building leave and call 999.
  • However if you feel unsure, unsafe, can see flames or smell smoke then leave your flat and exit the building

Gas safety

Gas Servicing is an annual requirement and is a crucial part of our efforts to keep your home safe.

Advance Responsibilities

Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 we must:

  • Ensure that we use only Gas Safe registered engineers to carry out work on gas installations
  • Not permit a gas appliance to be used if we suspect it to be unsafe or inadequately ventilated
  • Undertake an annual safety check on gas pipework and landlord owned appliances
  • Keep records of all inspection defects and actions taken
  • Provide tenants with records of gas servicing or safety checks.

 What you can do?

  • It is a legal requirement that you provide us with access to your home under the terms and conditions of your Tenancy Agreement
  • Failure to provide access is a breach of your Tenancy Agreement. A charge of £25 may be made for each appointment where our contractor fails to gain access to carry out servicing and safety checks. Should any subsequent legal action be taken to obtain access and/or possession of your home, then all costs incurred in bringing such action will be your responsibility
  • If you decide to install your own gas fire, permission must be obtained from us and the works carried out by a competent Gas Safe registered engineer

Electrical safety

Advance Responsibilities

Advance ensure the safety of your home by carrying out electricity checks within your home every 5 years, this is to ensure that all power supplies are safe. All electrical work must be done by a qualified electrician under Part P of the Building Regulations requirements and a safety certificate supplied.

We will also complete appliance testing on the goods we have supplied at given intervals.

What you can do?

Electrical do’s and dont’s:

DO

  • Report any electrical problems immediately to our Customer Service team 0333 012 4307
  • Allow access to the property if an electrician needs to visit
  • Regularly check the condition of plugs, cables and extension leads
  • Check that any adaptor you use is safe – it should comply with British standards and be adequately rated for the connected load
  • Try and reduce the use of extension leads and adaptors wherever possible
  • Use appliances according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

DO NOT

  • Carry out your own electrical repairs
  • Take mains powered portable appliances such as radios, heaters or hairdryers into the bathroom.
  • Overload sockets with extension leads.
  • Use any electrical appliances with wet hands
  • Leave items such as mobile phones charging overnight.

Water safety

Legionella bacteria are widespread in natural water systems, e.g. rivers and ponds. However, the conditions are rarely right for people to catch the disease from these sources. The bacteria multiply where temperatures are between 20-45°C and nutrients are available.

How do people get it?

People contract Legionnaires' disease by inhaling small droplets of water (aerosols) suspended in the air containing the bacteria. Certain conditions increase the risk from legionella if:

  • The water temperature in all or some parts of the system is between 20°C - 45°C, which is suitable for growth
  • It is possible for breathable water droplets to be created and dispersed, e.g. aerosol created by shower heads, water outlets, spa baths
  • Water is stored and/or re-circulated
  • There are deposits that can support bacterial growth providing a source of nutrients for the organism, e.g. rust, sludge, scale, organic matter and biofilms
  • Outlets which are used infrequently
  • The system contains dead ends or unused pipe work

What can you do?

There a few simple steps you can follow to help reduce the risk of bacteria and legionnaires disease in your home:

  • If you have taps or showers you don’t use regularly, run them for 5 minutes at least once a month to clear the pipes.
  • If showers are used regularly, the risks are reduced, however, you should still regularly clean and disinfect your shower head, ideally every 3 months
  • Ensure there aren’t any places where water can stay still and build up bacteria.
  • Do not adjust the temperature setting of the boiler
  • Inform Advance if your hot water is not heating properly
  • If you have been away from your home for 2 weeks or more, run your taps through for 5 minutes before using the water
  • Allow contractors access to your home to carry out tests on your water - This is only carried out on a sample of properties annually
  • Keep the hot water in your boiler at a minimum temperature of 60°C WARNING: BE AWARE OF SCALDING!

Service standards

These Service Standards are agreements made between Advance and our customers, who were involved in setting the standards and who will help to monitor and review the standards by participating in surveys and providing feedback. This is so we can continue to improve our services.

Advance is committed to providing reliable, prompt and efficient services to our customers. This leaflet sets out our service standards for our customers who have a Cleaning and Gardening service supplied by Advance and by the contractors we use. Click on the link to download and read more.

How to pay

We offer lots of ways to pay your Rent and Service Charge, giving you flexibility to choose how to make a payment towards your home.

When you moved into your home you signed a tenancy, lease or licence agreement, which states how much rent and service charge you will need to pay and how often.  We will send you an annual notice of your rent and service charges to keep you up dated with these costs. You can check your rent and service charge balance at any time through MyAdvance  

If you are entitled to Housing Benefit to support your Rent and Service charge, we will have supported you to set this up at the start of your tenancy. If you receive any letters about your Housing Benefit and need help please get in touch with your housing officer.

If you pay some or all of your Rent and Service Charges yourself, there are many ways for you to pay. Follow this link for more information.

If you need any help to access any of these payment methods please do not hesitate to call us on 0333 012 4307.

Guide on the annual rent notification

Every year Advance will write to our Tenants and Shared Owners with full details of the new rent and service charges, which are payable for the coming financial year. The new rental year begins on the first Monday of April, this year it falls on 5th April 2021. Please look out for your letter confirming the new rent and service charges for 2021/22.

It is the responsibility of our Tenants and Shared Owners to ensure that the new charges are covered. 

If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit, Advance inform the Local Authorities of the new charges and new Housing Benefit requirements to support your rent and service charges. However, it is always recommended that you also contact them with the information, which is why we include 2 copies of the charges in your annual notification.

If you are in receipt of Universal Credit, Advance are unable to provide the Department for Work and Pensions information on the new charges.  You will need to log on to your journal and provide the information yourself.  If you are struggling to log on to your journal, please contact your Regional Housing Officer, urgently as you will be liable for the shortfall if this is delayed. If you pay for your rent directly to Advance, please ensure that the new payment amount is adjusted from the 5th April to ensure you do not go into arrears.

Please click here for ‘guidance to the annual notification’ for more information on how your rent and service charges are broken down. 

If you would like any further information, or an additional copy of your Rent Notification please get in touch with you Regional Housing Officer.

Comments, compliments and complaints

We'd love to hear what you think. Your ideas will help us to make services better for you and other customers. Please watch our short video, 'Giving us your views'.

You can download the Comments, Compliments and Complaints information below. There is a a plain English and an easy read version of this information.

 

To read our full Comments, Compliments and Complaints policy click here

We have completed our self-assessment against the Housing Ombudsman's code for Housing Associations , led by the Complaints Panel and in consultation with customers. Read more here.

Follow this link and use the form to send us comments, compliments or complaints, call us on 0333 012 4307 or email: customer.services@advanceuk.org

 

 

 

 Report a Repair - fill in this form and click submit or call us on 0333 012 4307