Attention Tenants! How to Keep Your Rental Deposits

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Tenancy Deposit Schemes

By law your landlord must put your rental deposit in one of the government-backed tenancy deposit schemes. In England and Wales the schemes are:

There are certain conditions which mean tenants may not receive their deposit back. For example, if a landlord feels that a property has fallen into disrepair due to the tenants actions or lack of care, the price of repairing those damages would be taken from the deposit.

If you treat the property with care you shouldn’t have to worry about losing your deposit. We thought it would be useful to give you some tips to help you keep your rental deposit at the end of your tenancy:

Read your tenancy agreement

Your tenancy agreement may be a bit lengthy but it’s important that you read it. The agreement will lay out explicitly what is and isn’t expected of you while living in the property. For example, some agreements will state that you cannot hang pictures on the walls, or that you must cut the grass regularly. Stick to the agreement and the rules set out by your landlord. If you are unsure about any of the conditions make sure that you discuss these with your Landlord or Letting Agent before signing.

Check the inventory

When you move into the property an inventory will be carried out to confirm the state of the property, and list any furniture or appliances that have been included. When you move out, the check-out report will be compared to the initial inventory to make sure that you have left the property in the same state in which you moved in. If you disagree with anything on the inventory make sure you take photographs and discuss this as soon as possible with your Landlord or Letting Agent.

Pay your bills

All utility bills are the tenant’s responsibility unless your tenancy agreement states otherwise. If you don’t keep on top of your bills you may have money deducted from your deposit when you move out – or even have your tenancy terminated early by your Landlord.

Report repairs

Some repairs and general maintenance will be covered by your Landlord, others you will need to sort out and pay for yourself. Always report any issues to your Landlord or Letting Agent at the earliest opportunity.

Keep it clean

If you leave the property in a mess and your Landlord has to hire a professional cleaner you are likely to have the costs deducted from your deposit. To make sure this doesn’t happen keep on top of your housework – keep surfaces, kitchen appliances, bathrooms and carpets clean to avoid a build up of grime.

Take belongings with you

When you move out of the property ensure that you take all possessions with you – including any rubbish and unwanted items. Any costs incurred by the Landlord for removal of items will most likely be deducted from your deposit.

If you have any queries about your deposit always speak to your Landlord or Letting Agent. Any disputes regarding the deposit can be lodged with the relevant tenancy deposit scheme.

Good luck 🙂

5 ways to protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning

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A recent survey by npower has revealed that only one in 20 parents know the symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and the more than a third of UK homes aren’t fitted with a CO alarm. In order to raise awareness following Carbon Monoxide week (21-25 November), we’ve put together five ways in which you can protect you and your family from the dangers of CO poisoning:

1. Know the most common symptoms

Only 6% of people in the UK can spot the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which means that possible cases can be missed. Dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting, tiredness and confusion, stomach pain, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing are all symptoms of CO poisoning. If you notice any of these, make sure to seek medical help.

2. Fit CO alarms in your home

The only way to detect a CO leak is with a CO alarm, it’s a simple and relatively cheap way to make sure you’re protecting your family from potential CO leaks.

3. Get your appliances serviced regularly by registered engineers

Whether you’re getting new appliances fitted or you’ve had them for a while, regular services by registered engineers are necessary to ensure that everything is working correctly and any malfunctions that could cause CO leaks are picked up.

4. Make sure your kitchen is fitted with an extractor fan and do not block air vents

It’s really important to make sure all your rooms are properly ventilated, if you have air vents in any of your rooms make sure that items of furniture are not covering them.

5. Ensure your chimneys and flues are swept regularly by qualified sweeps

Blocked flues and chimneys mean that carbon monoxide can’t escape, it’s a good idea to schedule in inspections once a year to make sure they are working correctly.

How many calories do YOU burn keeping your home tidy?

The Organised
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Thinking about joining the gym as part of your new year’s resolution? Forget it! The secret to keeping fit could be closer to home than you think….

Keeping your house tidy may be the bane of your life, but experts say it’s one of the best ways to stay in shape. Cleaning the windows, vacuuming and dusting the tables could even help you to shed some extra pounds from your waist, new research suggests.

While scrubbing the floors is believed to be the equivalent of 15 minutes running and could help you to burn off that slice of pizza you had for dinner. And if you’ve eaten a bag of crisps, consider doing the ironing to burn off the 157 calories you’ve just consumed.

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On average, UK adults spend around 11 hours doing house work every week – burning 2,345 calories. A minute of light housework is equivalent to taking around 72 steps – meaning that just half an hour of chores each day could make a big difference on your fitness tracker.

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So what are you waiting for, get cleaning 😉

Top 10 Home Cleaning Tips!

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It’s surprising just how filthy household items can get and the serious harm that these surfaces can cause if not cleaned properly. Harmful germs will breed on a surface within hours so it’s important, especially at winter time when people are more likely to pick up a virus, to regularly clean surfaces.

With that in mind, we though we’d share some top cleaning tips to help you keep things running smoothly at home:

  1. Soak in the sink: Within eight hours, one bacterium on a damp cloth can turn into six million, so soak your cloth in the kitchen sink in a couple of inches of hot water with a capful of bleach or other multipurpose cleaner.
  2. Leave those lids down: Germs from the toilet bowl can become airborne for two hours after each flush and travel as far as six feet. Always replace the lid before flushing! If you need to use a toilet brush, make sure you disinfect it after use.
  3. Prevent poisoning: Campylobacter is carried by about half of all dogs and cats, which can cause food poisoning in their owners. If you let pets join you on the sofa, spray the upholstery afterwards with Dettol All in One Disinfectant Spray to kill germs and harmful bacteria.
  4. Put bacteria to bed: A warm bedroom is the perfect breeding ground for dust mites. The average person sheds up to 10g of skin a week and up to 18kg in a lifetime. Pull back bed linen every morning, vacuum your mattress as well as under the bed every few weeks and open the windows.
  5. On your marks: Stubborn marks on your toilet bowl or enamel bath? Try rubbing a pumice stone on the stain. It’s hard enough to shift stains yet soft enough not to mark the surface.
  6. Sweat dreams: A fair proportion of a pillow’s weight is made up of skin scales, dandruff, sweat, and saliva. Load two pillows at a time into the washing machine then stick them in the tumble dryer with a few tennis balls to stop the filling clumping.
  7. Get in the spirit: Tackle those stains with a splash of vodka or gin on carpet or upholstery. To be safe, check a hidden area first to make sure the colours don’t come out.
  8. Sink your toothbrushes into it: They’re great for getting into those tricky corners such as around the base of taps, tile grouting and around the hinges of the toilet seat.
  9. Seal out the germs:  The seal around the fridge commonly harbours mould, which can spread every time the fridge door opens, contaminating the food. Remember to wipe fridge seals in your cleaning routine.
  10. Kill bacteria in beaks:  A child’s rubber duck can harvest multiple dangerous germs in their beaks and harmful mould at the base. Before first use, apply glue in the holes to prevent mould from creeping in.

You’re welcome 🙂

Do you use you’re phone on the loo? (You’re not the only one…)

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We’ve come across research which claims that a third of UK workers admit to being on their smartphone while using the toilet, and almost one in 12 even consume food and drink there!

The study questioned 1,000 office workers in the UK to understand the state of handwashing habits in office environments, and revealed some major concerns about the spread of germs in the workplace.

A third (32%) of UK workers questioned said that they use their smartphones while in the office washroom, with Facebook (60%), WhatsApp (36%), playing games and emailing (both 18%) the most popular activities. Also, 13% even admitted to making phone calls from the cubicle. Most worryingly of all, around one in 12 (8%) said they had eaten food in the office washroom.

It’s no wonder that British workers are concerned about their co-workers washroom habits. Almost half (49%) would be ‘disgusted’, and a quarter would be ‘concerned’, if they knew a colleague didn’t wash their hands after visiting the washroom. Almost four in 10 (38%) will avoid shaking hands with people they know have just left the washroom, while a quarter would be uncomfortable with a client or important business stakeholder using the same office toilets as the general workforce.

According to the World Health Organisation, hand hygiene is “the most important measure to avoid the transmission of harmful germs.” Thankfully, more than eight out of 10 (83%) of UK office workers claim to always wash their hands after visiting the washroom and 31% claim to wash their hands for more than 20 seconds every time. However, this good work could be undone by office workers’ unhygienic habits.

The survey also questioned office workers in Australia, France, Germany and Malaysia (1,000 in each country). The Germans lead the way in hand hygiene, with 87% of workers reporting to always wash their hands after using the washroom, compared with 83% in the UK, France, Australia and Malaysia. Brits are less likely to use their phone in the washroom than Australians and Malaysians (40%), but did not perform as well as the Germans (21%) and French (31%). Australians are the most likely to consume food and drinks in the washroom, with 11% of respondents admitting to that practice.

The research across the five nations also found 45% of workers who did not always wash their hands blamed external factors such as being in a hurry. The washroom environment was cited as the biggest contributory factor, with 50% of respondents blaming an aspect of the bathroom for driving them away. In fact, 16% said they avoid washing their hands when the smell is bad, 20% when there is no soap or towels, and 15% when the handwashing facility is not clean.

What’s your excuse…?

Simple fixes for 12 stubborn stains…

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It happens all the time, you spill something or cut yourself or drop something. So we thought we’d provide you with a to do list of how to remove some stubborn stains:

OIL: Whether it’s lipstick or bacon grease, consider rubbing chalk powder into oil stains before throwing them in the laundry. The chalk will absorb the grease, making it easier to remove in the wash.

DEODORANT: Keep dryer sheets handy to lightly rub out any deodorant stains you may get on clothes. The dryer sheets will pick up the excess deodorant and won’t harm delicate fabrics in the process.

COFFEE: To get rid of those annoying coffee stains in mugs, just moisten a cloth and stick it in some baking soda. Gently rub the cloth on the stained china or cups, and then rinse off. Those coffee stains are as good as gone.

LIPSTICK: Cotton balls dipped in rubbing alcohol will get lipstick out of your clothes and fabrics. Dab at the stain repeatedly until it’s gone.

GREASE: If you have a grease stain on your clothes, all you need is a can of Coca Cola. Pour the soda in your wash along with laundry detergent and run on a normal cycle.

SWEAT: Banish those yellow underarm sweat stains by mixing 1:1 lemon juice and water and rubbing it on the affected area.

INK: Though it might seem odd, milk really can help remove ink stains from clothes. Soak your ink-stained fabrics in a milk bath over night before rinsing and laundering as usual.

RED WINE: Before red wine has a chance to set, sprinkle the stain with salt. It will help absorb the wine, making it easier to get the wet stain out.

BLOOD: On fresh bloodstains, apply 3% hydrogen peroxide to the stain and then rinse with fresh water. Throw in the laundry and your garments should be as good as new.

GRASS: If your grass stains are fresh, dab a sponge soaked in vinegar to the affected area until the stain lifts. If it’s a dried stain, try making a paste of vinegar and baking soda and scrub it into the fabric before throwing in the laundry.

MAKEUP: Amazingly, you can get makeup like foundation, concealer, and more out of clothes by applying some shaving cream. Rub and scrub the stain with shaving cream and then rinse. Repeat as necessary until the makeup is gone.

BERRY JUICE: Berry stains are easy to get out by using a simple boiling water flush. Boil some water in a tea kettle and then pour from at least eight inches above the garment to really flush out the fabric. If the stain is still there, soak in a bowl of vinegar before rinsing and drying in the sun.

HOOVERS – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW PART 2

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Last week we published the first part of this series on hoovers, giving you the lowdown on the different types of hoovers on the market to help you make the right choice.

This week we’re taking thing a step further and giving you heads up about which hoovers are best to use for specific purposes…..

Home Or Office?

Will you be using the hoover at home or in a commercial setting such as an office? If you’re using it at home you can get by with a smaller and potentially less powerful vacuum. Commercial settings, such as office, shops and storefronts are entirely different and you’ll require a bigger more powerful hoover!

Carpets

Carpets are probably the most complicated to clean. Dirt, dust and other debris can easily sink deep into the fabric making it nearly impossible to remove. This can be even more problematic, when attempting to clean thick carpet.

For large carpeted areas, it is generally best to opt for a corded or cordless upright vacuum. Also, you should make sure to choose an upright, which comes with a good rotating brush.

Hardfloor – Laminate & Hardwood

They’re actually surprisingly easy to keep clean, however, it is possible to scratch this type of flooring very easily. With this in mind, you’ll need to obtain a gentle vacuum, which is specifically designed for this individualistic purpose. 

When going for a suitable hoover, make sure to look for non-marring wheels. These wheels can be utilized on hard floors and will not result in dings, scratches or flaws. You’ll also want to consider investing in a vacuum, which utilizes a brush roll and can transition effortlessly from rugs and carpet to hard flooring.

Rugs & Mats

Whether you’re cleaning a small rug or a large wool rug, you’ll need a specialized vacuum that can get the job done, without overdoing it. In this category, it is possible to choose from a variety of different vacuums, with uprights and handhelds being some of the best. As with carpets, you will want to make sure to opt for a vacuum, which utilizes a rotating brush. This will guarantee that the deep down dirt and debris will be removed permanently.

Stairs

A lot of homes have stairs and they’re great the majority of the time. Unfortunately, stairs can also be problematic for a handful of reasons. For starters, trekking up and down the stairs frequently can really take a toll on your back and knees. Of course, the worst aspect of all is the fact that stairs can be tremendously difficult to clean.

A handful of different models can work exceptionally well for stairs. As long as all of the characteristics match up, an upright, cordless or handheld vacuum could suffice for this purpose. In order to obtain a great vacuum for stairs, you’ll want to select a vacuum that is lightweight.

Furnishing & Upholstery

Although these curtains and furniture are necessities for your home, they also present yet another item, which needs to be cleaned regularly.

First and foremost, you truly cannot beat a handheld in this category. Handhelds are lightweight, easily maneuverable and will be able to clean your furniture perfectly. The majority of these vacuums will also be equipped with lengthy hoses, which will make them ideal for curtains and blinds. The only problem is that handhelds aren’t great for cleaning under furniture. This is why an upright is a reliable alternative. Of course, you’ll need an upright, which delivers an extensive operating radius. A lengthy hose is pertinent.