Repairs & Maintenance
Book a repair
Manage your repair
Report your repairs online
Unitas is committed to resolving property repairs quickly and efficiently, therefore we have invested in a new portal that allows our customers to report their repairs online and select an appointment date and time that is convenient for them. The portal is accessible 24/7 and means that customers don’t have to call our contact centre.
There are certain repairs which you, as our customer, are responsible for the repair and maintenance of, we have included a list of these below to assist you:
- Bayonet fittings and flexible hoses on cookers
- Door bells
- Door numbers – secure these if they come loose
- Fences – we will decide whether to install new or replacement fences based on our repairs policy. (If it does not meet our policy, you will be responsible for repairing or replacing them.)
- Floor coverings, including vinyl, carpets and laminates
- Gates (we will repair existing gates and posts installed by us, in line with our policy, but latches and bolts are your responsibility)
- You must maintain your own garden, unless it is a communal garden
- If you or someone in your home breaks glass in a window or door, you must replace this
- Kitchen appliances
- Light bulbs (inside and outside, such as security lights)
- Light fittings and bayonets which you have installed, except sealed light units in bathrooms and shower rooms
- Lost keys and replacement locks
- Painting and decorations inside your home
- Plastering any hairline cracks which can easily be filled
- Plugs and chains in sinks, washbasins and baths
- Taps or fittings you install yourself
- Shelves installed by you
- Showers, unless it was fitted by us
- Batteries in the smoke detectors
- Toilet seat
- Television aerials and sockets, unless it is a shared aerial or communal system
- Washing lines
- Wasp nests – contact pest control at the city council
- Wiring any electrical fittings you install
- Switches and sockets you wire or install (if we find they are dangerous, they will be removed or disconnected and left safe)
Unitas and Stoke-on-Trent City Council will charge tenants for repairs due to wilful neglect and damage. For more information and details of these repairs and associated charges, please contact Unitas using the Contact Us form at the bottom of this page.
- No work must be carried out without our permission
- Work must not be left unfinished or partly-finished
- You must make sure you have enough money to complete the work
- All work must be carried out to a standard and specification we agree with you. Changing the agreed work could mean you are in breach of your tenancy and the property having to be returned to its original state at your cost
- The work must be carried out within three months of us giving permission, regardless of any financial issues. Not doing this could mean you are in breach of your tenancy and the property has to be returned to its original state at your cost
- If the work needs planning permission or approval from building control, you must pay the fees to the appropriate department
- Electrical and gas work must be carried out by a competent electrician registered to a professional scheme. You must give us the name of the electrician or gas worker, the name of the professional body they belong to and their membership number, before the work is carried out
- Once the work you’re hoping to carry out has been assigned to a surveyor, you will receive a call within five working days to discuss your tenant improvement and to arrange an appointment. This surveyor will be assigned to your case from the start of the works, through to the end.
- The surveyor will tell you if it is likely that building control or planning approval is needed.
- The surveyor will tell you if it is likely you need water, gas or electricity supplier’s approval or involvement.
- If you do, it will be down to you to contact the appropriate supplier.
- You must also get a letter from the supplier confirming if their approval or involvement is not needed, or showing they have agreed to the work.
- If the supplier’s involvement is required (altering service location) you must provide a receipt to the surveyor before any other works is carried out.
- The surveyor will tell you if any alterations to your proposed works will result in them being accepted. If the tenant improvement has been refused based on other grounds then you could submit a complaint and the complaints team will look into the matter.
- Unitas does not have the finances available to help towards the cost of the tenant improvement or the available resource to complete the works.
- We will not recommend any tradesman. It is down to you to appoint an appropriate tradesman to complete the job.
- Any repairs needed because of your improvement must be carried out by you. Unitas will not carry out any repairs to your improvement.
- If work is not completed to a good standard, you must either have them altered or the property returned to its original condition.
- Any extra costs must be paid for by you.
The following works are not allowed.
- Cat flaps are not allowed to be installed in any kind of door.
- You are not allowed to install televisions on a flue above a gas or electric fire. Fitting a television above any heat source can cause overheating.
- Chimney breast removals are not allowed and must not be carried out under any circumstances.
Additionally, the following works are not allowed at any of our high rise and medium-rise flats:
- Structural alterations
- Replacement of windows
- Replacement of front and lobby doors
- Installation of satellite dishes and aerials
Asbestos was used in building materials mainly in the 1950s to 1980s because it is good at insulating and is resistant to fire and heat.
Although the mention of asbestos tends to alarm people, it usually only becomes dangerous when it gets damaged because the fibres it is made from can cause lung disease.
Asbestos can be found in:
- roof or garage tiles
- guttering, downpipes and fascia boards
- textured (Artex) ceilings
- floor tiles
- panels behind fires and heaters, electrical equipment, around boilers, beneath windows and in partition walls
- gaskets and rope seals inside gas appliances
We have a management plan for dealing with asbestos in our homes, depending on where it is and the condition it’s in. Sometimes we leave the material in place and keep an eye on its condition.
Sometimes – especially if we are doing a big piece of work on your home – we will remove materials with asbestos in them and get rid of them. The new material we use to replace them will not have any asbestos in.
You must get our permission before you do any DIY work or improvements so we can tell you if there are any potential problems with asbestos in your home.
Mould spores are invisible to the human eye but are always present in the atmosphere, both inside and outside homes.
They only become noticeable when they land on a surface upon which they can grow and multiply.
For mould to thrive and survive it needs four things:
- moisture from condensation
- food, such as wallpaper or paint
- suitable temperature, thanks to you
- oxygen, thanks to Mother Nature
Black mould can grow on walls, ceilings, furniture, and even clothes and toys, which can be depressing and expensive.
To kill and remove the mould:
- carefully remove excess mould with a damp cloth and throw it away afterwards. Or, if possible, use a vacuum cleaner and empty it afterwards. Do not brush mould as this releases the spores into the air
- wipe down affected areas using a fungicidal wash or diluted bleach. Remember to always use rubber gloves and wear safety glasses.
- Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and disinfectant, but it’s also great for cleaning – especially on mould or mildew. Try a dilution of three or four drops of tea tree oil in two litres of hot or cold water. Soak mildewed items in the solution or spray on to trouble spots using a plant mister. Wipe, then rinse off. Always make sure you carry out a test on a small area of the fabric, material or surface first
- after treatment, redecorate using a fungicidal paint or wallpaper paste – do not paint over using an ordinary paint
- dry clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets
Make sure you know where your stop tap is before you need to use it – it is normally under your kitchen sink or in an out-building.
Find out where any isolator valves are. These look like washing machine taps but have a slot in which is used to turn them on and off with a screwdriver or coin. You can normally see them on the supply pipe leading to a sink, bath or cistern.
If you have a burst pipe:
- try to catch the leak in a bowl or other container
- turn off your stop tap – this can save a lot of time, expense and damage
- call the repair line on 01782 234100 immediately. We will arrange for an emergency plumber to repair the leak
If there is a lot of flood damage, we can arrange to have your home dried out.
If your home is not suitable to live in and you have nowhere else to stay, we will try to provide you with temporary accommodation.
Do not put these things down your drains, plugholes or toilets:
- food waste
- used nappies
- baby wipes or make-up wipes
- face cleaners
- cotton buds
Check the gullies and gutters which take rainwater away from your home regularly to make sure they do not have rubbish or moss in, as well as any pipes which take waste water away from your washing machine.
Blocked drains in sinks and baths can easily become frozen, making it impossible for water to pass through the pipes.
If this happens, try pouring some salt down the plughole or drain and wait 15 minutes before trying again.
Salt is very good at melting ice.
If this doesn’t work, try pouring hot (not boiling) water directly into the plughole after the salt has had two or three failed attempts.
Severn Trent Water
Find out more about what to do if your drains are blocked and how you can save water.
Who is responsible?
The diagram below shows who is responsible for drains when you experience a blockage or drain issue.
All drainage pipes outside property boundaries are the responsibility of Severn Trent Water (in red below).
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is responsible for the drains within the boundary of your home (in purple below).
Where there is a council property sharing a drain with a private property, Severn Trent Water is responsible downstream of where the two properties connect (in red below).
You can call Severn Trent Water to log a call on 0800 783 4444, and Severn Trent will advise if the drain is their responsibility or the city council’s.
You can also call our repair line.
To help you to stay safe:
- make sure plug sockets are not overloaded
- make sure plugs and sockets are not damaged
- check all the cables and leads you can see are in good condition
- check your light fittings do not look damaged
- check you are not storying things that could catch fire around your fuse box, electricity meter or electrical intake
- don’t store things on top of the microwave
- don’t run cables under carpets or rugs
- never take mains-powered electrical items into the bathroom
- always switch off your electrical items when they are not in use
About 200 people die in accidental fires in their home each year, and not having a working smoke alarm in your home makes it four times more likely you will die in a fire. Faulty electrics, including appliances, wiring and overloaded sockets, cause around 6,000 fires in homes every year and two fires a day are started by candles.
We provide smoke alarms and test them every year but you are personally responsible for making sure they continue to work. You should test your smoke alarms every month and they are faulty, tell us immediately.
Be careful with electrics. Avoid overloading sockets and keep it to only one plug per socket.
Use a proper adaptor if you are using an electrical appliance not originally from the UK. Never put two-prong plugs into three-prong sockets.
Don’t use heaters for drying clothes and keep them a safe distance away to avoid them catching fire.
Tell us immediately if you are worried about the electrics in your home and especially if you notice burn marks around plugs or cables.
Don’t fix faulty electrics yourself. Tell us or contact a qualified electrician.
Candles and cigarettes
Make sure cigarettes are put out properly after you have finished with them.
Be extra careful if you have been drinking alcohol or taking medication which can make you drowsy.
Be careful with candles and tealights. Don’t put them on or near things which could burn or catch fire, such as curtains.
Plan your escape from a fire
Plan an escape route and make sure everyone knows how to escape if there is a fire. It could save your life.
Work out where the fire exits and alarms are if you live in a high-rise building.
Count how many doors you might need to go through to escape. It can be hard to see in smoke and you might become confused about where you are.
Keep all exits clear – including communal areas used by all tenants.
Keep fire doors closed. They help to slow down the speed at which fire spreads and will give you extra time to get out.
Keep door and window keys where everyone can find them.
It is a good idea to have a spare key cut in case you lose your house keys.
You could leave a spare key with a neighbour or family member you trust, in case there is an emergency.
We do not keep spare keys to your home and we are not responsible if you lose your keys.
If we need to replace the locks to your home, there will be a charge to you.
Insulating your home will help to keep it warm and save money on your heating bills:
- insulate the loft up to a depth of ten inches (25cm)
- consider secondary or double glazing
- consider cavity wall insulation
- draught-proof windows and external doors. When draught-proofing, do not block permanent ventilators or rooms requiring ventilation
There are several organisations which can tell you if you are eligible for a grant to help to insulate your home