Maintaining your home and neighbourhood

In general, Plumlife is responsible for maintaining the shared spaces and fittings on your development and you are responsible for maintaining your home.

If you have recently moved into a new-build home, please scroll down for more information about how this works and some of the help you can receive.

Below we have included some answers to frequently asked questions about maintenance to your home and development.

If you own your property, then Plumlife will be responsible for any shared parts of your development. This usually means shared or communal pathways, green areas or parking areas. It may also include street lighting and unadopted highways — roads that are not looked after by the local authority.

Any repairs that are needed to your home, both inside and outside, including to garden areas and boundary fencing are your responsibility. It does not matter whether you own 25% or 100% of the equity in your home, you are solely responsible for looking after the property.

Every development is different so it is worth checking your lease to see exactly what is expected of you and of Plumlife but in general, Plumlife is responsible for:

  • The roof
  • Outside walls and external decoration
  • Sewers and outside drains
  • Gutters, rainwater and shared soil pipes
  • Pathways, bin stores and drying areas
  • Walls and fences on the outside of the building
  • Communal stairways and hallways
  • Shared fixtures - such as lifts, aerials, fire alarms, door entry systems
  • Any other area or equipment that is shared on the development

Anything that is within your home is your responsibility to maintain this will usually include the glazing in your windows. Always check your lease if you are unsure.

If you are moving into a newly-built home there are a few things you need to know about repairs and maintenance.

Defects Period

In the first year after your home is built, the builder is responsible for fixing any repairs (not problems caused by wear and tear or damage caused by you, your family or visitors). This is called the Defects Period.

During this first year, you can report defects to our Repairs Team and they will get in touch with the builder for you.

At the end of that year, the builder will come around to inspect your home to see if everything is ok. They will agree what repairs they will carry out which have been identified during the inspection. Once these have been done all future repairs will become your responsibility.

You can find more information about how this process works and what is covered in our Defects Period leaflet.

Five Things You Need to Know

  1. Cracks - you may start to see 'settlement cracks' appearing in the first year after your home is built. These are usually completely normal but if you notice a crack that's wider than the thickness of a £1 coin, call our Repairs Team.
  2. Heating - your home will need to dry out over the next year. To help this process we would advise keeping your heating on a low, constant temperature. 'Blasting' the heating on and off can encourage cracking or condensation.
  3. Ventilation - to help your home dry out , try and ventilate it as much as possible. Use extractor fans and keep window vents open where you can.
  4. Decorating - please DO NOT decorate in your first year or change any fixtures or fittings (including light fittings). The builder may have used a light paint designed to let moisture out. If you start to change/add things, the builder will not be responsible for fixing any problems going forward.
  5. Home Owners' Manual - you will have been given this with the keys to your home. It is written specifically for your home and contains useful information about how things work. Keep this safe in case you need to check on anything in future.

You need to report repairs as soon as you can. We will then tell you whether it is Plumlife’s responsibility to arrange for the repair or if it is your responsibility.

If it is our responsibility we will need your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address. We will advise you as to whether the repair is an emergency or a non-urgent one.

An emergency repair is one that presents a risk or danger to your home or people including:

  • Gas leaks
  • Burst pipes
  • Security issues like a broken entrance door
  • Broken locks
  • Blocked drains
  • Power failures

All emergency repairs are responded to within four hours of them being reported.

A non-urgent repair is a minor problem that can be left for a short period of time including:

  • Replacement light bulbs
  • Problems with a communal TV aerial system
  • Door entry system issues
  • Damaged fence panels
  • Leaking gutters

For non-urgent repairs, we will arrange a time that is suitable for you for us to come and fix it. If it is a repair to communal areas, we will normally not need to bother you.

If work is going to cost more than £250 per leaseholder we have to carry out consultation before this can go ahead. This is a legal requirement to make sure that the work needs to be done, represents good value for money and that customers have been involved in the decision-making process. It is normally for major works such as a lift replacement, communal decoration or roof works.

During the process:

  • We will serve you with a Notice of Intent to carry out the work and outline what is going to happen. You will have 30 days to respond to this comment in writing before we start to get prices for the work.
  • We will then serve a Notice of Estimates. You will have 30 days to comment on the prices then we will review before we make a decision.
  • All leaseholders will receive a summary of the feedback we received and our responses to the feedback.

On some developments, Plumlife is responsible for maintaining communal areas and grounds.

We use contractors to do these jobs, including cutting the grass, weeding, tree works and clearing paths and car parks. Contractors attend developments on a regular basis to do this and you'll usually see them more frequently in summer, when grass and plants are growing more.

When a developer has built a large estate and sold some of the homes privately, a managing agent is often employed to look after the whole estate. The managing agent may not be Plumlife so if you are unsure about who this is, please check with your Property Manager.

Details of any work that is going to be carried out at your development — along with the name of the contractor and annual cost — can be found in your service charge budget or by asking your Property Manager.

Communal Areas

Plumlife will usually be responsible for looking after any communal areas — including shared hallways and corridors, bin stores and lifts.

We will arrange for regular cleaning in these areas arrange for re-decoration of internal and external communal areas every five years.

On some larger developments where Plumlife does not own the entire building and flats have been sold privately, the developer may have appointed a managing agent other than Plumlife. If you are unsure as to what services are provided then please contact your Property Manager.

If you want to make changes to your home, please check your lease first. You do not need permission to carry out simple changes such as re decoration but you may need permission to carry out anything more complicated which may alter the structure of your property. Permission for replacing your kitchen and bathroom is included in this.

If you’d like to make an alteration, please write to us with your plans. There will be a consent fee. Please see our administration fees.