Out of hours emergencies

Situations treated as emergencies

We ask you to remember that we only consider an emergency to be:

  • A serious threat to your health and safety, such as a gas leak or dangerous electrical fault
  • Major damage to the structure of the building
  • A serious property related security problem not including lost keys
  • Total prolonged loss of essential service, such as gas, water or electricity that results in a serious impact to immediate health or safety of house occupants
  • You are homeless tonight due to not having suitable accommodation available for your occupation

We will help you through the process of dealing with an emergency and call an operative to assist where applicable.

If a contractor is sent to your house to deal with an emergency repair, they will make the situation safe and we will contact you about any follow-up work if required.

Please Note: If we find that the severity of an incident/repair has been exaggerated by a tenant in order to get a response out of normal business hours, you will normally be charged the cost of an emergency call-out which is a minimum of £50.

On this page:

Please DO NOT post emergencies on social media, call us on 0300 1234 161

Fire and storm damage

We will make your property safe after fire or storm damage, when it is safe for us to do so.

Heating hot water and gas

Please check with the appropriate utility supplier before contacting us to find out if there is a problem in the area.

  • South West Water
    General enquiries - 0344 346 1010
    Emergencies - 0344 346 2020
  • Western Power
    General enquiries - 0800 678 3080
    Emergencies - 0800 678 3105
  • National Grid will be able to tell you who supplies your gas
    General enquiries - 0800 688 588
    Emergencies - 0800 111 999

Total loss of heating and hot water between 1 November and 30 April will be treated as an emergency.

Total loss of heating and hot water between 1 May and 31 October will be responded to within three working days.

Please note, we do not treat loss of heating or hot water as an emergency unless;

  • you are elderly or disabled,
  • have small children or people living with you that could be at risk,
  • if you have no other form of heat in the property e.g. if a boiler fails and there is no gas or electric fire in the property.

If a boiler cannot be repaired, temporary electric fan heaters will be provided. Cornwall Housing Ltd does not permit the use of portable LPG/paraffin cabinet heaters, or equipment designed to be used outdoors such as patio heaters and camping stoves.

If your hot water fails, we will not respond as an emergency unless there is a specific health requirement.

Gas leaks / Carbon Monoxide alarm

If you smell gas, please telephone Wales and West on 0800 111999 who will attend to isolate the meter and make safe where necessary. If this results in a lack of heating, it will be dealt with as above (see 'Heating and hot water'). You will need to give us this information when you phone.

What to do if the alarm sounds?

  • Open all doors and windows to ventilate the area and allow any carbon monoxide to disperse
  • Where possible turn off all fuel burning appliances
  • Leave the property and make sure everyone is out in the fresh air
  • If you have mains gas call the Gas Emergency Services number 0800 111 999
  • Do not re-enter the premises until the alarm has stopped
  • If anyone is suffering from the effects of CO poisoning such as headaches, feeling dizzy, nauseous or feeling sick seek urgent medical attention – call 999
  • Do not use the fuel burning appliances until they have been checked for use by a competent, qualified engineer.
  • Contact Cornwall Housing on 0300 1234 161

If the alarm is bleeping as opposed to a constant sounding it is most likely a fault so call Cornwall Housing on 0300 1234 161


You should always have the use of one toilet. If your toilet, septic tank, drain, stack pipe or kitchen sink is blocked, we will clear the blockage. Please note that, if the blockage is due to your actions or negligence, you will be charged for the repair and the cost of the emergency call out.

Plumbing leaks

Where a leak is minor and can be contained, this includes a leak from heating pipes, tanks or cisterns, no attendance will be made as an emergency. If the leak is serious causing damage due to burst pipes and overflow then it will be considered an emergency - especially if penetrating into an electrical fitting. In the interim you should turn off your water supply at your stopcock or gate valve. When we visit we will make safe and check electrics following a leak directly affecting fittings.

Downpipes and gutters

We will deal with this as an emergency only if water is entering the building causing major damage or the loose part is dangerous.

Total lack of water supply

Before contacting us, please check with the water utility company to ensure that works are not being carried out in the area.

Roof leaks or other damage

This will be attended to only when the damage to the roof is likely to worsen or when it is hazardous (e.g. roof tiles may fall on to a public highway), or there is a serious leak that may affect the stability of the building and safety of tenants. We will only make the roof safe when it is safe for us to do so and arrange any ongoing repairs for a later date.

Lack of power supply and lighting

We will attend to this as an emergency when there is a total loss of power to sockets throughout your home - please check with the supplier before contacting us.

Power loss to lighting circuits will be attended to only if you have no lights to a kitchen, or bathroom without windows or staircases (including communal).

Insecure property

We will board up and make safe or secure ground-floor window/s or a window which is next to a walkway or balcony used by people other than you, where there may be a security risk. If the damage is due to an accident or negligence you will be charged for the repair and the cost of the emergency call out.

Where the damage is caused as a result of a crime, please notify the local police using telephone number 101 who will supply you with a crime number, which we will need for our records. We will make safe and secure at the emergency visit and make a further appointment to re-glaze.

Please note that if you are locked out because your keys have been lost or stolen or left in the property you will need to contact a locksmith and pay for their services as this is your responsibility.