Tenant Hardship Fund still available

Have you accumulated rent arrears because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Tenant Hardship Fund could clear some of the arrears. We are delighted to be able to announce that despite previously advertising that the fund would close at the end of March, we are now able to continue accepting applications.

You may be able to get limited financial help if you’re a social or private sector tenant in Angus who built up rent arrears between March 2020 and August 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You will need to apply for help and provide evidence that the pandemic affected your ability to pay rent.

How to apply?

Tenants who live in Angus can apply online.

As part of your application, you will need to provide details about:

  • your tenancy
  • your rent arrears
  • why the pandemic affected your ability to pay rent

You will also be asked to provide evidence of your income during the period. For example:

  • evidence of your income from employment (wageslips; a reduction in your income, such as furlough or reduced hours)
  • evidence of other income during the period (such as whether you were claiming benefits)
  • bank statements

Funding is limited and applicants must provide full evidence of their arrears and why the pandemic affected their ability to pay their rent.

To apply for funding, please use our online application form.

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COVID update for Housing Repairs and Improvements

Since 17 December 2021, following Scottish Government guidance, we have provided a restricted service for repairs and construction works.

We are pleased to advise that from 9:00 on Monday 31 January 2022, our full repairs and improvements services will return.

Reactive Repairs

A full repairs service including the Right to Repair will return from the above date.

How will this affect you?

There may be some delays for non-emergency repairs you report for the next 2-3 weeks, as your area contractor works through the backlog of repairs that we have received since mid-December 2021.

Essential Services Maintenance Work

Annual servicing of gas heating systems, electrical testing and upgrades to LD2 Smoke alarm systems are a statutory requirement that we are required to carry out by law. These works will continue as before, and as a tenant you must provide access to your property for these. 

Aids & Adaptations

This work will continue, although a case by case assessment may still be required with an individual’s support team.

What Planned Works will restart?

All planned works which have contractors appointed will return to full service. This includes

  • External Wall Insulation
  • External Repaints
  • Windows replacements
  • Any Internal Energy Efficiency works (including underfloor insulation, loft insulation and Internal Wall Insulation)
  • Electric Heating upgrades

Please be aware that we will continue to review these arrangements to ensure adherence with any future amendments to Scottish Government COVID-19 Guidance.

You should familiarise yourself with the current guidance so that you are clear as to what is expected of you before any contractor comes to your home.

Any further updates will be provided as government guidance develops.

Where can you get Lateral Flow Tests from?

Please follow the appropriate links below to find out the collection option easiest for you.

Collect LFD tests from your nearest coronavirus test site 

Find your nearest coronavirus test site where LFD tests can be collected 

You can collect up to two packs of seven tests per household, or up to four packs of seven tests if you’re collecting for multiple people. 

You can collect from coronavirus test sites between 8am and 8pm. You do not need to book an appointment. 

Collect LFD tests from your nearest pharmacy 

Find your nearest participating pharmacy 

You can collect one pack of seven LFD tests per person. If you’re collecting for a household, you can collect one pack for each household member. 

You do not need to book an appointment, but you should check opening times. 

Do not enter a pharmacy if you have coronavirus symptoms. Self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test instead. 

Order LFD tests to your home

You can order LFD tests to be sent to your home

Your order will contain one pack of seven LFD tests.  It’ll be delivered to your home in one to two days. You can order one pack per household per day.

If you’re ordering for another household as well as your own, you should:

  • complete a separate order
  • use their personal details

See the full NHS Guidance to find out how to obtain a test.

COVID update for Housing Repairs and Improvements

Since 17 December 2021, we have provided a reduced service in relation to repairs and improvements. Although there has been no significant change to the guidelines, here is an update on our services.

Reactive Repairs

Currently, we are carrying out only EMERGENCY repairs. This will be amended as follows from 9:00 Wednesday 12 January 2022.

Within homes – Emergency repairs only as detailed below will continue until further notice.

Common areas & external work – All repairs will be carried out as normal.

How will this affect you?

The changes will alter how we deliver your Repairs and Servicing Maintenance and the suspension of the Right to Repair continues.

What Emergency Repairs will be possible?

As during previous restrictions, we will only carry out certain emergency repairs to tenants’ properties.

The reduced list of emergency repairs which we will still do is:

  • Loss of heating and/or hot water – Total loss of both heating & hot water with no electric shower
  • Uncontainable leak
  • Sewage backing up and overflowing into the property
  • Serious security problem, such as a front door that cannot be locked
  • Loss of essential services, such as water or electricity.

All emergency repairs can be reported to the ACCESSLine on 03452 777 778. If your emergency repairs are about gas central heating then please phone WRB Gas on 01382 20 40 30.

Can Non-emergency Repairs still be reported?

Yes, please continue to report any non-emergency repairs to your home to allow these to be logged. Whilst these cannot be addressed right now, it will allow us and your repairs contractor to plan out all repairs and allocate them to the appropriate trade as soon as restrictions are eased.

Non-emergency repairs can be reported by phoning the ACCESSLine on 03452 777 778.

Will Services Maintenance work continue?

As we have done throughout previous lockdown periods, we will continue to carry out annual servicing of gas heating systems, electrical testing and upgrade to LD2 Smoke alarm systems. This is a statutory requirement that we are required to carry out by law and there is an obligation for you as a tenant to provide access. 

Will Aids & Adaptations continue?

Yes, this work is deemed essential to allow vulnerable individuals to remain in their homes and will continue. A case by case assessment may be required under discussion with the individuals support team.

Will Planned Works continue?

Some planned works will continue, below is a list detailing what will be suspended and what will go on as planned.

The following works are suspended in your homes

  • Kitchen upgrades
  • Bathroom upgrades
  • Electric Heating upgrades
  • Windows replacements
  • Any Internal Energy Efficiency works (including underfloor insulation, loft insulation and Internal Wall Insulation)

The following works will continue

  • External Wall Insulation
  • External Repaints

Please be aware that the above is under continual review to stay in line with any future amendments from Scottish Government Guidance in relation to COVID-19.

A further update will be provided as government guidance develops.

Where can you get Lateral Flow Tests from?

Please follow the appropriate links below to find out the collection option easiest for you.

Collect LFD tests from your nearest coronavirus test site 

Find your nearest coronavirus test site where LFD tests can be collected 

You can collect up to two packs of seven tests per household, or up to four packs of seven tests if you’re collecting for multiple people. 

You can collect from coronavirus test sites between 8am and 8pm. You do not need to book an appointment. 

Collect LFD tests from your nearest pharmacy 

Find your nearest participating pharmacy 

You can collect one pack of seven LFD tests per person. If you’re collecting for a household, you can collect one pack for each household member. 

You do not need to book an appointment, but you should check opening times. 

Do not enter a pharmacy if you have coronavirus symptoms. Self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test instead. 

Order LFD tests to your home

You can order LFD tests to be sent to your home

Your order will contain one pack of seven LFD tests.  It’ll be delivered to your home in one to two days. You can order one pack per household per day.

If you’re ordering for another household as well as your own, you should:

  • complete a separate order
  • use their personal details

See the full NHS Guidance to find out how to obtain a test.

COVID changes to the Housing Repairs Service

Please be aware that from 5 pm 23rd  December the Housing Repairs Service will be moving to EMERGENCY repairs only.

Angus Council has made this decision because of the Scottish Government Guidance as updated on 17 December 2021. This is under continual review to stay in line with any future amendments from Scottish Government Guidance in relation to COVID-19.

How will this affect you?

The changes will alter how we deliver your Repairs and Servicing Maintenance and have resulted in the Right to Repair once again being suspended.

What Emergency Repairs will be possible?

As during previous restrictions, we will only carry out certain emergency repairs to tenants’ properties.

The reduced list of emergency repairs which we will still do is:

  • Loss of heating and/or hot water – Total loss of both heating & hot water with no electric shower
  • Uncontainable leak
  • Sewage backing up and overflowing into the property
  • Serious security problem, such as a front door that cannot be locked
  • Loss of essential services, such as water or electricity.

All emergency repairs can be reported to the ACCESSLine on 03452 777 778.

If your emergency repairs are about gas central heating then please phone WRB Gas on 01382 20 40 30.

Can Non-emergency Repairs still be reported?

Yes, please continue to report any non-emergency repairs to your home to allow these to be logged. Whilst these cannot be addressed right now, it will allow us and your repairs contractor to plan out all repairs and allocate them to the appropriate trade as soon as restrictions are eased.

Non-emergency repairs can be reported by phoning the ACCESSLine on 03452 777 778.

Will Services Maintenance work continue?

We will continue to carry out annual servicing of gas heating systems, electrical testing and upgrade to LD2 Smoke alarm systems. This is a statutory requirement that we are required to carry out by law and there is an obligation for you as a tenant to provide access.

We appreciate that the ongoing COVID restrictions are challenging for us all, tenants and officers, however, we take a zero-tolerance approach to abuse of officers who are complying with government guidance – abuse towards our officers will not be tolerated.

The guidance advises that a contractor should undertake a daily lateral flow test (for your safety). It is also advised that residents undertake one prior to the contractor entering their home and, whilst it is appreciated that you may not have time to undertake one in an emergency situation, for your own safety we would advise tests be taken if you have them available and there is sufficient time.

Will Planned Works continue?

Yes, Planned Works in your homes will continue after the Holiday period however this will be subject to regular assessment in line with any change to Government Guidance.

Here is a list of these works:

· Bathroom upgrades

· Kitchen upgrades

· Energy Efficiency works

· Electric Heating Upgrades

· Window Upgrades

· External Repaints

Further Guidance on required testing will be issued Friday 07 January 2022 as a specific piece of guidance relating to planned works.

Where can you get Lateral Flow Tests from?

Please follow the appropriate links below to find out the collection option easiest for you.

Collect LFD tests from your nearest coronavirus test site

Find your nearest coronavirus test site where LFD tests can be collected

You can collect up to two packs of seven tests per household, or up to four packs of seven tests if you’re collecting for multiple people.

You can collect from coronavirus test sites between 8am and 8pm. You do not need to book an appointment.

Collect LFD tests from your nearest pharmacy

Find your nearest participating pharmacy

You can collect one pack of seven LFD tests per person. If you’re collecting for a household, you can collect one pack for each household member.

You do not need to book an appointment, but you should check opening times.

Do not enter a pharmacy if you have coronavirus symptoms. Self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test instead.

Order LFD tests to your home

You can order LFD tests to be sent to your home.

Your order will contain one pack of seven LFD tests. It’ll be delivered to your home in one to two days. You can order one pack per household per day.

If you’re ordering for another household as well as your own, you should:

· complete a separate order

· use their personal details

See the full NHS Guidance to find out how to obtain a test.

Housing Services Update due to Omicron

As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread, the Scottish Government has issued new guidance to keep businesses and services open and protect against pressure on health services.

The safety of our workforce, tenants, and wider communities is an absolute priority at this time, as it has been throughout the pandemic response.

We’ll be working to the Safer Businesses and Workplaces Guidance and Managing Services guidance.

You may notice some changes to our services, and these are outlined below:

Repairs: From 5 pm 23rd December, we’ll only be carrying out emergency repairs on Council properties. Annual gas safety inspections are unchanged.

Estate Management: Our officers will not be entering tenants’ houses unless it is essential, but can carry out face-to-face visits on the doorstep.

We’ll be encouraging staff to test twice weekly. Officers working in people’s homes should also take a Lateral Flow test beforehand and we ask that, wherever possible, tenants do the same.

This is in addition to the existing principles of ensuring use of face masks; good ventilation (e.g. opening windows where possible) and continuing to practice safe physical distancing (e.g. by staying in different rooms or different areas of the building).

Our staff will be working from home if they can do so.

Please bear with us at this difficult time – we will give further updates as things change.

COVID-19 related rent arrears

Our Private Sector Team is looking to speak with Angus Registered Landlords who have tenant or tenants that have built up rent arrears between March 2020 and August 2021 as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The team may be able to offer assistance and invite you to contact them at PRSenquiries@angus.gov.uk for further information.

Housing Repairs – COVID-19 Update April 2021

In line with the Scottish Government’s guidance on easing lockdown restrictions, we have been working closely with the repairs contractor in your area to make sure a measured approach has been taken to restarting provision of repairs within your home.

A full repairs service will recommence 26th April 2021.

We would ask you to be mindful that there is a backlog of reported repairs that also needs to be addressed within tenanted homes and this may result in some delay with lower priority repairs. If you have reported a repair during lockdown there is no need to report this a second time as you will be contacted by your Housing Officer prior to the contractor contacting you to arrange a suitable time to attend.

Should you need to report a new repair please call ACCESSLINE on 03452 777 778.

We will keep our approach under regular review and provide updates as the guidance from the Scottish Government develops.  Please keep an eye on the Housing Blog and our website for further updates.

You can find NHS advice on the NHS Coronavirus COVID 19 website –– the main symptoms of the coronavirus include;

  • A new, continuous, dry cough                                                                                       
  • A high temperature
  • Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

     

We appreciate your co-operation at this time and hope you find this information useful, but if you have any queries about repairs, please contact your local Housing Team.

Below are documents that we hope will reassure you on the repairs process itself as well as providing guidance on your and our contractors’ responsibilities.

Housing Planned Maintenance – COVID-19 Update April 2021

In line with the Scottish Government’s guidance on easing of lockdown restrictions, we have been working closely with contractors to make sure a measured approach has been taken to restarting planned maintenance work for tenants in our properties.

The following planned maintenance contracts will restart in the weeks following 26 April 2021;

•    Bathroom Replacements

•    Kitchen Replacements

•    Energy Efficiency Works

•    Window Replacements

•    Electrical Testing

•    Electric Heating Upgrades

•    Smoke Alarm and Heat Detection Upgrades

Where tenants had already been notified of planned works pre-lockdown the relevant contractor will be in touch to arrange installation or survey visits whilst also advising of new processes which have been put in place for everyone’s safety.

If your home is included in a new contract you will receive a letter from us as well as the appointed contractor to advise of works planned and the processes related to that contract.

Please be aware that some contractors are starting to get in touch with our tenants now to confirm start dates for works, design visits, safety checks to enable external works to start etc. If you unsure about any of this please get in touch with the Housing Technical team.

As we have done throughout the lockdown period, we will continue to carry out annual servicing of gas heating systems as we are required to do by law.

We will keep our approach under regular review and provide updates as the guidance from the Scottish Government develops. Please keep an eye on the Housing Blog and our website for further updates.

You can find NHS advice on the NHS Coronavirus COVID 19 website –– the main symptoms of the coronavirus include;

•    A new, continuous, dry cough

•    A high temperature

•    Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

We appreciate your co-operation at this time and hope you find this information useful, but if you have any queries about this post, please contact us by emailing HousingTechnical@angus.gov.uk

New Responsive Repairs and Voids Contract for our Housing Service

We have a new Responsive Repairs and Voids Contract which begins on 1 April and aims to improve the service that tenants currently receive. It is a three-year contract to March 2024 and could be extended further to 2026.

Following a contract tender in late 2020, the successful contractors are Derek McNulty Joinery & Building Contractors, for the Arbroath, Carnoustie & Monifieth areas, and MPS Housing Ltd for the Montrose, Brechin, Forfar and Kirriemuir areas.

What to expect from our Contractors?

Works will include day-to-day repairs, maintenance and minor works to our housing stock, including common areas, garages, and external areas. The contractors will provide a 24-hour service every day of the year, including public holidays. The contractors will also carry out works to our void or empty properties when there are changes of tenancy.

During normal working hours (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm) we will have dedicated housing repairs call handlers based within our Contact Centre. An Emergency repairs service will be provided outwith normal working hours (Monday to Friday 5pm to 8.30am) at weekends and during public holidays. To report repairs, whether during the working day or outwith working hours call 03452 777 778.

Tenants can make response repair appointments between 8.30am to 7.30pm Monday to Thursday; from 8.30am to 5pm on Fridays; and on Saturday mornings between 9am and 12 noon. The contractor will arrange an appointment to suit that allows the repair to be completed within the allocated time.

The contractors will work under a code of conduct and we will monitor compliance and standards of work through tenant satisfaction surveys and inspections.

COVID-19 restrictions

Due to coronavirus restrictions, we can only carry out emergency repairs at this time and until further notice.

This situation is being continuously monitored to allow for a return to a full service as soon as restrictions are lifted. COVID-19 restrictions have resulted in a significant backlog of repairs and our contractors will work through them as a priority. However, if you have an issue with your home, and haven’t already reported it, then please let us know by contacting ACCESSLine on 03452 777 778.

We cannot give timescales for when these repairs can be carried out, but we will make contact at the earliest opportunity to arrange a suitable date when national restrictions are eased.

 

£4 million Home Heating Support Fund launched

The Scottish Government has launched a £4 million support fund to help people struggling with their energy bills during the coronavirus lockdown.

The scheme, which will be administered by national advice service  Advice Direct Scotland, is designed to prevent households falling into fuel poverty.

The Home Heating Support Fund is open until March 31 and applications can only be made on behalf of individuals by ‘referral partners’.

The referral partner for Angus residents is Save Cash and Reduce Fuel (SCARF) and their Angus Home Energy Advice Team (HEAT Team). Their expert debt advisers will assess eligibility and apply for funding on the individual’s behalf if appropriate.

Targeted funding will reflect each individual’s circumstances, with extra support available for households where one person is over 75, they rely on electric heating, or live in a remote or island community.

Eligibility is based on households which are ‘self-rationing’ their energy, meaning those who are deliberately limiting their energy use so that they can afford to spend money on other goods or services. This could be as a result of home-working or home-schooling due to the pandemic. Any households which are ‘off-supply’ are not eligible for the fund, and should seek support from their energy supplier or organisations which can refer them to the Fuel Bank Foundation.

For more information and to check your eligibility, call HEAT Team on 0808 129 0888