Housing Services – Level 4 update

From 26 December Angus will move to Level 4 of COVID-19 restrictions.

The changes will mainly affect our repairs service. We will only accept new emergency repairs in occupied properties, and this includes:

•    loss of heating and/or hot water – Total loss of both heating & hot water with no electric shower

•    an uncontainable leak

•    sewage backing up and overflowing into the property

•    a serious security problem, such as a front door that cannot be locked

•    loss of essential services, such as water or electricity

The Right to Repair will be suspended.

When you contact ACCESSline on 03452 777 778 to report a repair, we will ask you the following questions to help us determine how best to protect against the spread of the virus:

1.    Do you currently have any symptoms of coronavirus? (new cough, high temperature, loss of smell or taste)

2.    Has anyone you work or socialise with closely had coronavirus within the last 14 days?

3.    Are you in a vulnerable or shielding group as identified in government guidance?

We will then:

1.    Assess the repair required and if it is classed as emergency, your repair will be processed in the normal way.

2.    If your repair is not classed as Emergency, we will not carry out the repair at this time. As before your housing officer will keep note of your routine repair.

3.    Please be advised that contractors will have to wear specialised personal protective equipment while in your property.

If you’ve already reported a repair, and it hasn’t been completed by Christmas Eve, then it will be on hold until the restrictions are relaxed again.

If you are reporting a gas repair to WRB directly you will be asked the same questions to allow them to assess how they will deal with your repair.

When we are able to deal with routine repairs again, we will post an update here.

If you report a repair to us, we will assume that we have your permission for our contractor to carry it out if they can.

Planned Maintenance

Many of our planned works, examples listed below, were due to restart on 5 January 2021, but this is no longer the case and we will contact tenants who have been given installation dates to advise of this and advise a new date when contractors return in the New Year.

•    Bathroom Upgrades

•    Kitchen Upgrades

•    Planned Heating Upgrades

•    Window Upgrades

•    Energy Efficiency Internal Works (including the ABS and ECO Flex schemes)

External works such as External Wall Insulation will restart as planned.

Other Services

Allocations – House moves to empty properties are unaffected. We will be offering tenancies as normal, and applicants can register and bid for properties at the Angus Homefinder site.

Homelessness – We will have very limited access to accommodation for callers who have nowhere to stay. We would encourage people not to travel or move between different restricted levels areas and to follow the government guidance.

Sheltered Housing

Sheltered lounges remain closed for the time being.

Fire Alarm Servicing is a requirement, and this work will go ahead where tenants have been notified and are comfortable with contractors working in their home.

Communal Areas: there are some planned works to carry out improvements to some lifts which includes a temporary stairlift installation. This work will go ahead, and we would ask that you use social distancing in the areas of this work.

Estate management – Housing and antisocial behaviour officers will continue to contact customers mainly by telephone. Home visits will be the exception and mainly limited to doorsteps only.

We appreciate that this enforced change is frustrating. Our team is working really hard to provide support for you, but our resources are fully stretched at the moment. Our officers are doing their best to deliver as much of our normal service as they can, whilst also taking on additional activities related to the COVID Emergency response. Thank you for your patience and understanding in this difficult period.

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COVID-19 Repairs Update – Draft Health and Safety Guidance Leaflet

In our post of 9 July, we advised that we were developing a Tenant Repairs Health and Safety Guidance leaflet. We shared the draft with our tenant participation panel and are awaiting comments, but we wanted to share the first version at the earliest opportunity ahead of the repairs restart.

You can view the leaflet here.

We will revise the guidance as we receive comments to ensure it reflects any concerns, and we will continue to provide updates on any developments relating to the repairs restart to make sure you are kept fully informed.

 Thank you for continuing to help us deliver a safe and efficient service.

 

 

Have Your Say on Our New Tenant Repairs Health & Safety Guidance leaflet

In our post on 30 June, we advised that we are working on a Health and Safety risk assessment for repairs in tenants’ homes. This is an important part of keeping our tenants, staff and contractors safe.

As a result of this, on Monday 13 July we will seek comments on our draft Tenant Repairs Health & Safety Guidance leaflet through the tenant participation process.

If you have registered to take part in tenant participation consultations, we would welcome your comments as they will be a valued contribution to the safe operation of repairs work in all our tenants’ homes.

If you have not yet registered for tenant participation and want to comment, please email  TenantParticipation@angus.gov.uk and we will do our best to register you in time for the document consultation.  

Keep an eye on your mailboxes!

 

Coronavirus – Information for private landlords and letting agents

On Monday, 29 June the Scottish Government updated coronavirus guidance for private landlords and letting agents to reflect the move to Phase 2 of their route map to recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak.

The guidance contains the latest information about COVID-19 and support available for private-sector tenants and landlords who may find themselves in financial difficulty due to the virus.

From 29 June, all home moves are allowed, provided they can be carried out safely.  This includes students moving home and other home moves resulting in two households merging. It also applies to custom and self-builders looking to acquire a plot or a property to renovate or to demolish. The Scottish Government guidance on moving home provides advice on how to do this. This guidance contains advice to ensure that moving home in any tenure and supporting activities, such as viewing property, can happen safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Scotland.

 

Housing Repairs – update

In our post on Wednesday 24 June, we said we were looking at how we can deliver a full repairs service within the appropriate COVID-19 guidance. We intend to restart all types of repairs from Monday 20 July 2020. Until this time we will continue to do emergency repairs only.

As a result of the lockdown, there is a backlog of repairs so initially no calls will be taken for new repairs. A full service accepting new repair calls will start on Monday 10 August 2020.

If you currently have an incomplete repair logged your housing officer will contact you within the next week to review the status of this.

As your safety continues to be our priority, we are developing a tenant-specific Health and Safety risk assessment for any works to be carried out in your home.

If you have registered to take part in tenant participation consultations, we will contact you and give you the opportunity to engage in this exercise. There will be more information on this in next week’s post.

Our Housing Spokesperson, Councillor Craig Fotheringham said:

We want to thank everyone for their continued support and understanding. We will continue to provide weekly updates on the repairs restart and  we hope that our customers can work with us  to help us deliver a safe and efficient service.

Housing Repairs – COVID 19 Update

National restrictions and guidelines introduced as part of the necessary response to the COVID-19 pandemic meant that we could only carry out emergency repairs inside tenants’ homes. We also suspended the Right to Repair.

This was to ensure the safety of tenants, staff, contractors and the wider public. We know it has been a difficult time for all and would like to thank everyone for their patience.

Scottish Government announced the move to Phase 2 of their Route Map out of lockdown on the 18 June, signalling the start of restrictions easing.

We want to restart the repairs service as soon as we possibly can and will advise when we are able to do this. For now, we continue to do emergency repairs only.

We are looking at how we can deliver routine external repairs within current guidance and hope to start these shortly. You may see our staff carrying out Estate inspections as part of this process.

We are also considering which routine repairs can be delivered safely in tenants’ homes as we move through Phase 2 and into Phase 3 of the Government’s routemap.

For this to be possible, we must consider the views of our contractors. We will also listen to tenant views about whether they would be happy for maintenance activities to be carried out. If tenants report repairs to us, we will assume we have permission for our contractor to carry it out, if they can.

Thank you for your understanding while we review the repairs service. We will post weekly updates here and on our News website.

      Please be assured that tenant safety remains our priority.

 

Housing Planned Maintenance – COVID-19 Update

In line with the Scottish Government’s guidance on the phased easing of lockdown restrictions, our contractors will soon start carrying out some maintenance Council housing.

These works will include the following;

  • Emergency works
  • Essential planned maintenance work including planning and site-preparation, which are allowed during the first stage.  Initially, this will include some external survey works by contractors, and tenants will be notified in advance of these starting in each area.

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 have been working closely with our contractors to ensure a measured approach is taken to restarting works, which will be reviewed and updated regularly as the guidance from Scottish Government develops. Please check the Housing Blog and our website for further updates.

NHS advice can be found 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 do not hesitate to contact us by email to HousingTechnical@angus.gov.uk

Help for People Affected by Domestic Abuse

If you are experiencing domestic abuse help is available. Don’t delay in seeking help during the lockdown.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is not always physical violence. It can also include, but is not limited to:

  • coercive control and ‘gaslighting’
  • economic abuse
  • online abuse
  • verbal abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • sexual abuse

What signs to look for:

If you believe that you or someone else could be a victim of domestic abuse, there are signs that you can look out for, including:

  • being withdrawn
  • having bruises
  • someone else controlling their finances
  • not being allowed to leave the house
  • monitoring technology use such as social media platforms

 Where to get help ?

Don’t delay in getting help or reporting domestic abuse because of the coronavirus situation.

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Call the 24-hour Domestic Abuse Helpline in confidence on 0800 027 1234 or visit the Safer Scotland website

If it is an emergency, always dial 999 and ask for the Police.

For links to services in Angus visit our website

SMS 999 text system

People who are Deaf, hard of hearing or have issues communicating verbally can use the SMS 999 text system (you must register for this service).

For non-emergency use dial 101. Members of the deaf community can use the Contact Scotland facility. You can find the online form on the Scotland Police website.

If you are behaving in an abusive or harmful way please call Justice Services in confidence on 07920284216 and we will work with you to make positive changes.

 

Wellbeing Fund to help Voluntary Organisations support people affected by coronavirus

The Wellbeing Fund is now open for applications.

Fund aims

The Wellbeing Fund aims to support organisations across the third sector that are providing important services to people who are most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

This round of funding opened for applications on 8 May 2020. To be considered for funding, applications must be received by noon on 22 May 2020.

What is funding available for?

The Wellbeing Fund is focused on providing funding to organisations that can support people who are facing additional barriers or have increased requirements as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. It can fund both immediate and emerging forms of support, from now up to the end of July 2020, reflecting that the context for people and communities may change over that time.

Application process

Complete the online application form and return it along with any requested supporting documents before noon on Friday 22 May 2020.

More detail and full eligibility criteria is available on the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) website

Further information

For any additional support or any further questions before applying, please email wellbeingfund@scvo.org.uk.

 

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Advice for Private Rented Tenants from Under One Roof

We understand things are difficult for everyone at the moment, but there are particular challenges for those living in private rented accommodation with shared stairwells and common areas.

Below we share the UnderOneRoof guidance on how to keep common areas safe and clean.

Keeping your close clean will not only make you feel better about your home where you are spending so much time just now, but it’s also important to protect your health.

If you employ commercial close cleaners, you may find that they are unable to keep to their usual schedules.  You may need to take action yourselves.

common areas cleaning

Communicate With Your Neighbours

Find a way of warning neighbours that cleaning is in progress so you can avoid having to pass closely on the stairs

Protect Yourself

  • Wear protective gloves if available.
  • If you can’t get disposables, write your name on the gloves so you don’t end up sharing them with other people
  • Beware of splashing disinfectant on yourself.
  • If you think you just might need to use eye protection then do.

What To Clean

You’ll want to up your cleaning schedule for the close but pay particular attention to

  • handrails,
  • door handles
  • controlled entry key pads and door bells
  • any parts of the close wall that get touched (grubby marks are a tell tale sign).

Cleaning Method

  • Clean off the visible dirt and grease thoroughly first of all with soap and water – dirt reduces the effectiveness of disinfectants.
  • Allow to dry
  • Then disinfect surfaces with any of the following:
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Standard household disinfectant – read and follow the instructions carefully
  • Diluted bleach solution (bleach can be dangerous if misused so see further guidance)

How Often to Clean

Floors: two or three times a week

Handrails, handles, door entry pads etc: once a day would be a good target for most closes but twice a day would be better if many people pass through your common areas.

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