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.


Requesting Council Repairs

At this time of year, it is even more important to report repairs as soon as they are identified. This is can prevent:

  • More problems for you as a tenant
  • Serious damage to property

Also, if you see something in either a neighbouring property or in an empty property please report that a repair is needed, as it is better for us to get this repaired quickly too.

This is a benefit to both you as the tenant and ourselves.

Updates on repairs:

On 17 March 2020 the Government advised that people most at risk from the coronavirus were strongly advised to reduce unnecessary contact with others.  To slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) the general public were asked to stay at home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary social contact.

At that time we moved to dealing with Emergency Repairs only and whilst we restarted our repairs service in August 2020 this was to allow us to work through the backlog of previously reported repairs. We are now accepting all routine repairs through ACCESSLine.

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

  1. Have you returned from any risk areas as identified by the government in the last 14 days?
  2. Has a member of your household returned from any of the same risk areas in the last 14 days?
  3. Has anyone you work or socialise with closely been exposed to coronavirus in the last 14 days?
  4. Are you in a vulnerable group as identified in government guidance?

As your safety continues to be our priority, we have developed a Health and Safety Guidance note for tenants that covers any repair work or improvement works to be carried out in your home at this time. It explains what you can expect from our contractors but also what we require you to do whilst they are working in your home.

High volume of enquiries to ACCESS and Common Housing Register teams

Our ACCESS and Common Housing Register teams are experiencing an extremely high volume of enquiries related to the Choice-Based Letting system, so response times are taking longer than usual. We apologise for the inconvenience.

Thank you for your patience during this busy time

New houses in Newtyle

A new 12 unit council housing development in the village of Newtyle was completed last month, as part of the council’s  new build council housing programme.

Rural communities are an essential part of the Angus way of life and these new council houses will go some way to meet the need for affordable homes in these thriving rural areas.

Most of the houses will accommodate families with children including 4 homes for particular needs.  The air-tight, energy efficient homes take full advantage of solar power, helping to minimize fuel costs for tenants. In addition, fibre broadband was installed straight to the premises, to ensure good quality internet, which is essential for home working and studying in the modern home.

The development is next to Newtyle Primary School on a piece of land that formally hosted part of the old school. By converting an unused piece of brownfield land that is situated on one of the main entrance ways to the village, as well as the school, we are ensuring key improvements to the look and feel of the village.

We have tried to ensure that the Newtyle Primary School children have gained, and continue to gain, some real life learning from the construction of these houses. Community benefits are a key part of the contractor selection process and Bancon Construction delivered site safety talks, and organised poster competitions site visits, as well as providing some unused materials to aid their learning.

Our Parks colleagues have also egnaged with the school when it comes to some planting so that the children not only have input into what’s planted but also gain crucial knowledge of biodiversity issues.

Community engagement has been key throughout with regular engagement about the proposed development, with the community ultimately voting on the new name for the street.

The new properties, which are funded by both the Scottish Government and us are managed by Forfar Community Housing Team.

The Newtyle project has been shortlisted in the Housing and Regeneration Category of the Surf Awards. The award winners will be announced closer to Christmas.

To see the new houses watch our video


Choice Based Lettings Update

In our new housing allocation system, we had 15 properties advertised last week and have a further 33 on this week. We’ve received a total of 687 bids over the two weeks.

New Damacre Road properties in Brechin

This week we have our new build properties at Damacre Road, Brechin advertised. To view properties visit our Angus HomeFinder website.

Please remember that you can only bid on properties once you have a live application. To bid for properties log in on the Angus HomeFinder portal.

To access your application to view the status or update your details log in here

Please note you must complete a full housing options wizard AND a housing register application to apply for housing.

Planning approval granted for affordable housing scheme in Montrose

We are pleased to have planning approval to build 10 new affordable houses for rent in Montrose.

Situated on land previously used by the Rosehill Resource Centre, this new project in Coronation Way will be another valuable addition to social rented accommodation in Montrose. This project is partly funded by the Scottish Government.

Our Convener of Communities, Cllr Mark Salmond said:

I am delighted we have secured planning permission to build 10 high-quality affordable homes at Coronation Avenue. This new development will increase the stock of council housing in the area at a time when the demand for affordable homes continues to be high.

The site, which will comprise of a mix of one, two and three-bedroom properties, will have its own access from Forties Road. Not only will these new spacious homes provide families with safe, secure tenancies, they will be low-cost to heat and run, thanks to high levels of energy efficiency built in to the design.

The development will fit in to its surroundings by incorporating sympathetic design features such as part brick boundary facings, and wildflower meadows along the roadside. Existing trees on the site will be retained where possible, with additional native species being planted too.

Angus Homefinder Goes Live on 11/11

We’ve fixed the technical problems that led to us having to delay the start of our new Choice Based Lettings system, so we’re now delighted to announce it will go live on Wednesday 11 November.

On that date, new applicants will be able to apply to join our Housing Register. We’ve already added existing applicants and sent login instructions by letter.

Check back next week to get the link for the new system and any other information you might need to get your application online.

Our Annual Assurance Statement 2020

Under the Regulatory Framework, we must submit an Annual Assurance Statement to the Scottish Housing Regulator every year. We also must publish it so tenants and service users can see it.

Our statement was approved at Communities Committee on 20 September and states that the Committee, which is our governing body, is assured we meet all statutory requirements.

Update: Emergency Repairs due to Adverse Weather

We’re getting a lot of calls from tenants asking for repairs because of the adverse weather. Our team has been dealing with these calls as quickly as they can, however this has been a challenge, particularly for those requests received outwith normal working hours. We would advise tenants that the out of hours phone number is extremely busy so please only call if the repair is an emergency.

Contractors are dealing with these repairs, within the two hour response time for emergencies, but tenants may still experience delays. This is due to the volume of requests and the requirement to make sure their employees can work in a safe environment during the current conditions. They cannot go onto a roof when it is dark or raining, and any repairs carried out will be to fix the immediate problem and further repairs may be needed as a follow-up.

If tenants are experiencing a roof leak we would ask that they place a container under the leak to catch any excess water until the contractor is able to attend.

Please continue to call 03452 777 778 for emergency, out of hours calls.

Resumption of Repairs and Maintenance Works in Council Properties

Following the Scottish Government’s announcement last week, we can confirm that day-to-day repairs and planned maintenance works, including bathroom installations, electric heating upgrades and energy efficiency works are continuing across our housing stock with measures in place to reduce risks to tenants and contractors.

If you are on one of our Planned Maintenance Contracts and work is due on your home, you should have received a copy of our Tenant Health and Safety Guidance – COVID-19 Planned Maintenance Contract Agreement which sets out what is expected of our tenants and contractors when work is being carried out in their homes.

As we have done during the lockdown period since 23 March 2020, and as restrictions have been eased, we will continue to carry out annual servicing of gas heating systems as we are required to do by law.

You can find advice on the NHS Inform Coronavirus (COVID-19) website – the main symptoms of the coronavirus include;
o A new, continuous, dry cough
o A high temperature
o 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 email us at HousingTechnical@angus.gov.uk