COVID-19: guidance for council tenants about what we’re doing

COVID-19: guidance for council tenants

Changes to our services, what we’re doing to look after council tenants and the employees that carry out our services, guidance for tenants living in flats or sheltered housing

Changes to services

We've made some changes to our services because of coronavirus (COVID-19). These changes will help protect everyone and make sure your home remains a safe place to live during these unprecedented challenges.

It may mean that some services will be provided differently to ensure we keep you, and our employees, safe. The changes may mean that tasks take longer, so we ask for your patience if we are unable to keep to our usual timescale.

Day to day repairs to council homes

We'll continue to prioritise emergency repairs. In addition to this if you reported a repair or inspection prior to the COVID-19 lockdown we'll be contacting you to rearrange an appointment over the next few weeks.

Priority will be given to the following day to day repairs:

  • loss of electrical power
  • unsafe power or lighting socket or electrical fitting
  • loss of water 
  • loss of gas supply
  • a blocked flue to an open fire or boiler
  • no hot water
  • a blocked or leaking foul drain, soil stack or toilet
  • a toilet not flushing, if there's only one toilet in property
  • a leak from a water pipe, tank or cistern
  • an insecure external window, door or lock
  • urgent structural and roof repairs or replacements 

For emergency repairs we provide a 24 hour, 365 day service.  

These include: 

  • where there's an immediate threat to life 
  • repairs that prevent further  collapse or extensive damage to buildings
  • where a property is insecure or cannot be accessed and there are older people, vulnerable people or children under 10 present

Health and safety repairs and checks

We’ll continue to carry out:

  • gas servicing
  • domestic electric tests
  • health safety checks, such as compliance testing for fire safety in blocks 

This is because we have a duty of care to make sure your home remains a safe to live and that we fulfill our responsibilities as a landlord. 

Planned maintenance and improvement work

We’ll finish external maintenance works to blocks where work has already started. Where this isn't possible we'll make the sites safe until works can continue. 

We’ll start new projects or schemes but only when it is safe to do so with safe working practices agreed with contractors and consultation with tenants first. 

If we were due to carry out improvement works inside your home, such as a replacement kitchen, replacement heating, or window replacements, we'll contact you to make new arrangements when we can start work again. 

Urgent works will continue to be done as a priority and with special arrangements with you to ensure your safety during the works.

Home adaptations

We'll continue to support home adaptations. We'll prioritise:

  • essential handy person repairs to facilitate hospital discharge and prevent hospital admission
  • urgent adaptations to assist with hospital discharge or prevent rehousing or hospital admission
  • emergency repairs to adaptations, such as stair or through floor lifts
  • urgent referrals from Adult Care or Children’s Services to enable residents (usually older, disabled or vulnerable people) to remain living safely in their own homes

Tenancy management and estate services

We’ll prioritise essential services, including:

  • warden service to tenants living in supported housing for older people (SHOP) schemes
  • responding to serious or urgent cases of anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse and hate crimes
  • progressing mutual exchanges
  • welfare visits or phone calls to vulnerable residents 
  • caretaking services
  • new lettings (viewing properties, sign ups for new tenancies and collecting or returning keys) 
  • responding to breaches of tenancy

Home visits

If you are expecting a home visit, we'll contact you before the visit where possible, to let you know what to expect.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you must tell us before we visit or when we arrive. If it's safe to do so, you should allow us access to your home for safety checks and essential repairs. These are important for your health and safety.

Tenants living in blocks of flats or sheltered housing schemes

You should take extra care when using shared facilities:

  • only use communal laundry facilities during your allocated wash times and don’t take other members of your household with you, unless they can’t be left alone 
  • only use the lifts with members of your own household
  • don’t use community rooms 
  • don’t gather in groups or meet neighbours on landings, lobbies or stairwells and maintain social distancing at all times

If you have access to a communal garden, follow social distancing guidelines.

Contacting us

Only contact us if it's essential. We’re operating with fewer staff and want to make sure they are delivering the most critical services.

When you call we'll ask whether your household is self-isolating because of COVID-19. In those circumstances we’ll explain how we can safely carry out any repairs.