Corona Virus and Service Delivery Update 1st May 2020
It is now anticipated that the lockdown will continue until 11 May at the earliest, however this may be extended further. Our staff will be continuing to work from home and we will do our best to deliver as many services as possible.
We are currently planning how we will manage the return to work in the office – this is likely to be on a phased basis as it may be that not all staff will be able to return to the office straight away. We will, of course let you know as soon as we are in a position to open the office fully.
Please see below information from the Scottish Government website on the use of face coverings – more detailed information is available from their website – https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-public-use-of-face-coverings/
Physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, are the most important and effective measures we can all adopt to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Therefore the wearing of facial coverings must not be used as an alternative to any of these other precautions.
The evidence on the use of face coverings is limited, but there may be some benefit in wearing a facial covering when you leave the house and enter enclosed spaces, especially where physical distancing is more difficult and where there is a risk of close contact with multiple people you do not usually meet. Examples include, traveling on public transport or entering a food shop where it is not always possible to maintain a 2 metre distance from another customer. There is no evidence to suggest there might be a benefit outdoors, unless in an unavoidable crowded situation, where there may be some benefit.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, help is still available – 24 hours a day. You can contact the Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 027 1234 or visit Police Scotland – help for victims of domestic abuse
NATIONAL HELPLINE ESTABLISHED FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE FAMILY OR COMMUNITY SUPPORT.
A new national helpline has been set up to provide essential assistance to those who don’t have a network of support but who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19.
The service offers help to those who do not have family or existing community support and cannot get online and who are over 70, disabled, require the support of mental health services, are pregnant or receive a flu jab for health reasons. This service is in addition to localised support already available for people who have received letters advising them to shield themselves. However, any of those in the shielding category who are not yet receiving assistance, who do not have family and cannot get online can access support via this new helpline.
The helpline – 0800 111 4000 – will initially operate during core working hours of 09:00 to 17:00 while plans are developed and implemented to extend it to operate for a longer period each day.
Callers will be automatically connected to their local authority who will support them to access the service they need, such as:
• essential food and medication
• links to local social work services for vulnerable children or adults
• emotional support
• contact with local volunteer groups
If you know of anyone who might benefit from this service, please tell them about it and give them the number – 0800 111 4000
Anyone not in these categories but still looking for support should visit https://www.readyscotland.org/coronavirus/
If your circumstances have changed and your income reduced as a result, you may be able to claim benefits, including help to pay your rent. For example, if you ae in receipt of housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit, you can apply to City of Edinburgh Council for a Discretionary Housing Payment. There have also been a number of changes to Social Security Benefits – further information is available from https://www.socialsecurity.gov.scot/news/making-sure-people-impacted-by-covid-19-get-our-support
If you are experiencing problems paying your rent, please contact your Housing Officer who will be able to offer advice and assistance.
The Government has now made it absolutely clear that no-one should be leaving their home except in very clearly defined circumstances and we would urge you to comply with this advice. We have had several calls advising that some tenants continue to have visitors to their homes and are allowing their children to play in common stairs – whilst we appreciate how challenging this situation is for everybody, we would ask you to remember that the guidelines are there to protect your safety – please follow them.
The Police have also advised that if you think that a breach of the new regulations is IN PROGRESS, then you should contact them.
If the Police consider that someone is outwith their home address without ‘reasonable excuse’, they have the power to require them to return to their home address by a route (reasonably) specified by the Police. They can use force to return a person to their home address if it appears proportionate to do so.
Corona Virus Scam Calls and Texts
We have received reports of scam calls and texts relating to the coronavirus, or Covid-19.
Scammers are calling home phones and sending text messages to mobile phones, which contain misinformation or could leave you out of pocket if you fall victim.
Some calls and texts claim to be from the Government, your GP’s surgery, the NHS, or even the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In the calls, a recorded message or caller will claim to be contacting you about the coronavirus. They might offer a test for the virus, a treatment or cure, or might offer to discuss your medical needs.
However, these calls are designed to encourage you to either speak to an operator, or press a button on your phone for more information.
• If you speak to an operator, you could be at risk of giving them your personal information or your financial details, which could result in identity theft or financial loss.
• If you press a button on your phone you could be connected to a high-cost premium number, leaving you liable for a significant call cost.
Further information is available on the Ofcom website https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/features-and-news/coronavirus-scam-calls-and-texts
If you are self-isolating in accordance with health advice and live alone, or if you have any other concerns, please contact us and we will do our best to offer assistance. In line with the General Data Protection Regulation we will share this information with relevant Contractors. At this time, we would also ask that you are more vigilant than ever regarding your neighbours and please get in touch with us if you have any specific concerns.
These are the answers to the questions Manor Estates staff have been asked most frequently since the start of the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question that’s not listed here please get in touch either by email email@example.com or telephone 0800 093 8823
Frequently Asked Questions and General queries
Why have you closed your office?
Following government guidance, Manor Estates’ office was closed to the public for the safety of staff and visitors. Staff are able to work from home and will still be able to deal with queries received via telephone or email. We may take a bit longer than usual to respond to queries and thank you for your patience.
When do you think the office will reopen?
At the moment this is impossible to predict. All we can say is that we will reopen as soon as it’s safe to do so and, in the meantime, we will continue to provide as many services as we can.
While Manor Estates is closed, what should I do about my rent?
Tenants should continue to make every effort to pay rent. We understand, though, that some tenants may have their income reduced as a result of this situation. If this is the case, please make sure you contact us as soon as possible. You may wish to check the new Citizens Advice Scotland guide which is available at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/health/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you/ . If your income has reduced, you may be able to claim Universal Credit. For more information please visit: https://www.mygov.scot/claim-housing-benefit/.
If you receive a notification of changes to your housing benefit entitlement and have any queries about it , please telephone the office.
Would you consider suspending rent payments for a short period?
We are currently unable to suspend rent payments.
We do have services and support available to help anybody struggling with their rent. In the first instance, please contact your Housing Officer.
Repairs, servicing and home improvements
What are you doing to ensure your trades people are not spreading the virus?
All of our contractors are carefully monitoring the health of their staff and anyone with symptoms will not be allowed to work. As previously advised, we are only able to provide an emergency repairs service and gas servicing at the present time. If you do need an emergency repair you will be asked to maintain your social distance from the operative – ideally by going to another room – the operative will let you know when they have completed the repair and leave the property – please protect yourselves and the workmen. As always, please ensure that anyone you are allowing into your home has appropriate identification.
I’m due a gas service soon. Will that still be carried out?
Yes, servicing gas appliances is extremely important for both your health and safety and that of your neighbours. Lothian Gas will continue to carry out this vital service, employing necessary personal protection measures.
If you’re worried about the risk of infection from letting a workman into your home to carry out vital safety work such as gas servicing then you may refuse however we will need to arrange to have the service done at another time. Please get in touch so we can make a suitable appointment, you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone in 0800 093 8823 Repairs.
Will you still be carrying out routine testing for things like carbon monoxide detectors?
Testing work on both detectors and electrical systems is currently suspended. This is due to the number of tenants understandably refusing access on health and safety grounds. This important work will restart as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Please remember to check your smoke detectors regularly – get in touch if you feel they are not operating correctly.
I’m due a new kitchen shortly. What’s happening with home upgrades?
We expect there to be disruption and delays to our planned maintenance programme (covering replacements of things like kitchens, bathrooms, and central heating systems) for the coming financial year. Current work scheduled in the coming days and weeks will be delayed until further notice.
In most other cases, work will resume once it’s safe to do so.
I’m in the high risk group so have been told not to leave my house but I have pay as you go gas and electric meters. How can I top them up when they run out?
Gas and electricity suppliers have agreed an emergency package of measures to ensure vulnerable people do not get cut off because they can’t get out to top up meters. Contact your supplier to find out more or visit https://news.energynetworks.org/
What about reporting problems with my neighbours?
This can still be done by phone, email or online and we would encourage you to report any serious issues with your neighbours to us. We will try to respond as quickly as possible.
Where there are serious incidents of antisocial behaviour, these should be reported to the Police.
What about issues with rubbish on my estate?
At times like these it’s more important than ever that we all look after the areas in which we live and we would ask all tenants to be considerate to their neighbours.
For up-to-date information on waste collection, please view City of Edinburgh Council’s website https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/coronavirus
Will you still be carrying out estate walkabouts and inspections?
Unfortunately we won’t be able to do these for the time being. However please do continue to report any issues to us and we will do our best to resolve them remotely.
If you have any queries or concerns please get in touch and we will do our best to help.
With the exception of weekly stair cleaning and monthly landscape maintenance, all communal maintenance and repairs instructed to our contractors have been suspended for the time being. Emergency communal work should be notified to our general maintenance contractor Novus, or to us by phoning our 0800 093 8823 number.
For those paying their factoring charges by instalments please maintain the agreed amount where possible, should these payments need to be reduced for a time it is important that you let us know as soon as possible. You can email us on email@example.com or phone in.