Coronavirus and Service Delivery Update 11 September 2020
The First Minister’s briefing on 10 September has confirmed that the maximum number of people who can gather together – at home, in gardens, pubs and restaurants – has been reduced to 6 and can only be from 2 households.
The First Minister also confirmed that offices will not be able to re-open until at least October. The majority of our staff will continue to work from home. We are undertaking some estate work, this is limited to external inspection and work on empty properties.
We would ask that if you have any issues to raise with us, you continue to telephone the office on 0800 093 8823 or email on email@example.com – if you do want to speak to a member of staff who is on site, please maintain a 2m distance from them.
At this time, staff will not be able to visit you in your home – this is to protect your safety and theirs.
If you receive a call from your Housing Officer from a mobile phone and need to call, please use the office number (0800 093 8823)– if your Housing Officer is off or otherwise unavailable when you call back, there may be a delay in you receiving a response.
Further information on current restrictions in Phase 3 of moving out of lockdown is available on the Scottish Government website (CLICK HERE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION).
Further information on the impact of the current situation on City of Edinburgh Council Services is available HERE
Please note our current service standards for responding to queries are noted below:
If you telephone us and have to leave a message we will call you back by close of play on the following working day
If you email us or write to us, we will respond to your enquiry within 5 working days. If your enquiry is going to take more than 5 days for us to be able to give a full response, we will acknowledge receipt within 5 working days and respond fully within a further 15 working days.
We will review these standards once we are able to re-open the office and resume normal service.
We are aware that a number of tenants are looking to do a mutual exchange with another social housing tenant. At present exchanges are on hold. Part of the exchange process includes a home visit to inspect your property along with office interviews if the tenant you want to exchange with has a different landlord. Due to current guidelines during the pandemic, non-essential internal property visits and office appointments are suspended to ensure both tenant and staff safety. If you have submitted a request, be assured that we will contact you as soon as we are able to recommence home visits.
The Government has now advised that non-essential offices will not be able to open before 11 September 2020. Our Senior Management Team continue to discuss the implications for the Association and will provide regular updates on our services on this website.
When staff are able to start returning to the office, this will be on a phased basis and the office will remain closed to the public – this is for the safety of all customers and our staff. We will be able to offer a small number of office appointments subject to compliance with any ongoing restrictions such as the wearing of face coverings.
Because a Good Chat Means the World
If you are aged over 75 and live alone, you may want to think about a telephone befriending service offered by a charity called Re-engage – once registered, you can receive regular phone calls from a volunteer who will chat to you about things you are interested in – for more information, click HERE
With effect from 31 July 2020, the previous restriction that allowed only people assessed by the Council as statutorily homeless could bid for available houses has now been lifted. Anyone seeking alternative housing can now submit bids for advertised properties.
Changes to Rent Payment Options
We will be phasing out the option to pay your rent by telephoning the office – we are introducing a new option that will enable you to call a dedicated number and make an automated payment. You will need a new reference number to be able to use this option and we will be contacting you over the next few weeks with further information. We can still take payments over the telephone at the moment.
You may wish to consider paying your rent by Direct Debit – if you are interested in this option, please call 0800 093 8823 and select option 3.
Letter from Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning
The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning has issued a letter that sets out plans for easing of lockdown restrictions and how this will affect housing services. The letter can be viewed here.
Maintenance, Improvement and Communal Repair Programmes
We are now preparing with our Contractors to re-start our maintenance, improvement and communal repair programmes. Please click HERE for further information.
We have added a Covid Update to our Tenants Contractors Suppliers Staff Code of Conduct
This sets out stricter rules on hygiene and all contractors entering your home will undertake additional safety measures. A short video is available to view HERE.
Before setting your repair appointment the Contractors or Staff will ask a few simple health questions and confirm areas of property we will need access to – further information is available HERE.
Staying at home during lockdown could result in increased energy bills – if you would like advice on how to reduce costs, please contact Changeworks. Further information on how to contact them and how they may be able to help is available HERE.
Energy advice – including how to access help with pre-payment meters – is also available through Home Energy Scotland by calling 0808 808 2282.
At this time, our key priority is the safety of our customers, our staff and our contractors.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of coronavirus (such as high temperature, cough, changes to sense of taste or smell) you must self-isolate for a period of 7 days – and other members of your household must also self-isolate but for a period of 14 days.
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.
You can also request a home testing kit – however the test must be carried out within 5 days of you first experiencing symptoms – click on the HERE for more advice.
Corona Virus Scam Calls and Texts
Please be vigilant about possible scam calls, texts and emails. If something sounds too good to be true, chances are it’s a scam and you should check it out.
Further information on how to identify potential scams and information about who can offer advice and assistance is available HERE.
Although the office is closed, we are offering as many of our services as possible – you can contact staff by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 0800 093 8823 and selecting Option 3 to speak to a member of the Housing Management Team.
If you are experiencing difficulties paying your rent, please contact your Housing Officer as soon as possible – they are able to offer advice and assistance, including about benefits that you may be entitled to.
Contact us now – we’re here to help
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 are 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 their website click HERE to view.
The Government has introduced a contact-tracing system – where a person has tested positive for coronavirus, tracers will seek to get in touch with as many people as possible who may have been in contact with them.
There are some concerns about the possibility of scammers seeking to take advantage of this scheme – if you are contacted do not under any circumstances give details of your bank account or other personal information.
You may be contacted by text or email – do not click on links included unless your absolutely certain that the message has come from a reliable source.
Further information on contact tracing is available on the Government website click HERE to view.
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 click HERE.
National Helpline For Those Who Do Not Have Family or Community Support
A 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.
Further information is available HERE.
If you have any queries or concerns please get in touch and we will do our best to help.
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 0800 093 8823 and select Option 4.
We are now preparing with our Contractors to re-start communal maintenance and repairs programmes. If you have any questions on repairs phone our 0800 093 8823 number and select option 4 to speak to a member of the Property Services Team. Please click HERE for further information.
All our Contractors have agreed to comply with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of Covid 19 “Five Steps to Safer Working Together” and have undertaken staff training to ensure they carry out the works safely. Before starting the work all contractors will be asked to provide method statement with safe system of work. As always, please ensure you should maintain a 2 metre distance from Contractors and Staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click HERE for information about 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0800 093 8823