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Coronavirus and Service Delivery Update 29 June 2020

Self Isolation

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 link below for more advice.

https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test

Corona Virus Scam Calls and Texts

Previously we gave you information about how to recognise potential scam calls or texts (see below).

Further information and advice is available from Citizens Advice Scotland and you can access this through their website here or by calling Freephone: 0808 164 6000

And always remember – if something sounds too good to be true, chances are it’s a scam and you should check it out.

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

Energy Advice

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

Lockdown

On Thursday 18th June, Scottish Government announced that we were moving into Phase 2 of the easing of the lockdown restrictions. The main change affects those people that have been shielding. As of 18 June, people that have been shielding can now take outdoor exercise e.g. walk, wheel, run, cycle. It has been expanded to include non-contact sport such as golf and hiking, when doing so, it is important to follow the following rules:

• Maintain strict physical distance of at least 2 metres
• Choose a time and areas that are quiet
• Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds.

As of today, all non-shielding households can also meet up with members of two households in their gardens, but subject to a maximum of 8 people at once.

Please remember – much of the information you will see on the news at the moment is about changes that have been made in England and do not apply in Scotland. At the moment, we should all continue to observe the current restrictions, i.e. only having contact with one other household, in the open air, and observing social distancing rules.

Further information on the impact of the current situation on City of Edinburgh Council Services is available HERE

Empty Properties

Due to lockdown we have been unable to allocate empty properties since the end of March. This is of great concern to us and importantly it means that people who need homes are unable to access them.

We are currently in discussions with City of Edinburgh Council and other housing associations about how we can begin to allocate empty properties – as we are still in Phase 1 of the easing of restrictions, however, our first priority has to remain the safety of tenants, staff and contractors.

As restrictions ease, you will start to see our staff or contractors on your estate, we would ask that you continue to respect social distancing rules and remain at least 2 metres away from them.

Rent Payments

Although the office is closed, we are offering as many of our services as possible – you can contact staff by email info@manorestates.org.uk or by telephoning 0800 093 8823.

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

Benefit Information

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 https://www.socialsecurity.gov.scot/news/making-sure-people-impacted-by-covid-19-get-our-support

Contact Tracing

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 – see link below:

https://www.gov.scot/news/contact-tracing-information-gathering/

Further information on other potential scams related to the coronavirus pandemic can be found later in this bulletin.

Face Coverings

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/

As lockdown measures begin to ease, Scotrail have announced that they expect all passengers to wear face coverings. It is likely that other public transport providers will do the same. Passengers will also be required to observe social distancing requirements so there will be limited access to trains and buses.

Domestic Abuse

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/

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 info@manorestates.org.uk or telephone 0800 093 8823

Frequently Asked Questions and General queries

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.

Paying rent

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.

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. If you have an appointment booked and you or a member of your household is experiencing symptoms or has come into contact with someone suffering from COVID-19 please get in touch so we can make help you make arrangements and rebook a more suitable time slot, you can email us on info@manorestates.org.uk or phone in 0800 093 8823 Repairs or call Lothian Gas direct on 0131 440 4666.

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?

There will continue 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.

We are working with our Contractors to be in a position to make a phased return to planned maintenance contracts when the Scottish Government declare the position safe to continue works inside properties. We will write out to you, ahead of starting these contracts. All contractors will be asked to provide method statement with safe system of work. We will work with you if you or a family member is shielding, to make suitable arrangements.

We will be reviewing the whole planned 2020 2021 contract programme and will arrange priority works first, smoke detection and electric checks and then continue any contracts started before the Covid 19 lockdown.

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/

Estate issues

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.

Owners services

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 info@manorestates.org.uk or phone in.

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