Updated 12 January 2021
The Scottish Government have published anto all Council, Housing Association and Housing Co-operative tenants to explain what support and services are available for tenants that are impacted by Covid-19.
Following the latest announcement from the Scottish Government, the country was placed under lockdown restrictions from 5 January 2021.
During this period there will be changes to the work activities that we can undertake in occupied properties. This means internal non- essential routine repairs and planned internal replacements will cease during the period. Building Services will contact those tenants who have appointments booked for January 2021 and cancel the works. Tenants will be contacted again once the Scottish Government confirms these works can proceed.
Tenants will only be able to report new essential repairs via the Customer Service Centre throughout this period.
Internal essential repairs are classed as repairs which will affect the comfort or convenience of the tenant and their needs:
- If there is a problem with the fabric of the building, for example the roof is leaking or where the property is not wind and watertight
- If equipment a less abled person relies on requires installation or repair
- No heating/no hot water
- Unsafe/faulty power or lighting sockets or electrical fittings
- Loss of electric power
- Loss or part loss of gas supply
- A blocked flue to an open fire or boiler
- External windows, doors or locks which are not secure, wind & water tight
- Loss or part loss of water or heating
- Toilets which do not flush or partially flush
- A blocked sink, bath or basin, soil stacks or toilet pans
- Any water leak from within the property i.e., distribution pipework, soil/drainage pipework, radiator, pipework, tank, cistern etc
- Unsafe timber flooring, stair treads, loose or detached banisters or handrails
- To commission central heating for a new tenant
- Faulty taps, faulty shower e.g. mixer or electric
- Dampness related (tolerable standard)
- Tenant locked out, lost keys or keys stolen
- Investigate internal damage following water leak, unsafe or water damaged ceiling (make safe/replace)
- Overflow running from loft or wc (that could potentially cause risk)
- Uplift of alternative heating after repair is completed and central heating is working
- Repair silicone seal around bath/shower that may cause water to penetrate the structure of the building
- Door entry system/video fault (e.g. faulty handset or buzzer)
- Outside light not working (for senior citizen or vulnerable person)
- Replace faulty fire safety alarms
- Faulty ventilation/extractor system's
Tenants will not be able to report non- essential repairs at this time.
Once the Scottish Government confirms non- essential repairs in occupied properties can proceed we will provide a further update.
The housing repair activities that will continue are -
- Essential housing repairs in occupied properties
- Property compliance works - gas servicing, fire safety (fire doors & fire detection) and electrical checks
- Work in voids, temporary accommodation and insurance properties
- Medical adaptations
- All external major refurbishment work/all outdoor works
- Estate management services to communal areas - this service will be reduced within the communal stairwells to fire compliance, cleaning of any localised spillages and gritting to communal areas
We understand that some tenants may still be apprehensive about having people in their homes. We will only undertake work in your home if you are comfortable with this. If you would like to speak to our technical team regarding any queries or guidance regarding working in your property, then contact our Customer Service Centre on 01506 280000 select option 1 and a member of the technical team will return your call.
Building Services employees and contractors will continue to follow the strict guidelines and protocols from the Scottish Government and NHS Inform. Tenants will be asked to follow social distancing guidelines when Building Services employees, or our contractors visit your home. It is important that the guidance is appropriately followed by all to ensure everyone is kept safe.
The latest guidance from the HSE states that Landlords have a duty of care to their tenants. This is a legal duty to repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in a safe condition, to ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue, and to keep a record of each safety check. During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, there is a balance between ensuring people, including the vulnerable, are protected from possibly fatal risks arising from carbon monoxide exposure or gas explosion, while doing what we can to protect people from COVID-19
Current guidance from HM Government states that work can still be carried out in people's homes where necessary, e.g. for reasons of safety, provided that the GOV.UK guidance on social distancing is followed. If tenants are deemed vulnerable or shielding and have concerns regarding providing access to complete their annual gas service we would ask that the contact our Customer Service Centre immediately on 01506 280000 select option 1 to discuss this further with our technical team.
Should there be a gas issue reported then gas repair engineers will be available to call back tenants to help identify any issue and, in some cases, identify a solution over the telephone. Details of the gas maintenance work that the council is responsible for can be found on the Gas Servicing and Maintenance page.
A reminder that gas leaks are dealt with by Scottish Gas Network (SGN). Details of what you should do if you suspect a gas leak can be found on the Gas Escapes page
Further updates will be provided as the Scottish Government review the current restrictions for West Lothian.
Our mutual exchange service is back up and running with a few extra precautions in place to protect tenants and our staff. We are carrying out extra pre visit precautions and, where possible, virtual inspections as part of the mutual exchange service.
Rent payment support for tenants
We are aware that our tenants may be concerned about their finances and ability to pay rent given the current situation with Covid-19.
We want to do all we can to support you at this time so if you are at all concerned about paying your rent, please do not hesitate to get in touch at: Contacting the Council
Please remember, you can pay you rent over the phone on 01506 282407 or Pay Online
For more information about paying your rent, please visit the Paying my Rent page.
Changes to Housing Options and Homeless service
The Housing Options Service provided by the council has been reduced due to the impact of Covid 19 following national guidelines. No face to face interviews will be carried out until further notice.
The following is now in place for people requiring urgent housing advice:
- Anyone requiring to discuss emergency accommodation please contact: 01506 280000 (Monday to Thursday 08.30am to 5.00pm, Friday 08.30am to 4.00pm). For the out of hours service please contact 01506 280000/0800 032 3450.
- For any urgent cases regarding: housing advice such as Notice to quits (NTQ), Notice to Leave (NTL) issues, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
These measures are in place on a temporary basis and will be kept under constant review to ensure a continued limited service is provided.
Private Landlords and Letting Agents
The Scottish Government has released a FAQs for private landlords and tenants given the situation with Covid-19. As you are aware, this is a rapidly evolving situation and the guidance will be updated as things change. Please see Scottish Government - COVID-19 guidance for private landlords and letting agents
More information on service updates are available on our Private Landlords page.
Tenant participation moves online
In line with national health guidance in relation to the Coronavirus outbreak, all face to face tenant participation work with our tenants and our Housing Network has ceased until further notice. We are inviting tenants to take part in E-Participation via our Facebook Page (just search for West Lothian Tenant Participation) or email TP@westlothian.gov.uk