Housing - Coronavirus updates

Last updated: 15 October 2020

We will continue to provide updates on the support we’re offering and how our services are being impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Please keep checking this webpage and our social media channels for the latest information as restrictions are eased and our services return to normal.

Tenants can also sign up to receive our weekly coronavirus bulletin and monthly Tenants’ Link newsletter.

If you have any comments or concerns please contact your Local Housing Office.

New court rules for possession

On 24 August 2020, after a five-month ban on evictions, courts are planning to reopen. The ban was introduced by the Government to protect renters during the COVID-19 crisis.

If tenants are concerned they are going to be evicted then they need to contact Housing.Advice@Southampton.gov.uk for advice and assistance.

Landlords seeking possession of rented accommodation will need to be aware of strict new Civil Procedure Rules the Government has brought in. The main changes are that landlords will need to confirm whether they wish to make a claim or continue with an existing claim for possession. This can only be achieved by completing and issuing a ‘reactivation’ notice that must be sent to the court and to the tenant.

Landlords will be required to set out their claim to include any relevant information about their tenant’s circumstances and must include information on the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their tenant.

Landlords are advised to check Government websites or seek their own independent legal advice.

Repairs

Our home repairs service is operating as normal and you can report repairs online.

When you submit your request, please tell us if you or anyone living in your home:

  • Is currently self-isolating
  • Has been diagnosed by a doctor as having coronavirus
  • Has a temperature of 37.8 degrees or more, a new continuous cough, or shortness of breath
  • If are in good health and not self-isolating for any reason, we will ask you to confirm everyone in your household is unaffected by coronavirus before progressing your request.

Please be aware that social distancing rules still apply, so we ask that you take additional safety measures when our staff visit your home to carry out repairs:

  • Wherever possible you should stay at least two metres (approximately three steps) away from the operative
  • You may be asked to stay in an adjoining room
  • Leave doors and windows open, while the work is completed

This will ensure social distancing can be maintained, contact with door handles is minimised and there’s good ventilation in the property.

Our staff are working hard to reinstate the repairs service and get to everyone as quickly as possible, but some delays may be unavoidable. We appreciate your patience and kindly ask that you treat our staff respectfully while they are in your home.

If you have an emergency repair to report please call 023 8083 3006.

Property maintenance and improvements

Works are now back to normal. Tenants with works due are being contacted.

Fire safety improvement works

A range of fire safety improvements, including fitting sprinkler systems and installing new fire doors, have been completed in the majority of our high-rise residential blocks.

Although work was paused during lockdown, we’ve recently restarted the programme (excluding blocks in Thornhill for the time being).

Please email us if you have any immediate concerns or would like more information.

Homebid

Our choice-based lettings service, Homebid, is operating as normal.

However, to maintain social distancing, additional safety measures are in place during viewings and tenancy sign-ups.

If you have a query about your application please email Housing Allocations quoting your name, address and application number.

For homelessness advice, please email our team.

In an emergency only, please call our out-of-hours line on 023 8023 3344.

Support for vulnerable tenants

We are staying in close contact with tenants across the city who have an identified support need.

As the Government advice for over 70s and people with an underlying health condition is to self-isolate, we will be carrying out this support by phone wherever possible.

If you do require a home visit, we will be in touch with details as soon as possible. Please offer to help any elderly or vulnerable neighbour you are concerned about – perhaps by picking up some shopping or just checking they are okay. And, as per the Government guidelines, remember to keep a distance of two metres from other people at all times.

If you're a telecare user, the service will continue as normal and you should press/pull your alarm for advice and assistance in an emergency. Please only use this facility if you are unable to receive help from other sources, such as family members.

Junior Neighbourhood Wardens

Regrettably, all upcoming activities have been cancelled.

Junior Neighbourhood Wardens and their families will be contacted directly with details of future arrangements.

HMO Licensing

HMO inspections are now being undertaken where safe to do so. Applications can still be made using the online form but it may take longer than usual to process the application.

All submitted surveyor route applications are being processed and licences will be issued as soon as possible. If you wish to discuss your application or have any questions about HMO licensing please contact HMO@southampton.gov.uk

Renting guidance for tenants and landlords

Due to the current COVID-19 situation the Government has published renting guidance for tenants and landlords.

Complaints about privately rented properties

Complaints can still be logged using the online form, however we would urge you to try and resolve this directly with your landlord in the first instance. Home visits are being undertaken where a significant issue is identified and it is safe to do so.