Last updated: 22 May 2020
Communication from the Minister of State for Housing
Christopher Pincher MP has written a letter on behalf of the government summarising its advice to social housing tenants at this time.
Much of this information has already been communicated to SCC tenants, and we will continue to provide updates on the support we’re offering and how our services are being impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Tenants should keeping checking this webpage and our social media channels for the latest information as lockdown restrictions are gradually 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.
Suspension of housing possessions action
The Coronavirus Act 2020 has set a minimum three month notice period for eviction for statutory tenants in the private and social rented sectors. The court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action – this means that neither cases currently in the or any about to go in the system can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted. This suspension of housing possessions action will initially last for 90 days.
Local Housing Offices and Neighbourhood Wardens
With isolation measures affecting staffing levels, there’s likely to be fewer members of the team out and about on estates. As we prioritise emergencies and offer support to those who need it most, this will inevitably cause delays in dealing with more routine enquires.
Please only contact your Local Housing Office if you have an urgent issue. If you do need to get in touch, please send us an email and a member of the team will come back to you as soon as they can
We are now only able to provide essential services, which means we will only attend to critical health and safety housing repairs until further notice.
This means that while our Customer Contact Centre remains open, we ask that you only contact us in the event of an emergency repair – i.e. one that compromises the safety, security or structure of your home, or anything that affects the supply of essential facilities (water, lighting or heating).
Please report your request using our online tool, or call 023 8083 3006.
If we need to carry out emergency work, our staff will complete a doorstep risk assessment before entering your home and, if appropriate, wear personal protective equipment. For our safety and yours, we will be following social distancing guidelines, which we kindly ask you to respect when we are in your home or communal areas.
Property maintenance and improvements
We are channelling all our resources into emergency works to ensure our tenants have safe homes to live in. We have therefore taken the difficult decision to suspend all non-critical works. Unless you are contacted by a council employee telling you otherwise, please assume no 'business as usual’ planned works or non-emergency repairs are being or will be carried out at your property at this time.
As the restrictions are lifted, we will update this information and tenants with works due will be 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. Whilst there is still further works to be completed, the council’s contractor has decided to pause works for a period following the Government’s recent guidance on social distancing.
Tenant safety remains our priority, so we’ve instructed the contractors to leave all the areas that they have been working in safe. We will also be working with our contractors over the coming weeks to regularly inspect the blocks and reassure tenants.
Please email us if you have any immediate concerns or would like more information.
We have decided to temporarily suspend the decommission process at Townhill Park.
We feel this is the best solution, until we have more certainty about the resources available to support tenants’ moves. All affected tenants will be contacted directly, via letter, in the coming days, with more information and where to go for support.
Our choice-based lettings service, Homebid, has temporarily been taken offline to minimise unnecessary movement during the COVID-19 crisis.
However we are pleased to say that after consultation with our housing association partners, the service will reopen on Friday 5 June 2020 at 8am. All registered users will be able to use the website in the usual way from this date.
Please be aware that social distancing rules are still in force across the UK, so additional safety measures will be in place when you view a property and sign up for a tenancy. It may take longer than usual for homes to become ready to view as our teams continue to prioritise emergency works.
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, don’t worry, we will be in touch with details as soon as possible. Please offer to help any elderly or vulnerable neighbour you are concerned about – either 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.