Updated 10 January 2022
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.
Council House - Information for tenants
Update on Housing Repairs
Similar to the national rise in Covid cases, the sharp rise in our staff isolating due to the Omicron variant of Covid is having an impact on our both our repair teams and contractors. Unfortunately this may lead to some short-notice cancellations of appointments, or us having to reschedule some planned works for later in 2022. Whilst the service is doing everything we can to continue to deliver our services to customers, the need to keep both staff and customers safe from transmission is our priority.
Please note - If you already have an appointment booked, we will only contact you if we need to reschedule the works for the reasons mentioned above, otherwise, your appointment will be attended. You do not need to contact us to check - we will call you as early as we can if anything is changing.
We will continue to check before your appointment regarding Covid in your household, and would request our tenants continue to observe safe social distancing, ventilate rooms we are in, and other safety measures whilst we are in your home.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time.
People working in your home
In light of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, there are a few extra precautions the service, and our tenants, should take when carrying out repairs.
Scottish Government guidance states tenants should undertake a Lateral Flow Device test on the day prior to the visit.
Our officers, operatives and contractors will continue to follow robust procedures and will ask a number of questions about COVID before entering your property.
You can find the latest official guidance on protecting yourself and others, including how to get a free lateral flow test kit, on the Scottish Government Coronavirus in Scotland website.
You can find where to get rapid lateral flow tests on the NHS lateral flow tests website.
Since the council's building services repairs service resumed non-essential internal works on the 17 May 2021, the service has continued to work on repairs which were postponed due to restrictions during the last lockdown and at the same time looked to carry out work on newly identified repairs.
This increase in works for the repair service has unfortunately meant that some non-emergency repairs might take longer than usual to complete. Tenants are asked for patience over this period as the service works to clear the backlog.
There have been instances where the service has been unable to successfully contact tenants to rearrange works which were postponed during the lockdown. These tenants will receive a letter asking to contact the council to arrange a suitable date. If you are contacted by the council via phone or letter then please follow the instructions provided to ensure your repair can be booked in as soon as possible.
If you haven't been contacted about an outstanding repair which was postponed during the Covid lockdown then please contact us on 01506 280000, selecting the option for Housing Repairs to get through to the appropriate team.
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 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 the UK Government states that work can still be carried out in people's homes where necessary, e.g. for reasons of safety, provided that the UK Government 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 they contact our Customer Service Centre immediately on 01506 280000 and select option housing repairs and gas servicing 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