Our offices remain closed but we’re working hard to keep delivering services during the latest restrictions.
Like other housing providers, we’re still getting lots of enquiries about all sorts of things - repairs especially, but also tenancy management issues such as anti-social behaviour and neighbour problems. The number of people asking for help with rehousing has also returned to being similar to what it was before the pandemic, and we are dealing with extra enquiries as a result of the new rehousing policy which came in recently.
Like other employers, we are also being affected by some staff having to self-isolate as a result of being in contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus (or being told that they have to stay at home because they are especially at risk from the virus). This means we have fewer people in work to deal with enquiries and deliver services.
Our staff are working hard to keep up with increases in demand, and we’re continually looking at ways of making sure we deal with enquiries as quickly as we can. But our phone lines are still very busy at the moment, so please bear with us if it takes longer to get through – or look at the other ways in which you can contact us.
We’ve now brought in a new service which means that at the most busy times you can request that we call you back when you get to the top of the queue, rather than you having to wait on the phone. This is working well and we are getting lots of positive feedback about it. So please feel free to try this rather than having to wait on the phone.
You can order most types of repair online - please visit the repairs page if you need to do this. We’re still working through a backlog of jobs, as well as this being a busy time of the year as the weather gets colder. So please bear with us if you find that you have to wait longer for an appointment – we’re doing our best and we’ll get to you as soon as we can. If we offer you an appointment that’s further off than it would normally be, that’s because we think it’s better to make sure we get it right first time, even if it takes longer, rather than creating disappointment by making appointments we end up not being able to keep.
Like us, our repairs contractor Mears are experiencing staffing problems as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. They are trying to recruit extra tradespeople to make up for this and help cope with the extra demand due to the repairs backlog. But like other repair contractors they are finding that there is a shortage of available skilled labour in some key trades, so this is still a challenge for them.
We’re continuing with the improvement programmes which we re-started over the Summer after the first lockdown finished, and if we haven’t done so already we’ll contact you directly if your home is included in one of these schemes. We’ll also speak to you directly if work we are doing at your home is affected by the pandemic or delayed for any other reason. Our aim is to keep doing work, using COVID-safe working methods to keep you and our operatives safe.
We’re continuing to collect rent as normal, and our teams continue to provide help and advice to people contacting us to say they are struggling to pay because of the current situation. If you’re having trouble paying your rent, please contact us sooner rather than later. Find out more about how we may be able to support you with rent.
Tenancy and neighbourhood issues
Most staff are still working from home but getting out and about as needed to deal with tenancy and neighbourhood issues, linking in with council colleagues and other agencies as necessary. We’re still dealing with issues such as neighbour problems and helping make sure vulnerable people get the support they need. In some instances we are having to prioritise more pressing issues, such as where there is a risk of harm or where a situation might escalate if we don’t do something straightaway. So please bear with us if we take a little longer than usual to get to your enquiry – our staff are doing their best and will get to you as soon as they can.
Our estate services team are still out and about, as they have been since the start of the pandemic, and they are getting through jobs as quickly they can, weather permitting and based on how many people we have available and able to come into work. And our caretakers are in their blocks every day, making sure that they are kept clean and well looked after.
We’re doing our best to let homes as they become empty and get re-let works done on them as quickly as we can bearing in mind the backlog in repair jobs generally and the need to prioritise these wherever possible. We do still have a backlog of empty homes to get through and we are working through these as quickly as we can. If you’re due to move into one of our homes soon then please bear with us if it takes a little longer than it usually would - we want to make sure that your new home is ready to move into and hopefully prevent problems arising after you have moved in.
Our retirement scheme managers are in their schemes every day and helping people to stay safe. We have had to suspend social activities and restrict access to communal areas at the moment, but we are hoping to remove these restrictions as soon as we can.
Need to get in touch?
Please contact us if you have any questions about any of our services.