Please find answers to some of the common questions we’re being asked regarding the impact of Coronavirus below:
Can I still contact Fife Housing Group?
Although our office has been closed indefinitely we endeavouring to maintain our services as far as possible and, having invested in technology which allows for home working, remain fully contactable on 08000 274 007 or via email@example.com.
What if I require a repair?
We are restricting repairs to emergencies and gas/electrical safety checks only. Any non-emergency or routine repairs will be logged to be scheduled as soon as possible after we are advised that it is safe to do so. We appreciate your patience and are sure you will understand that it is not possible to give any timescale to when non-emergency repairs are expected to resume, at this time. You can find definitions of emergency, urgent and non-emergency repairs here.
What should I do if I think I’m going to have trouble paying my rent as a result of Coronavirus?
The situation is evolving quickly and we continue to monitor it closely, however, for the time being, if you find that you are struggling to pay your rent due to the impact of coronavirus, either as a result of a reduction in wages or because you are receiving no income at all, then you should contact your Housing Officer immediately. We would urge you to do this as soon as your income is reduced as early intervention is key to putting the right support in place. Your Housing Officer will talk you through the options available to you which may include providing advice and information on claiming Universal Credit Housing Costs to cover the rent for your property, ensuring your income is maximised or setting up arrangements.
Where can I find more information on Universal Credit and claiming benefits?
You can find all the information you need to claim Universal Credit and other benefits here.
Our Housing Systems partner has also put together some additional FAQs which cover a number of scenarios and can be found here.
This information is relevant to all social sector and private sector tenancies.
What should I do if I can’t pay my rent in the usual way?
There are lots of ways to pay your rent. You can see a list of all of the options available here but please do not hesitate to contact your Housing Officer if you require any further assistance or advice.
Will my rent still be increasing on 1 April 2020?
Yes, your rent will increase as per the letter you have already received. We are continuing to provide as many services as possible, including significant support for tenants experiencing hardship during this difficult time, and will be catching up on all of the delayed works and planned programmes to which your rent contributes, once this crisis has passed.
If you have made a claim for Universal Credit Housing Cost element then you will need to notify the DWP of this increase on or after 1 April 2020, via your journal.
What should I do if I am unwell or self-isolating?
If you have contracted Coronavirus or are self-isolating, please let us know as soon as possible. To protect our colleagues and other customers we will not visit you in your home during a period of self-isolation unless it is an emergency. In an emergency, we’ll ask for your co-operation in taking sensible precautions.
Please follow the latest government advice if you or a member of your household displays any potential symptoms of Coronavirus.
I am over 70, how will your services change for me?
If you are 70, the Government is recommending avoiding unnecessary social interaction for the time being. Your Housing Officer will be contacting you directly to identify what help you may have available and how we might be able to help you, including making referrals for food parcels if required.
If you need additional assistance, you can also register directly with Fife Voluntary direction to request a helping hand.
What steps are being taken to protect tenants and other customers who need to have contact with Fife Housing Group colleagues or contractors?
We are ensuring that our colleagues and contractors have all of the latest information and guidance and are clear about the steps they need to take when entering tenants’ homes to protect both you as customers and themselves.
I was due to get a new kitchen/bathroom, how will that be affected?
All planned kitchen and bathroom programme works have been put hold until further notice. We appreciate your patience and are sure you will understand that it is not currently possible to give any timescales as to when we expect these programmes to resume.
Can I still move home?
At this time we are not allocating any properties.
If you wish to end your tenancy you are still required to give 28 days notice in writing, however, please also call us on 08000 274 007 so that we can discuss the steps you need to take in advance of securing your property and returning the keys to us. We would, however, encourage you to be absolutely certain that your new accommodation arrangements can proceed in the current circumstances before giving notice.
Will my bins still be emptied?
You can find the latest information on how Fife Council’s bin collection services are being affected here. Please follow the guidance provided and ensure that all waste is either stored or safely disposed of as instructed. Please do not store any rubbish in stairwells or communal areas as this is both a fire hazard and a breach of your tenancy agreement.
I have a dog, live in a block of flats and do not have my own garden, can I let my dog use the drying area while we are being advised only to leave the house for exercise once per day?
Following the recent change to our pet policy, some of our tenants in upper flats do now have dogs. As such, in respect of current government guidelines in this unprecedented situation, we would advise the following:
- Use your one form of exercise per day to take your dog for a walk.
- On a temporary basis, your dog can be taken into the back drying area, under supervision or with a lead if required. You must observe social distancing from others and you must clear up any mess your dog makes immediately, disposing of this in your own blue bin or communal bin as appropriate.
- Once current restrictions are lifted, the drying area should no longer be used for the purpose of letting dogs out.
- Any breach of this can be treated as antisocial behaviour.
Are Resident VOICES still meeting?
The decision has been taken to cancel these meetings until the current restrictions are lifted, at which time we will contact group members to reschedule. During this difficult time, we would urge members to continue sharing information or simply keep in contact with each other by text, phone or email. You should also feel free to contact Drew Nisbet on 01383 608121 / firstname.lastname@example.org or Helen Miller on 01383 608127 / email@example.com.
How can I best help others in my community?
Here are a few suggestions as to how you might be able to help:
- Think of others, consider your actions and be kind
People in every community will face the challenges of Coronavirus in some way – from needing basic provisions to help whilst they are unwell.
- Connect and reach out to your neighbours
As self-isolation increases, we need to find new ways to stay connected and check in on one another for our physical and mental wellbeing. Share phone numbers and other contact methods and stay in touch.
- Make the most of local online groups
Keep up-to-date, share information and be a positive part of your local community.
- Support vulnerable or isolated people
Different groups in our communities are at increased risk and social isolation and loneliness are key concerns for all ages. There are things you can do like volunteering for local support services or donating to food banks to help.
- Share accurate information and advice
Support anyone who may be anxious about Coronavirus. Signpost them to the correct advice from Health Protection Scotland and encourage people to follow the correct hygiene practices.