How COVID-19 is impacting housing services

Housing update

All Housing offices are closed to the public although customers can still attend Brunton Hall (Musselburgh) or John Muir House (Haddington). However we would ask that, to protect yourself and our teams, you only visit if it is essential (by appointment only) and make contact with us by phone, email or online instead just now.

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 brings in a number of temporary measures to protect tenants from eviction.  In the private rented sector (PRS) all grounds for eviction are discretionary - meaning that the Tribunal can take individual circumstances into account in all cases.  For the social rented sector (including local authorities and registered social landlords such as housing associations) evictions are at the discretion of the Sheriff who will decide if the eviction is reasonable.

A further extension to the Coronavirus Act is currently now in place up to 30th September 2021.  The notice period for most evictions across the PRS and social sector have been increased, with regular reviews every 21 days by the Scottish Government to assess the current situation. Depending on the ground for recovery stated by the landlord, in most cases the notice period will now be between 3 – 6 months, with some exceptions including cases of antisocial or criminal behaviour, or if the tenant is no longer living in the property. The extended notice periods only apply to notices issued after the commencement of the Bill and will apply to all statutory tenancies for at least six months.

Where notices have already been served for eviction, and while the Tribunal is currently not hearing any cases, no legal eviction notice can be issued. A private landlord who does issue a notice without approval from the Tribunal will have committed a criminal offence.

Rent arrears

If you are struggling to pay your rent, council tenants can call a dedicated helpline on 01620 827528 or email  We have also pulled together a dedicated leaflet on all financial support available during the Covid-19 Crisis. 

COVID-19 safety measures

Watch our video about the steps we are taking to keep you and our staff safe. With thanks to Employers in Voluntary Housing (EVH).

Review of Housing Applications

Due to the current Coronavirus situation, we have decided to contact housing applicants who are due to have their yearly housing application review via telephone rather than posting out the usual review packs.   The staff in Review Team will ask you if there are any changes that you would like made to your areas of choice or house types and if there have been any changes in your circumstances in the last year.   You will receive a confirmation letter after your application has been reviewed. 

Home Energy Scotland

Home Energy Scotland is offering advice to individuals who may be struggling to pay for energy bills during coronavirus outbreak.

Property maintenance 

New Scottish Government guidance (December 2021) now requires tenants to have undertaken a negative lateral flow test on the same day that any of our employees are visiting  their home. You will be contacted to confirm you're happy with this. The guidance also requires our employees to have taken such a test and returned a negative result. Our call handlers will continue to screen tenants for Covid-19. Where any tenant is self-isolating, we will only conduct essential emergency works with strict protection measures in place.

Council tenants should continue to report repairs in the normal way using East Lothian Council's Repair Line on 01875 824311. For repairs inside occupied properties, we will continue to follow strict hygiene and physical distancing guidelines. We kindly request tenants to assist in this by following all instructions provided by work schedulers when making the appointment and our operatives when on site.

We continue to carry out external routine repairs and planned maintenance such as roof repairs, external paint work and colourwash. With all external work, staff will also follow strict hygiene and physical distancing guidelines.

We also continue carrying out repairs and maintenance in empty properties so that we can re-let them to new tenants - again carefully following Scottish Government guidance.

House moves

For tenants seeking to move home The Scottish Government has indicated that house moves, including mutual exchanges, can still take place, with safety measures in place. We have developed processes that limit the amount of face to face interactions during a house move, which your Community Housing Officer will explain to you.

Travelling community information

A Facebook page has been set up for the Gypsy/Traveller community with information about COVID-19.  A framework is also available to support Gyspy/Traveller communities. 

We appreciate your understanding at this time.

Information on our housing services and local housing offices is available online.