How COVID-19 is impacting housing services
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.
The notice period for most evictions across the PRS and social sector has been extended to six 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.
If you are struggling to pay your rent, council tenants can call a dedicated helpline on 01620 827528 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
The latest guidance from the Scottish Government is that Housing Services (excluding repairs) should continue to be delivered remotely (i.e. by phone, email or video) and that face-to-face contact between staff and tenants should only be limited to house moves, now that these are allowed, but with strict safety measures in place.
Council tenants can continue to report repairs in the normal way using East Lothian Council's Repair Line on 01875 824311. Please note that, when mainland Scotland remains in temporary lockdown, all internal repairs will be restricted to emergency or urgent only.
We have resumed external routine repairs and planned maintenance such as roof repairs, external paint work and colourwash. With all external work, staff will follow strict hygiene and physical distancing guidelines. We are also carrying out repairs and maintenance in empty properties so that we can re-let them to new tenants - again carefully following Scottish Government guidance.
For tenants seeking to move home The Scottish Government has indicated that certain priority house moves can still take place, with safety measures in place. If you had previously accepted an offer of one of our properties and the property is ready to let, we will contact you to discuss the arrangements that will allow you to move. 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.
We have temporarily suspended mutual exchanges or allocating garages at this time. We will keep this under review and reinstate these activities when current measures are eased and it is safe to do so.
Travelling community information
We appreciate your understanding at this time.
Information on our housing services and local housing offices is available online.