Covid-19 Update for our Customers

We want to update you on how we are working during this unprecedented time, though these plans are subject to change on a daily basis.

Our priority is, and will continue to be, keeping everyone – our tenants, landlords, staff, contractors and our wider community safe and healthy.

We have put the following things in place to help us all try to balance the need to minimise contact with each other, but keep Homes for Good running and able to support you in your homes.

Keeping in touch

Our offices are closed, but we are hard at work at home. 

Please see below contact details for all Property & Tenancy Support Officers who you can contact for advice, support, or just to have a chat.

Chris Hogg – 07444 507 450 – chris@homesforgood.org.uk
Natalie Riding – 07503 232 563 – natalie@homesforgood.org.uk
Stephen Lynch – 07510 880 213 – stephen@homesforgood.org.uk
Caitlin Gordon – 07587 229 436 – caitlin.gordon@homesforgood.org.uk
Stuart Sargent – 07555 592 751 – stuart.sargent@homesforgood.org.uk
Joey Lawrie – 07879 337 453 – joey@homesforgood.org.uk

You can also reach us using the following shared e-mail addresses:

General enquiries – rentme@homesforgood.org.uk 

Minor repairs advice –  fixme@homesforgood.org.uk  

General account enquiriespayme@homesforgood.org.uk

Managing your property

We are managing your property as best we can, in line with Government guidance*.  We will continue to adapt the way we work in line with official Government direction.

  • No viewings will be carried out in person.  Wherever possible, we will provide potential tenants with a video walk through and we will continue to advertise properties both on our website & on Rightmove.
  • People can still apply for our properties electronically and our team can review these applications remotely.
  • No property inspections will be carried out, though our team are in regular contact with all our tenants and landlords.
  • Check-ins – current advice states that property moves can still take place if a tenant has no option but to move.  All tenancy paperwork & inventories will be signed digitally.  Key collection will be at a pre-arranged time in our offices, we will have a short meeting (maintaining a safe distance at all times) to ensure new tenants are fully aware of their rights, responsibilities and how to keep in touch.
  • Check-outs – we have asked all tenants moving out to return keys by posting them through our office letterbox, we will collect the keys the same day.  Check-out inspections will be carried out when a property has been vacated.  In line with this, marketing photos will only be updated once a property has been vacated.
  • Only repairs that cause an urgent health & safety issue will be carried out.  We will review all maintenance requests from tenants on a case by case basis and discuss these with landlords if we deem the works to be essential.
  • Gas safety records – we are working through next two months of gas safety certificates just now with our gas engineer ensuring that all social distancing rules are applied and that he is not entering a property where a tenant is self-isolating.
  • All other routine certification requirements have been postponed in line with Government guidance.

*https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-landlord-and-letting-agent-faqs/

What maintenance is considered an urgent health & safety issue?

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • A problem with the fabric of the building, for example the roof is leaking
  • No heating and hot water
  • Plumbing issues leaving tenants without washing or toilet facilities
  • Washing machines or fridges that are broken meaning tenants cannot wash clothes or store food safely (where contractors are willing to carry out this work)
  • Security critical problems such as a broken window
  • Anything that stops a property being fir for human habitation

We have given all our contractors strict health and safety guidelines which are set out by NHS Scotland.

Rent payments

There is a lot of uncertainty for both our tenants and landlords alike, with many people across the country facing changes to their personal circumstances.

We have been working hard to speak to all of our tenants, and to consider each individual’s personal circumstances.

If you have experienced a change to your income, through being laid off, furloughed, or anything else please do contact us straight away.  We are here to help and our team have a lot of experience in navigating the welfare system, let us work with you.

All rent that is due under the terms of a tenancy agreement will continue to be due even if a tenant is unable to pay their rent in full at the time that it falls due.  We will work with anyone experiencing difficulty to establish a realistic and affordable payment plan.

We are keeping a very close eye on the rental income that we have coming in at the moment, so that if there is an issue we are aware of it and working with the tenant as quickly as possible whilst keeping landlords up to date.

Mortgage Holidays

The Government has asked mortgage lenders to provide mortgage holidays to anyone that is experiencing financial hardship related specifically to the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Landlords can apply for a mortgage holiday however, lenders will consider each application on a case by case basis.  They are likely to be asked for evidence to demonstrate why a mortgage holiday is required.

Examples of evidence that a tenant may need to provide to their landlord to support their landlord’s application are:

  • An isolation note & your wage slip showing that your income was reduced due to SSP;
  • A signed letter from your employer confirming that you have been laid off/ had your pay or hours reduced/ been put into furlough;
  • A letter from your accountant confirming a reduction in income;
  • A copy of your Universal Credit claim.

It is really important to stress that in the same way that a tenant’s rent continues to be due, a landlord’s mortgage holiday does not give them 3 months with no mortgage, it simply adds an extra 3 months onto the life of the mortgage.  There may also be additional interest charges imposed on a landlord due to this.

The Covid-19 outbreak is affecting every single one of our lives, and that’s what makes communication so important.  Many of our tenants are worrying about being able to pay their rent, just like many of our landlords are worrying about how to pay their mortgages both for their own homes ones that they let out.

Staying healthy

If someone does attend your home, please make sure that you stay 2 meters/ 6 foot away from them at all times, where possible please stay in a different room during their visit and ensure any contact is kept to an absolute minimum.

If you are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms such as a high temperature or a persistent dry cough, please let us know straight away.  If your symptoms are worsening or you are experiencing a shortness of breath, you should call 111 straight away for advice.

If you don’t have enough food or you can’t top up your utility meters then please contact us to see how we can help.  We know that if you are self-isolating or are unwell you may be struggling to access cash or to get a shop.  We are here for you and if you need our help we will get this to you.

Talk to us

We are available by phone, FaceTime, text, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts Meet & Zoom.  Please do stay in touch and contact us for anything at all.

If you have any hints & tips for how you have been making savings, we also want to hear from you so that we can share your ideas with our tenants and landlords.

 
Keep safe and well,

The Homes for Good Team