Housing services - Coronavirus
As a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak we have made some changes to our services:
- Homeless service
- Housing waiting list
- Housing repairs
- Void properties
- Gas servicing
- Housing Improvement Programme
- Sheltered housing
- Your tenancy
- Your rent
If you are a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can have this information translated for you via contactSCOTLAND-BSL, the online British Sign Language interpreting service.
We ask customers who are facing immediate homelessness to contact us by phone. We have a generic phone number to contact during office hours 01467 533509.
We also operate a text service using whatsapp (07776 190987) between the hours of 8am and 8pm. Customers should leave their name and contact details and we will get in touch with them. Calls to this number will not be answered.
Out of hours the service can be contacted on 03456 081203.
The Scottish Government has confirmed that there will be no evictions granted by the courts from any rented housing. This includes renting from local authorities, housing associations and in the private rented sector. Protection has also been put in place for home owners.
At this time, we ask customers to remain in their current accommodation where possible and to consider all available accommodation options to resolve their homelessness.
Our ability to assist is limited and alternative accommodation if needed would be anywhere within Aberdeenshire.
Further to our notice suspending applications, we have now reviewed the position we have agreed that housing applications will be processed from 1st May 2020. Please note that due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, allocations will not be made during this time (except for those in exceptional need) and applications may take longer to process. You will not receive any correspondence regarding your application unless you have an up to date email address on your application.
Currently Housing Repairs team is not attending standard repairs, only emergencies. For emergency repairs please call 03456 081203.
The Scottish Government have been clear that the council needs to continue to fulfil its statutory duty with void properties in the context of homelessness, the flow of properties is seen as both vital and essential works. Those involved in the void process and associated works fit within the definition of essential public services, providing capacity across the system.
Risk Assessments have been carried out and social distancing measures are in place, to ensure safety at all times.
During the current COVID-19 situation, the Scottish Government has advised that local Councils are required to use their best efforts to undertake gas safety checks, and if unable to do so, to retry as soon as is possible and appropriate, while having full regard for advice on self-isolation, hygiene and distancing.
If tenants receive a Gas Servicing notification letter, and have been advised by the government that they are shielding, vulnerable, self-isolating or have been confirmed with COVID-19 they are asked to inform FES on 01224 766692, and no service will be undertaken until after the relevant isolation period.
Once the self-isolation period is completed, please call FES on 01224 766692 to arrange a suitable time for the service to be carried out.
However if you smell gas, or if you have concerns about the safety of your appliances, you should call the gas emergency service provider on 0800 111 999, and switch off appliances until the gas emergency supplier or a registered gas engineer, has attended and advised that the appliances are safe to use.
All upgrade and improvement works within sheltered housing properties have been stopped until further notice, except for any emergency repairs. Housing Improvement Programme (HIP) contractors have been asked not to start work in any new addresses, or undertake any new work where they are currently working. But to complete all those currently being worked in, prioritising those that require work to make sure your health and safety. Homes should be left wind and watertight with all internal upgrades (kitchen, bathroom, heating) complete with the exception of decoration and any floor finishes. The team will make sure that once things are back to normal that the contractors will return to finish the upgrade including decoration and flooring where appropriate.
We have introduced precautionary measures within sheltered housing schemes. We would request that tenants don't invite visitors into schemes unless they are providing an essential services for example care. In addition all common rooms will be closed and social and other activities that would normally take place will be cancelled for the foreseeable future.
As far as repairs are concerned only emergency repairs will be undertaken within tenant flats and common areas, any planned upgrades or non-essential works won't be progressed at this time given the risks involved.
Sheltered housing officers and other staff will be available to offer advice and assistance to tenants and can be contacted by telephone:
- Buchan sheltered schemes - 01358 281139
- Banff and Buchan sheltered schemes – 01346 417360
- Garioch sheltered schemes and Formartine sheltered schemes – 01467 539057
- Kincardine and Mearns sheltered schemes and Marr sheltered schemes - 01224 472856
In addition you may receive calls from us so we can make sure your wellbeing throughout this time.
Our resources will be fully focused on the provision of support, advice and information to our most vulnerable service users. Therefore, you might be contacted by housing officers if you fall into one of the groups vulnerable to the virus or where it is apparent that you may be struggling to pay your rent. We will adopt a person-centred approach ensuring that you have the opportunity to discuss any issues that you are facing with a range of partner agencies.
We will not evict you from your home as a result of financial hardship caused by COVID 19 but it would be advisable to contact your local housing office in order to discuss any problems that you are facing so we can assist you in managing the situation, and ensure that we have the opportunity to refer you to partner agencies for further advice.
In view of the situation a number of our usual services will be withdrawn or scaled back until further notice. The council is not able to provide garden maintenance to elderly tenants and tenants with mobility issues who are currently on the Garden Maintenance Scheme. No new applications from tenants for garden maintenance will be accepted in the meantime. In addition, we will be unable to undertake home visits unless we are called upon to deal with an emergency situation. We would also request that you withhold any requests for permission to undertake any improvements or alteration to your home as we will be unable to respond within normal timescales. The Tenancy Services team are on hand to assist you and can be contacted by telephone:
- Banff office - 01261 455816
- Fraserburgh office - 01346 415842
- Peterhead office - 01779 403728 (Rent) and 01779 403727 (Tenancy)
- Inverurie office - 01467 537582
- Stonehaven and Huntly Office - 01467 535706 and 01467 537707
If you are able to pay rent as normal you must continue to do so. If you are unable to pay the full amount, you should contact your Housing Officer to discuss this and allow them to assist you during this period.
It is likely during this time that many tenants who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of Coronavirus will be eligible for some financial support at this time. Our Housing Officers can assist you to make a claim for Universal Credit, Discretionary Housing Payment, Council Tax Reduction or get help through the Scottish Welfare Fund. We will also direct you to other agencies that may be able to assist you.
The Scottish Government has made changes to the legislation to ensure no eviction action is taken within 6 months of a Notice of Proceedings being served for Notices served after 7th April 2020. For anyone who had previously been served with a Notice of Proceedings or where court action is ongoing, Aberdeenshire Council will take account of the impact of the current crisis on individual tenants and will continue to support tenants to maintain their tenancies. It therefore remains very important that if you are unable to make payment that you contact your Housing Officer to make a suitable payment arrangement or to obtain advice and assistance to ensure that you can make payments to your rent.
Each tenant who faces rent arrears will be treated on an individual basis and if we contact you by letter, telephone, email or text, we ask you to contact us urgently to allow us to help you through this period: