Coronavirus Update (January 2021): Update on Services to Tenants

Due to the latest Scottish government guidance moving the mainland into COVID-19 Protection Level 4, we are updating you on changes to our services. In a shift from previous “COVID-safe” policies, current works will focus on emergency and urgent operations to follow the law and help keep tenants and staff safe.

In accordance with the guidance, our offices will remain closed until 31st of March 2021, with staff working remotely. Instead of coming to our offices, please use the customer service phone numbers and email addresses should you need to get in touch.

Please note that you should continue to make rental payments on time and in full. If you find you are struggling financially, please reach out so we can continue to support you in the best way possible.

Restricted Repairs Service

Repairs are currently restricted to emergencies and essential works only. We understand there may have been other works scheduled and we will provide updates when these activities are set to resume. This time will likely result in a backlog of repairs when we are able to resume normal services and we ask that you bear with us whist we work through them. Essential works will include utility safety checks and chimney sweeping.

Contractor and Housing Officer Visits

If you have an essential repair, contractors will wear the required Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) e.g., face masks, hand sanitiser, etc. and observe the relevant safety guidance (such as social distancing) to ensure that any work required in your property can be carried out as safely as possible, with minimum risk.

Our housing officer teams will only come out for visits to properties under emergency circumstances, with the same PPE and procedures listed above.

Before any visits to your property by either a contractor or staff member goes ahead, you will be asked several questions in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, such as whether you or any members of your household have confirmed COVID-19 or are showing any symptoms. The visiting staff member or contractor will explain this to you in more detail when arranging the visit, including information on how we manage track and trace.

Gas Safety Inspections

Albyn’s legal duty to maintain a safe gas provision to your homes remains unchanged during the lockdown. If your property is due its gas safety check, we will be contacting you to arrange access for this inspection. If you are unable to allow us to access your property because you are either shielding or isolating due to COVID-19, please let us know when we contact you.

In these circumstances, we will need to assess on an individual basis whether it is safe to delay the inspection. We will be seeking here to balance any potential risk related to the gas system against the risks from coronavirus to tenants, contractors, their families, and colleagues. As noted earlier, any contractors visiting your home will be following Albyn’s COVID-19 procedures, wearing PPE for everyone’s protection, and seeking to limit contact between individuals inside the property.

Re-letting Empty Properties

Following our COVID-19-safe working procedures currently in place, we will continue re-letting properties that have become empty, providing we can ensure the safety of tenants, staff, and contractors. Mutual exchanges will be postponed unless there is a strong housing need on the part of one or both tenants.

Delayed Post

Please note that any communications sent via post may be delayed during this time by up to a week or longer. If you post a letter to our offices, expect a delay in collection as only essential office workers will be in the building on a limited basis.

A Helping Hand

In 2020, Albyn established a Tenant Hardship Fund for those finding themselves in extreme hardship. The fund supports food vouchers, help with energy, mobile, and internet costs, as well as assistance with rent payments. The fund is limited and there is an application with criteria that needs to be met for funds to be released.

Contact your Housing Team by email or phone for more information:

  • North: 0300 323 0990
  • South: 0300 323 0991

Further details about the Tenant Hardship Fund can be found on our website and in the Winter Newsletter, along with additional help outside of Albyn for which you might qualify.

Even though the past year has been extremely tough for so many, we remain committed to our tenants and communities. Remember that our customer service lines are open, and you can follow our website and social media to stay up to date with the latest announcements.

With best wishes,

Lisa Buchanan
Group Chief Executive Officer