Housing Repairs and Maintenance (1 June update)
Dudley Council is aware that residents living within our Council’s social housing stock may have received a letter from the Government recently (18 May 2020) outlining how Councils will shortly be recommencing carrying out routine repairs to their home in addition to the ‘essential repairs only’ policy we were required to adopt during the enforced COVID-19 lockdown period.
If you have not received the letter, a copy is available on the gov.uk website:
Coronavirus (COVID-19): letter to social housing residents
Following this guidance the Council is currently working on a recovery plan to enable us to start increasing the type of repairs and maintenance we can safely undertake to your home. It is important that we carry out these repairs safely, taking into account appropriate social distancing measure to ensure the continued safety for you as residents, and also for our operatives and our contractors. Whilst we have only been carrying out essential repairs throughout the last 10 weeks or so, we have built up a back-log of non-essential works, and as the Government has pointed out this will take some time for us to deal with them all. Nevertheless, we are aiming to recommence carrying out some non-essential repairs starting from 1 June, but we will not be at full capacity for a number of weeks, and we hope you understand that repairs may take longer than usual.
We are required to undertake a range of ongoing safety checks such as gas safety checks, which have been ongoing during the lockdown period, but we have not sought to force entry where access is inappropriate due to residents’ self-isolating or shielding. During this period we have also continued with necessary fire safety and passenger lift checks in communal areas of flatted developments. We will continue this approach for safety checks and from 1 June onwards we will also start to slowly recommence electrical safety tests in your home, where required, and by appointment. The same approach around self-isolation and shielding will apply, and operatives will follow approved, safe working practices.
Over the past week or so, we have also recommenced work on some of our new build schemes and other projects. We will continue to recommence external planned maintenance and building works where we can, having undertaken appropriate risk assessments and following appropriate Government guidance about working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19).
This work will include recommencing works to some empty homes to enable them to be re-let, although we may not be working in every empty home or new empty homes immediately, they become empty for some weeks yet. Where we are allowing some re-let of properties we will do so safely, and we will be prioritising voids in accordance with housing need. We will keep customers informed of progress when we have some news. Our officers continue to work during this period, although in different ways, but our offices will remain closed to the public until further notice.
External planned works and works in communal areas such as door entry systems and planned redecoration will also start to resume shortly, and where any of this is planned to recommence, you will be notified in writing before any works start.
At this point in time we are not proposing to resume internal planned maintenance programmes such as kitchens, bathrooms, and central heating, or external door and window replacement. We will update this guidance when we believe these can start to commence.
To reiterate Government guidance, no work will be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is absolutely necessary to remedy a direct risk. In such a case, prior arrangements will be made with you to avoid any face to face contact, for example when answering the door and / or asking you where possible to be in another room in your home. Safety and your consent is critical, and our operatives and contractors will be up to date with the latest guidance on how to work safely.
Our Housing Maintenance Team continue to provide an emergency repairs service 24/7 to Dudley Council tenants. Tenants should call 0300 555 8283.
Allocations and Lettings - We are continuing to advertise empty properties however we will only be progressing lettings where it is essential that people need to move for example:
- victims of domestic abuse and people fleeing other forms of violence
- people who are living in severely overcrowded accommodation
- people who need to move-on from temporary accommodation
- people who need to be discharged from hospital to free-up bed space for others requiring care
- people living in unsafe accommodation, or without settled accommodation, which poses a risk to their health
Housing Support – we are providing telephone support, our Drop-In sessions have now closed and we are in the process of setting up the drop-in service via telephone initial contact can be made via our duty line which is 01384 814154.
Homeless Service - we continue to provide preventative support to avoid homelessness, emergency service 24/7, provision of emergency accommodation.
Housing Occupational Therapy Team - we are supporting tenants and residents with assessments and advice over the phone whilst keeping them informed regarding any further assessments we will need to arrange, when it is safe to do so.
Private Sector Housing - Up to date information for private tenants or private landlords is available from Shelter. Advice for landlords regarding gas safety information, please check the Gas Safe Register.